Sunday, December 17, 2006

Results!

Just found out today my results for this year's Open University course: Grade 2 Pass! I am very pleased with the grade and also very pleased that I can now put that particular course (The nineteenth century novel) behind me. It was the least enjoyable year so far (mainly due to personal life strains) and, considering I had to skip entire sections of the course in order to just get the assignments done, I am amazed that I did so well. Throw in the fact that this was a Level 3 course (the equivalent of the final year of a degree), to come out with a Grade 2 Pass is, quite frankly, astonishing. I can't help thinking how well I might have done if I'd had the time to study it properly. Still, what's done is done and I'm looking forward to next year's course: Creative Writing. It's a jump back to Level 2 study and there's no exam at the end of the year (thank Gawd), and, obviously, it's a subject I love and enjoy. Should be a pleasant year of study, which will make up for this year's gruelling plod.

Three years down (180 points) and three years to go.

Also managed to sell my story 'Wizard's Gambit' to new ezine Sorcerous Signals, a sister zine to The Lorelei Signal. However, the story won't appear until June/July next year. Seems such a long way away...

Friday, December 15, 2006

SK and the Literary Snobs of America

Caught the tail-end of Mark Lawson's interview with Stephen King on BBC4 last night.
He was talking about the snobbery from the so-called "literary" section of the fiction world, describing them as a "country club" whose mentality to exclude anything that is or could be described as "popular" (i.e. anything which is plot-led or sells in obscene numbers) was simply short-sighted and self-destructive. He said it was "foolish" for them to ignore such a huge area of the field, and named authors like Ian McEwan and John Irving as some of the writers who are always snubbed by the American literary establishment because their work is quite often seen as "plot-driven and suspenseful". I was stunned by this, as was Mark lawson, who quite rightly pointed out that in Britain McEwan, at least, is viewed as being "literary". King responded by saying that it was different in this country because in England "story has always been greatly valued", (or words to that effect) and so it was not seen as "un-literary" to utilise a strong story or plot in a piece of "literature".
I think I was more shocked to discover that Americans literary snobs are more snobby than those in England. King concluded by saying it seemed there was an equation that comes into play with any author, which goes something like this: "the number of books sold, divided by the number of books that the author has written, equals the IQ of your readership."
King continues to be an inspiration to me in my writing, and I'm hoping that someone has bought me a copy of Lisey's Story for Christmas. It was top of my list.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The View From the Bridge

This little 1000-word piece of flash was originally written for a contest at the now-defunct AstoundingTales.com ezine. The zine folded shortly after I wrote this story so it barely saw the light of day. I dug it out a little while back, polished it up and sent it to From the Asylum. It appears in the current issue: Enter the Asylum here


‘The Boy Who Fell’ is due to appear in issue 231 of Bewildering Stories. This first appeared at AlienSkin. It's had a serious rewrite since then (particularly the second half, which was a little unsubtle in the way it explained the mystery at the story's heart). I'm much happier with this newer version.

I'm hoping to get some final decisions on some pretty 'big' subs this week. Heliotrope, Fantasy Magazine, and new UK mag Hub have all promised to put me out of my misery in the coming week or so. They're all pro-paying markets. What are the chances that at least one of those guys sends an acceptance? Wouldn't that make a lovely Christmas present?