Guess who made the Australian Writer’s Centre Furious Fiction Fan list?

Yep! Me! Got to admit that I’m pretty chuffed. Check out their page here: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/blog/10-out-of-10-meet-the-furious-fiction-superfans/ 

Sarah Jackson (Victoria)

Connect via sarahjacksonwriter.com

What attracted you to Furious Fiction?
I liked being part of a national project with other writers of similar background and experience.

What do you like best about participating in Furious Fiction?
I enjoy the writing exercise element of it. By writing to a strict word limit, and being given criteria to write on, it forces me to consider how I assemble a piece (structure/narrative flow), and what style and genre I use. Let’s face it, when I eventually get a publisher to accept my writing, I’m going to have to re-write great swathes of it to fit their expectations.

How have you managed to enter every month?
Planning and effort. Doesn’t matter what your job is, planning is essential if you wish to meet deadlines. And you need to make the effort. After all, you can’t win the lotto if you don’t buy a ticket.

Have you had any close calls?
Two. One month I was very sick and barely able to get out of bed, and on another occasion I had a lot of non-writing work on, and very little time. That’s were the “effort” part of the equation came into play.

Do you have tips for new Furious Fiction entrants?
Give it a go. It’s not hard, and it’s kind of fun to see what you can come up with.

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The terrifying arrival of constructive feedback

I have recently embarked on writing horror (a genre I enjoy immensely – and yes I accept that it is most certainly not to everyone’s taste). I have been putting the feelers out by submitting two short stories to two different horror journals.

“Good start!” I hear you shout enthusiastically.

I was rejected by both.

“Never mind, Chin up.” I hear you say.

But…These weren’t standard rejections. I received comprehensive feedback and advice from both. It was terrifying. Both replies started with the standard “thanks but…”, and then went on to say that they liked a, b, c and d. Then suggested that I “need a little more here on e” and “f” needs rewriting (and what it needs)”.

I know, this is the advice you dream of, right? They didn’t have to give me anything other than the “no thanks”, but they did. I’m taking this to mean that they thought that I was worth the extra time and resources to steer me on the right path. I really appreciate it, but I’m filled with the type of fear I need my horror works to instil in others. What if I can’t do it? What if this is the best work I have in me? What if I change it, and it’s still wrong?. The self doubt monster is knocking on the door (and it’s a big, ugly bugger).

So, what am I going to do? Well, for a start an appreciative email response to both editors who took the time out to give me the advice, is in order. Then I’m going to download the advice, save it into the folders for each story, and leave it until the New Year (less than 4 weeks away). I need to think, reflect and plan what to do next. I also need to relax – I’m not on a deadline and it doesn’t matter a jot if I need to rewrite it 40 times before i hit the mark.

Still feeling daunted though 🙂

Panic editing, pitching and other messy processes.

I am bang, smack in the middle of rewriting (and I mean rewriting) my cosy mystery story. I received some exceedingly valuable feedback from an agent about this piece, and what it needs to reach a marketable point. Scary advice – but once I stopped sulking, and really looked it, I realised that she was right. The suggested changes will make a huge difference to the readability (and saleability) of the piece.

So now I’m in the middle of an anxiety-producing rewrite. I have no idea if I’m going to make the Easter deadline either. Having said that, it cheered me greatly to see a post from a fellow writer on a facebook writers group (of which I am a member). She said that it had taken her 18 months to (a) deal with the feedback, (b) redraft her story, and (c) finish the draft to a submittable level. Good to know that I’m not the only one paralysed by fear at the prospect of a rewrite. So, its onwards and upwards with that one.

And just to make my writers journey more challenging, I’ve finished the rewrite of my new junior grade fiction novel, prepared the pitching materials and synopsis, and am about to embark of the process of submitting it to various publishers. Expect that rejection widget to see some action over the next three months. Hey, you never know, I may actually get an acceptance/show of interest!.

Fingers crossed. Keep up your writing!