Balance sheet

Colour Code: Action, SuccessSetback

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July 2016: start Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting masterclass. Very enjoyable so far and good value for forty quid, or whatever it was. I’m not sure any of what he’s saying is new to me but the way he puts things is very clear and succinct, which makes it easier to think about.

July 2016 – submissions

  • The Cage and Somewhere to put it (Hysteria writing competition).
  • Family Matters and Community Service (Free Rayne theatre company scratch night)

June 2016 – submissions

  • If you go down to the woods (NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Challenge Round 2)
  • Boris the Conqueror, Family Matters and Community Service all sent to MADS (Macclesfield Amateur Dramatics Society). After a pleasant exchange of emails, I am convinced this will go nowhere. They seem to keep everything in house and so, if I’m to have a chance of them producing one of my plays, I have to join the society and turn up every Thursday (doing what, exactly? I can’t act) until they regard me as one of their own. That’s not unreasonable but if I’m going to commit to that sort of action, I’ll do it nearer to home. Must approach Buxton Drama League at some point.

May 2016 – submissions so far this year:

  • Somewhere to put it all (East Midlands Aurora Competition): unplaced
  • The Cage (Bristol Short Story Competition): unplaced
  • People Round Here (film student request for 5 minute script): unused
  • Lady Stardust (Chesil 10×10 Festival submission call): long-listed (one of 44 out of 170 entries) – yippee! Will hear by the end of the month whether or not it will actually get produced.
  • Community Service (Little Pieces of Gold “Home” submission call): declined
  • Friday Night Girl (NYC Midnight Short Screenplay Challenge Round 1): made it through to the second round. Feel unbelievably chuffed. First bit of real green news for months and months and months.
  • Wren and Her Rose (Under the Fable Magazine): declined
  • Family Matters (Falling Pennies “On the Night” submission call): declined (but, by some way, the nicest rejection I have ever had!)

April 2016: Narcissus and Echo is published in Issue 44 of Carillon, magazine. 

March 2016: However, on the up side, I have entered a short story into the East Midlands Aurora competition, have just applied to participate in the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge and have just completed a two week online “Introduction to Screenwriting” course from the UEA. All this activity feels good, keeps my mojo going. Slightly concerned about Resistance though. Really need to get on with the PTB rewrite plus have another short story to write, actually, maybe two or three.

February 2016: Dammit, have discovered that I have *just* missed the deadlines for two drama submissions (BBC Writers’ Room and the Rocliffe Forum). Really, I must pay more attention.

February 2016: A review of AFOP after one year (four issues) has revealed that it isn’t worth the time and effort so I have discontinued it. The problem was not the sales of the magazine (as I would have predicted). It was never going to sell huge numbers but each issue would sell between twenty and forty, which is fine. However, I perpetually struggled to find contributors. Had I done a fifth issue, it would have contained poems from people in Denmark and Albania. Nothing wrong with that except that I never wanted to produce and edit a general poetry magazine. This was intended to be for people of the local area. If the demand isn’t there, then that’s fine. I’ll have the time back, thanks very much.

November 2015: Rewrite of Thicker Than Water is completed. I have retitled it “New Blood”. I think it’s much better now, although I can still find fault with it. Submitted it to the editorial board of Lablit.com but with no reply at all so far. Will polish it once again in a couple of months and perhaps look at sending it to the BBC the next time they’re open for Drama submissions.

October 2015: AFOP4 issued. This is good but I’m fearing a little for the future of the magazine. I struggle to find contributors. Plenty of people are enthusiastic but not many choose to deliver. I rely heavily on some regular stalwarts. Might go down to three issues a year from four. On the plus side, I seem to sell pretty consistent 30 or so copies of each issue. I realise that’s hardly going to trouble the scorers, but I think it’s about as many as I can reasonably expect in this area. Not sure I can ever make a profit on it but the amount of loss each time is not huge. I’m counting it as a reasonable expenditure on a hobby.

July 2015: AFOP3 printed and distributed to The Green Man Gallery and Reading Matters. All the copies I left at those locations sold, pretty much. That’s only 25 in total, but maybe they’ll take a few more this time. I’ve also made contact with Buxton Community College and some of the pupils, which may prove fruitful.

July 2015: nearly 11 000 words into Sliding Scale. That’s great but I’m still not sure it’s a runner. I’ll try and make sure the preliminary plan is as good as it can be and I’ll just keep plugging away, see how it turns out. I imagine that even the most accomplished writers have to write when they aren’t necessarily burning with inspiration. It’s possible, even, that may be when they produce better, more balanced work. Anyway, I have, as usual, a number of other ideas bubbling away. A much clearer idea of how to rewrite Thicker Than Water (plus somewhere to send it where it might actually be welcome – lablit.com), ideas for the next, maybe the next two novels. Of course, starting things is never my problem..

June 2015: Global plan and first two chapters for Sliding Scale done.

May-June 2015: Attended 2 day Guardian course on writing psychological thrillers (with thanks to my wonderful husband for the birthday present). Highly enjoyable and two direct outcomes. First, it seems that an agent is indispensable so next time I decide to submit, I’ll be going down that route. Second, I have a new Work In Progress – Sliding Scale, a thriller.

April 2015: AFOP2 printed with a beautiful colour cover and made available to buy in various outlets. Two shops and three on-line locations plus will try and hawk around various fairs this summer. Going to have to sell at a loss for the moment. Trying to aim for greater numbers so that I can bring the price per unit down.

April 2015: latest rejection for PTB received. Do I continue to submit or plan re-write? Both, I think.

March 2015: idea burgeoning for the next novel – I Think You Are My Brother.

March 2015: second issue of A Fit of Peak going well. Waiting for some photographs, could really use another poem from somewhere.

March 2015: PTB submitted to third publisher.

February 2015: PTB submitted to second publisher – and bounces straight back to me, almost by return of email.

February 2015: having an attack of the screaming abdabs about the second issue of AFOP. Both the compiling of it and the selling of it. Mainly the selling of it. The fear has reduced me to stasis, somewhat. If I can break the stasis, experience tells me, it will help with the fear. I hope. So I’d better get on and do something.

February 2015: PTB rejected by first publisher. She enjoyed the book but doesn’t know how she could market it. As rejections go, that’s fairly easy to swallow. If the only problem with my writing is that it can’t be pigeon-holed, well, that’s practically a compliment, really. Of course, she was probably just being polite.

January 2015: Pinning the Butterfly revised (64000 words) and submitted to a publisher. Whatever the outcome of that, just the completion and the submission count as successes, I think. I’m not sure how I”m going to feel if the dratted thing actually gets published. The subject matter is extremely personal, extremely emotive. Will be a very mixed feeling.

January 2015: First issue of A Fit of Peak distributed around the local area. This issue is free and there aren’t that many of them so I think they are disappearing pretty quickly. Don’t know if that’s good or bad. An awful lot about this whole process that I know absolutely nothing about.

December 2014: One hundred copies of the first issue of A Fit of Peak produced by our lovely local printers (printExpress). It looks wonderful.

November 2014: First issue of A Fit of Peak about half-assembled. Aiming for a New Year launch. Unclear, yet, as to whether this is going to be a red or a green on the Balance Sheet. The idea is green, for sure, but it remains to see whether both I and the community can sustain it.

November 2014: First draft of “Pinning the Butterfly” essentially complete. A bit short (59,230 words), as usual, and needs a thorough revision but, actually, essentially complete. Amazing.

September 2014: First draft of “Pinning the Butterfly” 50% complete (35,000 words).

August 2014:  Idea germinating for a Buxton-based quarterly magazine:  A Fit of Peak

August 2014: Close Facebook page. Not an easy way to showcase different kinds of content and therefore tricky to keep up-to-date effectively. Too many social media strands are becoming confusing. Facebook are trying harder and harder to make me pay to advertise, I’m certainly not doing that.

August 2014: Realise that I can effectively use the short pieces already written on the website instead. Nothing is wasted.

August 2014: launch “Good Red Herring” website

August 2014: Hear that job application is unsuccessful.

July 2014: Feel terribly “scattergun”. Realise that I have several totally unrelated concerns going on simultaneously and nothing feels coherent. Wonder if creating a website would be a way of bringing order to chaos – or, at least, appearing to do so.

July 2014: Apply for on-line, weekly columnist post, write several short pieces as examples 

May 2014: “Thicker than water” rejected by BBC.

March 2014: Submit “Thicker than water” to BBC Scriptroom

March 2014: Finish “Thicker than water”

January 2014: Create dedicated Facebook page and Twitter account as an easy way of letting people know what I’m doing without really having to explain myself.

December 2013: Start “Pinning the butterfly”

October 2013: Start “Thicker than water”

September 2013: Write and exhibit “Seven Stories – Tales of Tails” at Sudbury Hall Museum of Childhood

September 2013: Cease all pretence of proper work