A post on the real writing business.

My learning curve’s sometimes not quite as steep as I would like. The other day I was thinking about diaries, editors, and submission responses, not to mention the intergalactic rarity that is actually getting published. By now I’ve had more than one market say they’ve accepted my work, and then something’s happened.

When I was just starting out I diligently read a distance learning company’s ‘How to Write’ manuals. I studied their instructions on dealing with the submission process diligently and to be honest with you I think they got most of it, if not all of it, wrong. (I’m tempted to tell you who these people were but I feel a bit like I’d be grassing them up. Writers have got to eat too, no?) Anyway, said manuals made out editors to be this lofty super evolved species who only in very rare circumstances should be bothered. Yet I’ve got this sneaking suspicion they’re just people like you and me. One young woman who said she’d publish me I didn’t get back to for ages convinced that this superbreed of unencountered literary types would magically have everything under control. It turned out she’d lost my story when she moved and had to muck around with her computers. She had then completely forgotten about it and published the anthology without me included. Of course, don’t be an idiot (and I’m including myself in this) and bother them relentlessly. They’re busy, your busy, but you CAN actually email them.

Now, it’s worth mentioning why I was thinking about diaries before you take everything I write as gospel.

Until I was in my mid to late thirties a diary was a foreign object sometimes distantly glimpsed wielded by people in suits. I lived a bit of an alternative life, right? And I spent the majority of time . . . well . . . playing tiddlywinks and engaging in wholesome outdoorsy pursuits . . . obviously. Then I went nuts.

The concept of recording the few things I really needed to be there for would not have sat well with me, and for the other bit there wasn’t exactly lots going in my life apart from mental health problems. Moving swiftly on.


You will have noticed that all the different markets for publication have their own rules and preferences. That includes when they’ll get back to you about your work and when they’re going to publish you should you have been successful in your submission. Plus the ever important one which I always forget – when to send them a query about your stories progress. RECORD THAT INFORMATION IN YOUR DIARY/ SMART PHONE/ LAPTOP/ PC. Anything that goes beep months later and reminds you to check up on your work’s progress. Do it in the place where you put your doctor’s appointments, funerals, birthdays . . . that sort of stuff.

Editors are human too. They’ll tell you that they’ll inform you what’s happening, but mistakes get made, things get lost. Basically, shit happens, and you’ll only eventually notice when something goes wrong far too late to do anything about it. This is all probably blatantly obvious to you. But to me . . . well . . . ten years on I’ve only just figured out that it is never, ever, going to work recording that information in the book those writing manuals told me to keep of all the hundreds of short story acceptances that are going to come flooding in any moment. That, *AHEM* AHEM* *AHEEEEM,* are somehow going to keep me fed and watered. Such a book you would presumably then check all the time. This is really stuff for another post so I’ll leave it there.


1148. Dean Lane skate park (89) — Natural adventures

A pairing that I have seen a number of times over the last couple of years is that of Laic217 and Cort. An interesting aspect of this is that while I have seen numerous solo Laic217 pieces, I can’t recall ever seeing solo Cort work, but maybe I’m just not seeing them. Laic217, Dean Lane, […]

1148. Dean Lane skate park (89) — Natural adventures

3695. Dean Lane skate park (416) — Natural adventures

Even the quick pieces by Laic217 are rewarding, and this one is really rather nice, slapped alongside the fabulous Dibz ‘from up above’ piece. Both look destined to hang around for quite some time as scaffolding has gone up on the two skate park elevations of this building which I believe is going to be […]

3695. Dean Lane skate park (416) — Natural adventures


We think we’re pretty safe don’t we? In our houses and flats, cities, and suburbs. But today in Bristol City Museum I have learnt that such things as BRAIN EATING SNAILS exist, and the world needs to know about it.

I had just finished perusing the surprisingly fascinating display of pottery the museum held when I turned around and came upon a human skeleton in a display case. It was lucky the place was well lit and there were children about so there was no opportunity for panic, or running away. I would have lost face. Mystery man was ancient anyway so there was little chance of him coming back to life. Zero ligaments and zero rotting muscles meant suddenly re-animating and bursting from his fingerprint smeared prison was an unlikely prospect. Apparently there’s a debate going on about whether its Ok to display a dead body to the public, but I really don’t think whoever the poor bastard is he cares much now. Particularly with the vicious spear head lodged in his vertebrae tinging the bone green and the second one that had gone clean through what I think was his pelvis and was stuck half way. Ouch. You don’t spear a man in the pelvis – that’s not cricket, or bash his head in with a sharp object either, or inflict what looked to me like a savage sword cut through his jaw. The bloke was pretty mashed up.

But onto the brain eating snails.

The shells of these dastardly creature were quite small. Easily able to slither, slowly, and painfully up your nasal passage or through your ear canal to attack the rotting organ inside your skull.

(Alright, I think you actually have to be dead first before these little critters start to chow down. BUT THE HORROR, THE HORROR.)

Because ask yourself this: how else do they get to the soft juicy brain? Maybe, they dig their way up through the soft pallet of our mouths. AGH, I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP TONIGHT. There is no God but if I’m wrong and he does exist he is a cruel heartless bastard who has inflicted real genuine meat eating gastropods on the world.


One day I’ll tell you all about the Crypt Keeper Wasp. An insect so vile that it explodes though the head of its host. But that’s enough sick stuff for now.

Benevolent God? My arse.




The word keeps bouncing round my head like like Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout, except with a rock drill instead of that spring he had for legs.


I am not a professional. I would like to be and I am attempting to learn, but then something incredibly retarded happens to remind me that sadly I’m still a berk. Like charging out of a caravan after a stint of agricultural labour on my way to the library to write convinced of my own Godhood . . . for about five seconds before I got my laptop wedged in the door and nearly strangled myself with the strap. Or deleting an important email saying another of my stories had been rejected by a very definitely professional ezine.


Bounce, bounce, bounce . . . Kachunkachunkachunka.


But I have had an important insight, I think. It occurs to me that if people are unprofessional with you, whilst you may not care, you will then go and be unprofessional with someone else who you really shouldn’t behave like that with. It happens because suddenly you’ve go a whiff of maybe we can all be slack after all and you’ve gone running through the loophole that means you can relax. Humans are lazy (well I am and I’m reasonably convinced I’m a human). If we’re let off the hook we go all flabby and rubbish. That’s not going to get many stories published is it? Or, and here’s the big one, a book published.

Christ I wish I’d slept last night.


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“REALITY” – Tanmoy Kayesen | SCD: Spring 2021 [Artist Showcase]


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“Everything is Super” | SCD: Spring 2021 [Comic]


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