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Logging on to the hive brain for a general update writing-wise, and reading-wise. After all, the two are connected, so I hear.

Still in redraft mode – scything through short stories with the garden shears and hopefully not chopping them down into a state of inertia. It’s been successful enough to create a couple of submissions – I have five out there at the moment and am finally adopting the full, targeted top-down approach, so I’m expecting the acceptances to dry up for quite some time until I can reach the pro standard. The writing is improving, I think – I hope. General critical reaction from the workshop and elsewhere is assisting my belief in that area.

The chess-based horror novella is taking shape. Some actual planning going into this one. I’ve heard differing opinions about approaches to planning a story, or not. I know a lot of writers who approach it as an organic entity and do next to no planning, and some of them are published in high places. I have used that approach for some of my stories – ‘Disconnection’ and ‘Divination’ come to mind. But for a longer piece, I know from grim experience that, without some planning, I have a tendency to write myself into a corner. Not that I intend to plan this down to the last syllable. Just enough to get to know my characters well before I introduce them to the world of the story, and enough to have an idea where I’m taking it and what I want out of it. It may all change as I ‘m writing it, but at least I’m preparing for the journey, rather than heading up Ben Nevis in a T-shirt and flip-flops with nothing more than a can of Fanta and a Crunchie for sustenance.

Reading is crammed into lunch breaks and pre-sleep. Currently eating my fill of modern horror wherever possible –  ‘Slights‘ by Kaaron Warren; ‘The Harm‘ by Gary McMahon; Black Static issue 16 are all on the go at the moment.