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Not the actual wriggling underneath sticks, but more the complex footwork involved after the end of a long project, as you dance your way through the limbo of revising and rewriting and hope to end up at the opposite side of the dance floor in some sort of artful position. Preferably not in a heap with my arse sticking up into the air.

Finished writing the chess horror novella – ‘The Lempkin Variation’ – which is the name I’ll probably stick with. Sounds a little too much like a Robert Ludlum title for my liking, but the content is very different. Length of first draft is 34,675 words. It’s balanced precariously at the moment between being snipped to within an inch of its life by the editing secateurs, hopefully coming down close 25K, or, as one writing compatriot is suggesting, to expand – turn it into a novel. Specifically a YA novel (that’s Young Adult for those unfamiliar with the ridiculous amount of acronyms used by writers) – apparently a very lucrative market, and the story would fit, believe it or not, as it has a teenage protagonist and deals with the paranormal to an extent. Not a route I ever thought I’d take, but then this novella did just mug me one day and demand to be written, so perhaps I should continue to follow its demands before it knifes me and leaves me for dead.

Now that’s over, I enter limbo, and pick up the shreds of old short stories and try to stick them back together. Some are in worse states of disrepair than others, but I want to get at least five of them out into the submissions queue, which means I’d have nine total doing the rounds at the moment. I’m quite comfortable with that.

Other updates – been reading as well as writing. Just finished last night, ‘The Blue Mask‘ by British author Joel Lane, which although it isn’t strictly horror in the sense of his short stories, it could easily be considered horror. The writing was excellent – a model of concision combined with strong and disturbing imagery.  Magazines have been ‘Black Static #18 most recently, with its usual brand of otherworldly horror and disturbing tales. A great short story I read last week was ‘Arvies‘ by Adam-Troy Castro in Lightspeed magazine.