Sunday, 28 June 2009


1. Writing news.

I have almost finished the first draft of the novel section begun last week. This week has seen a ridiculous amount of reading it back from the beginning, changing this and that, editing furiously before getting to the current word count of 9000ish, and it’s not quite finished. One scene was changed over and over, as I tried to decide who was watching a particular event from a hiding place. I went through the scene three times, from three characters’ points of view. I’m still not sure… it may yet change again. And another scene, intended to be a quick link between two others, turned itself on its head as I wrote it, and it became a really exciting new series of events. Well, it surprised me! And yet another scene –feels very flat and needs a lot of work.

2. Reading news.
Not much, to be honest. The newspaper every day?

3. Teaching/Workshops/Lit Fests.

• West Cork Literary Festival: I’ve been planning the short story workshops, making sure I have fifteen copies of everything. Gathering together all sorts of writing fun stuff.
• Ip Art. (Ipswich Arts Festival.) I’ve also been planning the two flash workshops for next Saturday. Both workshops have waiting lists. I chatted to Gill Lowe, who is interviewing and compering the evening event, planning what readings to do, and what sort of topics to natter about.
• National Association of Writers in Education, Annual Conference, November. Nice news: my proposal for a flash/micro fiction workshop for delegates has been accepted. And Short Circuit, the Salt Guide to the Art of the Short Story is to be given a launch event at the conference as well. So Jen at Salt n the editor are very pleased.
4. My Books news.
Frustration! Dear Salt Publishing have sent plenty of copies of paperback Bubbles to the distributors, Gardners, and they have arrived. But for some admin reason, they have not yet been clerked in to their system. So. Neither Ipswich nor Bantry will have copies unless they sort this glitch out fast. It is very frustrating.
Festivals, especially ones where the writer is leading workshops, are very good places to sell books. Participants are readers, and writers, and are there because they are interested. But it only works if the chain doesn’t break down.
Please keep a finger or two crossed!
Another result of this, is that Amazon still has the hardback listed (now costing £102.00 for a single second hand copy..) but at the same time Amazon says the book hasn’t been released yet. I guess if you are selling thousands of books at mainstream bookshops, this doesn’t matter. To me, who isn’t, it does! Somewhere, hidden away, is another page on Amazon listing the paperback. Available in 1 to 3 weeks it says. Mind you it’s said that for weeks.

Short Circuit: Salt has been working on the book, and I’ve been doing a little tweaking of the text, with a few new bits from me, a few from others. V exciting.

5. Competition News

1st place—$2,000 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd-place—$1,00 and possible publication.
3rd-place—$600 and possible publication

Full details HERE


I don’t know if any readers of this blog are intending to enter this great competition – with a chance to win £10,000. But if so, please be aware of the following unusual clause in their terms and conditions.
Entrants are deemed to grant to MMU a non-exclusive, worldwide licence over each entry submitted for the duration of the Competition… and for publicity purposes thereafter. Selected pieces may be printed in publications and journals hosted by MMU and may appear in electronic format on the MMU website, or in other electronic forms.

In other words: All entrants grant MMU a licence to use their entries for publicity purposes (not just those chosen as the winner) after the competition ends, in perpetuity. All entries may be published in print, on the web, or in other electronic forms.

I checked with the organisers, and yes, this is correct. They also said it is very unlikely that they would want to use any entries other than the shortlisted ones, but did not rule it out. They will however agree with individual writers to waive the licence, and said this in their email:

We'd be happy to agree not to publish a non-short-listed story if the author wanted to enter their work to other competitions after the Manchester Fiction Prize has ended on 23rd October.

It would therefore appear to be sensible for unsuccessful entrants to obtain this agreement individually when the comp has announced the shortlist.

Grateful thanks to MMU for clarifying this.

If you are lucky enough to be shortlisted – it is unclear what happens. I can see no mention of a winners’ anthology as in Bridport, or Fish, and there is no mention of any prize for any stories other than the first prize winner(s).
But -it does NOT look as though you can resubmit your shortlisted story anywhere else easily, as MMU retain the right to publish it at a future date in print and/or online and electronically.

If anyone knows differently, please do contact me! Full terms and conditions for the Manchester Fiction Prize HERE on their website, together with online entry details.

Writers: Please feel free to share this comp information.

That's it for this week. Happy writing. I will post from Ireland next, and maybe from Wales after that!


Liz said...

Vanessa, enjoy Cork...would love to be able to make that...maybe another time. : )

Jarmara Falconer said...

I hope Amazon sort out their problem... £102.00 for a secondhand book is a bit pricey for a book, I know hardback cost more, but...

Good luck with all your projects

Sara said...

If anyone does want a hardback copy of your most excellent book, Brighton Waterstones still has 10 in stock.

Took your advice by the way Vanessa- stopped writing, stopped worrying about it. Reading, feeding my mind.

Michael Logan said...

Wow. Busy, busy, busy!

I have decided to hold off on re-joining the FW as my wife is due to give birth next week and I will be knee-deep in nappies for a few months after that. I will drop you a line when I am ready to delve in again.

I hope you get the books delivered in time.

Elizabeth Baines said...

Hi Vanessa,

I contacted the organizers re the Manchester Prize too, and the response I got was somewhat different. I was told that 'selected pieces' refers to those either winning or shortlisted. This means that it is only those stories which MMU wants to retain the right to use for publicity purposes; all other stories are released as soon as the comp is over. As for the short-listees, though, I was told that last year short-listees went on to publish their work elsewhere and entered then for comps that didn't insist on new work, so I guess that short-listed stories would be barred from comps that DID insist on new work (and don't most?), while there's no guarantee of publication by MMU as far as I can make out.