In Our Own Words

Getting Work into Print
Two pleas­ant sur­prises this morn­ing: the first, a con­trib­ut­or copy of In Our Own Words (Volume Six), an American antho­logy of short fic­tion and poetry edited by Marlow Peerse Weaver. Marlow asked me a few months back if I would like to pub­lish my story ‘Afterlife’ in his antho­logy. I said, “Yes,” and for­got all about it. Well, today, the pack­age arrived. It’s a well-pro­duced book and stuffed full of pieces from writers born between 1960 and 1982. Quite recom­men­ded.

Also recom­men­ded is the latest issue of The Quiet Feather. This is a small indie magazine with mucho p’zazz. Such magazines — those deal­ing with short fic­tion — aren’t as pop­u­lar as they once were, for a vari­ety of reas­ons. One reas­on, I must say, was demon­strated to me with last month’s Interzone. I picked a story at ran­dom and was aston­ished at the poor qual­ity of the writ­ing (the art­work also lacked ima­gin­a­tion). The Quiet Feather, by con­trast, is a cute pub­lic­a­tion stuffed with great pic­cies, short poetry and a com­ic strip. (OK, so I’m in it too; but only about 50 words, and the issue has lots to recom­mend it regard­less.)

Update On Fiendish/Evil/Twisted Plan for Dominion of the Very World
As a second foot­note to my largely pleas­ant deal­ings with Scott Pack, I’m start­ing to receive solit­ic­a­tions from agents who want to know more about my work. Scott, as prom­ised, has con­tac­ted sev­er­al and sent them cop­ies of my book — at least, he will when they arrive. Alas, there is still a sig­ni­fic­ant delay between order and dis­patch in the land of POD.

Next instal­ment of Déjà Vu
Chapter 11 is now up and run­ning. Again, I’d be delighted with any feed­back. Episodes have been down­loaded 1600 times so I’ll con­tin­ue on to the bit­ter end. Haven’t yet reached my band­width lim­it, but I’m get­ting close.

Feedback on Proper Job
Had a phone call today from my friend Daniel Graaskov (that’s a Danish sur­name, in case you’re won­der­ing). He’s read latest draft of Proper Job, my Cornish com­ing-of-age nov­el, and enjoyed it. I focused on his cri­ti­cisms, how­ever, and I think I agree with them. It’s a good rule of thumb that, if you have an ink­ling about your nov­el and it is con­firmed inde­pend­ently by someone whose judge­ment you trust, you can take that as a green light to tackle the project’s lim­it­a­tions. It’s impossible to catch them all, but with Daniel’s help I’ll cer­tainly improve the manu­script.

Progress on my third nov­el con­tin­ues. I’m reach­ing an action-packed set-piece, and I think the char­ac­ters (six at the moment, bor­der­ing on too numer­ous) are going to col­lide in a man­ner that should be enter­tain­ing at the level of the story and, equally, at the level of the theme. As per, I partly excited and partly relieved that I came up with an idea in time.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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