Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Process

Thirty-eight days ago, I submitted a short story called People Need to Know to Everyday Fiction (EDF). I don't count the days - the submission tracking system tells me. Up until yesterday, that same system told me that the status of my story submission was "Slush". You don't need to know a lot about the publishing world to understand that slush is not a good place to be. In publishing houses, the "slush pile" is the nickname for the great big pile of unsolicited manuscripts that are yet to be sorted (read: thrown away). The name comes from the quality of the vast majority of manuscipts in the slush pile. They're not typically very good. Anyway, the name has stuck, and the editorial team at EDF have a slush pile too, albeit electronic.

Like many publishers, EDF have "slush readers". Their job is to read through the slush pile, reject all the very bad stories immediately, and pass the not-so-very-bad stories on to the editors for them to read. When a submission passes the first-pass filter of the slush reader and moves to an editor, the submission status moves from "Slush" to "In Process".

This is what happened to me yesterday. People Need to Know got past the gatekeeper, and an editor is going to read it. The reason I'm posting about this? Well, I'm really quite happy about this little piece of progress. Too happy, for what it is, I think. That said, some slush reader didn't think it was bad enough to reject outright. That's something, isn't it?

If you want to know more about submitting stories to EDF, have a read of an article I wrote about that called Get Published at Everyday Fiction.

If you want to poke fun, use the comments. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Six Word Memoirs

I just discovered Six Word Memoirs. Six words is what I call concise. I couldn't resist trying to use only five words, and so I had a go here. Why only five words? I don't like to pad out my writing just to get to the word limit.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On Considering my Marriage to June

I've written a slightly different six-sentence piece here. My apologies to those of you who get little satisfaction from the sixes. I'll try to post something more substantial here soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009


They spent hours, days, looking at houses. Each one had at least one thing they didn't like, but usually more.

“If we're going to commit to so much debt,” she said, “it's got to be just what we want. Our first home has got to be perfect.”

He agreed, and they kept looking. Days turned to weeks. They got tired and stressed, and started bickering and second-guessing each other.

“I wish we could be like we were before,” he said, when she asked him what his problem was. She felt the same way, she said.

They went home to their rented apartment. She smiled as he led her through the doorway by the hand.

“Welcome home,” he said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

After the Duel

Another one of my micro-fiction (twenty-five word) stories, has been put up at Espresso Stories. It's called After the Duel.

Click here for links to the rest of my Espresso Stories. You'll notice I'm not doing well in the popularity stakes. I'm going through my nobody-loves-me tortured-artist phase.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feeling Dirty

My short story Feeling Dirty has been published in the 5 Minute Fiction column of Issue 77 of Shift Miner. The latest issue is always available for download from the website. There's a new edition every two weeks.

Plot Spoiler Warning! Read Feeling Dirty before continuing...

About Feeling Dirty
Shane from Emerald gave me a challenge a few weeks ago:
Jethro wants to be a coal miner, but he suffers from automysophobia (an abnormal fear of being dirty). He's been trying to get a job in the mines for years, and now he has got a chance as an operator/maintainer in a CHPP.

I decided to take him up on the challenge. Rather than create a reply for this blog, I decided to write my response as a story for my 5 Minute Fiction column at Shift Miner. After all, I had to write the column anyway. This may seem a little lazy to you. I prefer to call it "efficient".

The story I wrote is obviously based on the premise within the challenge. I thought a job interview would be a fun setting. The twist was also important. I couldn't leave a character thinking that you don't get dirty in a washplant! I hope you enjoyed the story.

Shift Miner Online Delay

Sorry to those that are hanging out for the latest Shift Miner on their website. They appear to be experiencing some technical difficulties. The print version is out, and available from the usual outlets. My story in this issue is called Feeling Dirty. I'll post the links, and some background on the story, when the new pdf version is available online.

Last night I sent in my story for the last edition of the year, which should come out on Monday 28 December 2009. My story is called Christmas Party. I promise it's not boring.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brave Little Girl

This story is a response to Sunday Scribblings writing prompt number 193: brave. It's just a little idea; I hope you like it.

Julie hated to be called brave.

"There's a brave little girl," her Mother always said before the needles and the operations. A brave little girl was what it meant to feel a lot of pain and not be able to do anything about it.

"She's so brave," the other adults whispered to her parents, thinking she couldn't hear. It's my bones that don't work properly, she thought, not my ears. She pretended to ignore them, and wheeled her chair to her bedroom to cry. To be brave meant to be helpless and pathetic. Brave girls were pitied, and whispered about.

"I just want to say from all Australians, you are so brave," said the hyped-up burly sports reporter, right after Julie was awarded her Paralympic gold medal. The brave little Aussie girl in the wheelchair, who captured the heart of a nation, buried her fist in the reporter's face, knocking him cold to the ground.

"She is such a bitch," said the office-workers as they gathered in their kitchenettes for their morning coffee breaks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Motivator & Shift Miner Feedback

Edition 76 of Shift Miner Magazine is out. You can always download the latest issue as a pdf from their website. My story for this edition of the 5 Minute Fiction column is called The Motivator, and is on page 19. While I've tried to keep the first few stories up-beat and humorous, this one's a bit on the sad side.

My inspiration for this piece comes from the many stories I've heard and the few instances I've seen of marriages pulled apart by the time and distance of working a FIFO shift roster in the mines.

I did once work with a man at Southern Colliery who had a laminated copy of his payslip in his pocket. He was only to happy to explain that it was to remind him why he was there. That was some place to work: we all needed a motivator from time to time.

While you're reading the Shift Miner, take a look at "Stuff to the Editor" on page 16. Shane Garven wrote:
G'day guys,
Thanks for the mag. It's always a good read and full of relevant information, and some good laughs. Really like the addition of the 5 minute fiction stories. Old Bernard might ahve a new career on his hands. Keep up the good work.

Thanks heaps to Shane for expressing his support. That's the kind of feedback that makes it worthwile. While it is a dream to be able to support myself from writing, I'm not about to quit my day-job!