The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A story a week...

Ambitious? Yes, but something I can do. In addition to finishing the Loremaster edit, fleshing out Patriot and The Platinum Ticket and putting together a couple of rough outlines for a few other novel length projects I have decided on a goal of one short story a week - written, edited and submitted to market. To this end I have blown the dust off a couple of books in the basement.

One - none too dusty actually - is Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich. In his book, Novakovich presents a complete Fiction Workshop with a good number of story assignments. Taking my recent successes from the Fiction Workshop I attended earlier this year, I can see the value of a creative springboard.

The second book is much older and has a touch of sentimental value. It is called Writing with a Purpose by John M. Bassett and Donald G. Rutledge. This particular copy of the book was published in 1958. It was presented to me in grade seven by my teacher, Mr. Ian Morrison. Mr. Morrison is also the guy who tried - and failed - to teach me how to play a musical instrument. My most vivid memory of Ian Morrison is an errant stick of chalk hurled in anger that nailed the girl sitting next to me. No - the chalk wasn't intended for little Dave Beynon - he was actually trying for the kid behind the girl but his aim was rather awful. But I digress...
Writing with a Purpose is a great all-round primer for any sort of writing you might choose to do. Essays and letters comprise a good deal of the material but there are some real creative writing gems scattered throughout.

Why a story a week? Well - I need to get some publishing credits and I need them sooner than later. In Issac Asimov's compilation, Gold, he reprinted a number of essays from the magazine that bore his name. In one of the essays he speaks about cover letters and getting published. One thing he talks about are how self-doubting most fiction editors are, himself included. He said that when an editor sees previous writing credits cited in the cover letter it makes him or her far more likely to give the story serious consideration. Those previous publishing credits tell the editor that other editors have found this author's work salable. Of course, the writing still needs to be good, but those publishing credit are priceless.

I already have five short stories making the rounds. With additional stories entering the world each week my chances increase that much more and once I can add publishing credits to the cover letters...well, the sky's the limit. Publishing credits also come in handy in finding agents and publishers for novel length fiction.

Speaking of writing, I need to edit some more Loremaster... next time I plan on talking about having fun...