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They’ve landed…

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Alien life will come,
one footed
and loud of drum.

Forked tongues,
vitriolic, lizard-like,
stars fade out at night.

And they’ll multiply,
empty space invaders
they only care about now.

Uneasy orbit
for the blinkered
sunkissed men on the moon.

Head in space helmets
sign up in their droves
to drive them away.

24 Unread Messages – call for submissions

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Having contributed to a few different zines over the past year or so, I’ve decided to publish one of my own.

The title is ‘24 Unread Messages‘ and the theme is going to be emails that people wanted to write but never actually sent. For many of us, emails have become a normal part of life and we all get messages we don’t really want to read. What about those that could and perhaps should have been pinged into the ether, but didn’t make it for whatever reason?

Some examples might be:

  • A resignation you drafted but chickened out of sending
  • A final message to an ex-lover telling them how you really felt
  • An email to an estranged relative after finding their details online

The messages you send in can be based on real-life events or fictional, your choice. If you’d like to use a pen name or remain anonymous, that’s absolutely fine. Your details won’t be printed or used anywhere online if that’s your preference. Just let us know when you submit.

How to submit

The plan is to launch the zine in January 2019. Here are the details you’ll need:

  • Your piece should be a maximum of 250 words including the title
  • Email your submission to 24unreadmessages@gmail.com with ‘Submission’ as the subject line – Please paste your title and story into the body of the email rather than sending an attachment
  • Be sure to include a short bio of no more than 30 words (only if you’d like this included)
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished online or in print
  • No simultaneous submissions please
  • Send your unread message by no later than 12 noon on Friday 28th September 2018

Other important stuff

  • Unfortunately, like many new, independent zines, there will regrettably be no payment for contributors
  • All writers will retain the rights to their work
  • By submitting to 24UnreadMessages you are granting us the non-exclusive rights to publish your work in printed format. Accepted pieces will not be published online and we would kindly ask writers not to share their published work digitally while the zine is still on sale.

  • You are free to submit your work elsewhere and there is no requirement to acknowledge 24UnreadMessages as the original place of publication (although it would be nice if you did.)

  • By submitting your piece you are confirming that it’s your original work
  • All entries will be replied to but no detailed feedback will be given
  • All 24 chosen authors will receive a free copy of the zine
  • The list of authors chosen for publication will be on this website no later than Monday 5th November 2018 

And that’s it. The Twitter handle is @24unreadmessage so please RT and together we’ll hopefully make a great zine to be proud of.

 

 

 

When flash fiction meets content shock…

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I work in content marketing for my day job and have been reading lately about a concept known as ‘content shock’, a phrase coined by Mark Schaefer. It refers to ‘the intersection of finite content consumption and rising content availability.’

It got me thinking about how this may apply to flash fiction. Its popularity has grown massively across the world in recent years. As more people write flash and post it to their blogs, submit to zines, competitions and websites, so readers’ capacity to consume stays the same. In other words, more stories, but the same amount of free time for reading.

The result of this is that it’s only going to get harder to grab people’s attention. And just like the digital marketing world, it’s likely to be those with the biggest reputations, publishing deals and available time that are the most successful. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but what fate awaits a relative newcomer?

Learning about ‘content shock’ in my day job has made me rethink my approach to writing.

My plan? Deploy a 10x content mindset (thanks to the awesome Rand Fishkin).

I’m generally short on time when it comes to writing, but rather than ‘churn out’ stories regularly to have something to submit to a magazine or contest, I’m going to take more care with them and put the principles of 10x content to use.

And I’ll try to create work that’s remarkable, memorable and stands out for all the right reasons in amongst a world of incredibly talented writers.

 

 

Who am I writing for?

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I was chatting to my uncle recently about writing as he’s really got into it since retiring. He mentioned something that got me thinking. How he really loved a certain style of story that I write more than any other.

The thing is, I don’t often write those kinds of stories anymore. And when I started thinking about it, the reason why began to unravel.

Mixed messages

There’s a great quote I’ve since discovered from Meg Cabot:

Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.

I realised that I’d started to write pieces of flash fiction in a certain style because that’s what’s generally being published. It’s an amazing feeling to see my name online and in print, but when I was building this website, I couldn’t actually remember most of my published stories and what they were about.

That told me something wasn’t quite right. I’m proud and grateful to have those pieces out in the wild, but when I read the majority of them, I don’t connect with them as being mine.

So, what point am I trying to make?

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From now on I’m going to write the kind of story I want to read. Even if this means I get dozens of rejections. I also think that having my ‘own style’ (I’m not reinventing the wheel), will help my work stand out and make me happy, which is why I started writing in the first place.

And if you’re still reading (and interested), this kind of tale with a twist is what I’ll be focusing on as my writing journey continues…

 

New website

I’m sure you’ve gathered already that I have a website!

After registering this domain a number of years ago and losing the original version, I’ve finally gotten round to building this. The main purpose of the site is to have links to all my published work in one place.

I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on my writing journey and some new work.

I’m based in Scotland, but chose the home page cover image of Barcelona as that’s where I got engaged.