(Week 33: August 11- 17)

Following my rejection the other week, I decided to submit a second story to the same magazine while their submission window was still open. It’s a story called “When The Stars Go Out” which I wrote a couple of years ago; I’m very invested in it, but never quite thought I’d gotten the story right. Consequently, a rewrite/re-edit was required before I could confidently send it out.

The good news is that the first half or so of the original edit remained pretty tight, but then things started to unravel a little in the second half. Among the problems I could see were unnecessary padding, scenes that repeated previous scenes, and characters’ actions not quite lining up with their motivations. As you can see, having some distance from the story helped give me a more objective viewpoint; I knew there were problems with the story before, but the specific issues were buried by the freshness of the writing.

Short conclusion is that I spent about a week going through the text (mostly in the evenings) and came away feeling I had a much tighter, much stronger version of the story. Ideally I’d be able to spot these issues right away, and a lot of the time I can, but at least one of the benefits of being largely unpublished is that I get to have as many shots at getting a story right as I need. Silver linings, right?


The Elderbeast has developed a mild obsession with Jason Vorhees (after all, all children need role models in their young life) and has been asking to watch the Friday The 13th films. Being me, I decided to start him off with the most fun entry in the series, Jason X. I have a lot of love for this movie: it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. It has some properly gory sequences, tension when the scene requires it, and gags that have a pretty high landing rate.

We also had a couple of noteworthy rewatches this week. The Elderbeast asked to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off again, which makes me very happy as it’s an awesome film and I love the idea of my son growing up with the same sort of films that I grew up with. The horror movie this week was a repeat viewing of It, which remains absolutely excellent (and a good lesson that you can remain faithful to a novel without having to recreate every scene in precise detail).

On the weekend I did something I haven’t done for ages: I binged a whole show. My Awesome Partner was sick, so there was nothing for it but to curl up on the sofa for most of the weekend. This gave us the chance to plough through all six episodes of Good Omens, which was pretty damn splendid. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of that particularly british ‘Douglas Adams’ type of humour and Good Omens is chock full of that. I have read the book, but so long ago that I’ve forgotten almost everything about it (other than Dog) but I would hope that if Terry Pritchett is watching from wherever he is now, he’d be very happy.


I had a real listening treat this week. Each month Audible (the US flavour) gives away two of its ‘Originals’. This month one of them was a title called The Conception of Terror, which I initially thought was just a set of fresh readings of MR James stories. When I began listening, however, it turned out that these were not only dramatisations, but contemporary retellings of the stories. Awesome!

I can’t say that each story was 100% successful: some of the actors were … underwhelming, and the contemporary settings didn’t entirely mesh with the gothic, classic nature of MR James’s stories. However, overall this was a glorious listening experience. The only story that I was fully familiar with was Casting The Runes, and the writer did an excellent job of finding a fresh angle on the story, even introducing some surprising twists, while managing not to lose anything that makes the story such a classic.

The other three stories were Lost Hearts, The Treasure of Abbott Thomas, and View From A Hill. This collection was produced by Bafflegab, who also produced the adaptation of Blood On Satan’s Claw that I listened to recently, and I’ve already got a bunch of their other productions lined up on my wishlist.