Be the pebble: the small acts that bring big changes

heart-rhinestones-sand-beach-122445We’re not even a month into 2017, and it’s already established itself as the year of huge, sweeping events. People in their thousands are waging war against the things that wound, disgust and enrage them. They’re speaking out. Their feet are coming down. They’re taking no more.

Sadness fell heavy upon me while reading Tobias Stone’s 2016 article on how history will shed light on what comes after Trump and Brexit. Stone is deeply intimate with human history, and spoke of how we “have a habit of going into phases of mass destruction, generally self-imposed to some extent or another”.

There’s no denying that history is riddled with echoes. Some may ask why we even try to rise above our innate hostility, especially if we’re destined to fall prey to it every half-century. 

On the bus home, I came across another article. One that melted my dejection like dawn upon the frost.

Celeste Ng, author of EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU,  broke my heart with her 20 small acts of resistance list on Teen Vogue. It’s part survival kit, part love letter to anyone who knows we must do better despite history’s insistence that it’s beyond us. It’s for anyone who knows we can rise above the playbook of years past, and work alchemy through our outrage into something that truly transforms lives.

It’s for anyone who knows that all great stories start with a #smallact.

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50 productive things writers can do in five minutes

harshestofcriticsramonaDo you ever daydream about all the productive things you’re going to achieve once you get some free time? That short story you’re definitely going to write? Those query letters you’re going to send off? That pile of books you’re going to blast through? You’re finally sorting your life out, and it’s going to be GLORIOUS.

Saturday morning rolls around, and you’re either still snoring your head off or skulking around the house like a pyjama-clad zombie. The rest of the weekend’s filled with ‘must-do’s’ that get in the way of what you really want to do. We find ourselves feeling like crap, again, because we felt like we’ve made zero progress towards our writing dreams. AGAIN.

First, stop beating yourself up. Life demands a lot from us, even in our spare time. We’re busier than we’ve ever been, and there’s more noise in our ears and eyes and heads than there’s ever been. Every minute is overloaded. How can that not get exhausting?

This world keeps us busy, there’s no doubt about that. However, there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. The good news is, you could have only five minutes to spare, and you can still get something done that’s worth your time. Here are fifty ideas to get you started…

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Book spotlight: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

I didn’t expect to like this little Swedish tale at all, let alone love it. A story about a grumpy old curmudgeon who hates cats and thinks most young people are wastes of space? Boy, I thought. Sounds like a right casserole of laughs. 

My friend James of Short Story Cast has excellent taste in books, however. If he enjoyed A Man Called Ove, then it was definitely worth a gander…
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My Pitchwars Mentee Bio

TLH7ED_vHi everyone!

So excited to be taking part in #PitchWars this year. I took part in #Ficfest earlier this year and found it to be an absolute blast!

I’ve been meaning to get involved in #PitchWars for a couple of years now, and it’s been great getting to know all you lovely mentors and mentees. Seems like there’s a big, varied mix of people from all walks of life, which is exciting. I’m seeing friendships taking shape across the #PitchWars feed, so whatever the outcome, it’s nice to know we’ll all reach the end of #Pitchwars in much more agreeable company.

I only learned about the #pimpmybio hashtag late last night. I’m about 5-8 hours ahead of many of you guys thanks to that chuffin’ timezone nonsense. Sincere apologies for how late I am in posting this as a result, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the same 🙂

So, without further ado…

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Ficfest 2016

As many of you guys no doubt know, I’ve spent the last year or so shopping around the first in a book series I co-created with my bezzie mate Kay Ediger. Admittedly, I’m not totally savvy with this agent querying lark and have found it to be a bit of a struggle. I’m currently on rejection #35 at the moment, and that’s just counting the agents who actually bothered their arses writing back to me to let me know I’m the shittest writer that ever shitted a shittier shit than shit our book was just not the right fit for them.

Some of you may be aware that Twitter is a thriving community for writers. It’s a great place to mingle, pick up writer tips, even find some kind souls willing to critique or beta-read your work. It was through getting to talk to a lovely and talented lady known as D.H. Poirier that I found out about #FicFest. It’s a new annual pitching event where writers are invited to submit their manuscript to a team of mentors who will give feedback and guide them to (hopefully) get a partial or full request from an agent.

What makes #Ficfest, #PitMad and other such Twitter-based writing competitions so wonderful is the sense of community that tends to arise. There’s a real feeling of paying it forward here. Everyone is genuinely in it to improve, make friends and support one another on the way to publication. H. Elliot summed this up brilliantly on her blog recently.

#Ficfest submissions officially open on Sunday 24th April and run through to Monday 25th April. It promises to be a really fun event where writers can bust ass on their manuscript and get to know a fantastic community of fellow scribes. To find out more, check out the Ficfest submissions guide on Tiffany Hoffman’s website.

Right, must be off. Still got about 3,000 words to shave off this bloody story!

 

Hello you. Rachel Connor here.

(All this stuff was gonna go on my About Me page, but it’s bit waffly so I thought ‘nah, mate’ and left  it here.)

Writing stuff what I’ve done

My first big writing gig was in Vancouver, Canada as junior writer (and eventually head writer) on seasons five and six of Cartoon Network’s Ed Edd n Eddy. I wrote many of the initial premises (the idea ‘nuggets’ summarising what an episode was about) outlines and scripts, oversaw and edited the work of my fellow writers and liaised with the director and storyboard team.

The only episode I wrote that I actually like is ‘The Eds are Coming, The Eds are Coming’, a half-hour Cartoon Network block special themed around aliens and the madness that ensues among the denizens of the cul-de-sac. I eventually also co-wrote the feature length movie Ed Edd n Eddy’s Big Picture Show.

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Returning to merry old England, I took to writing content for MoneyAware, blog of StepChange Debt Charity. I write articles on how to be fun and thrifty as well as put people on the way to getting expert help with their financial situation.

StepChange MoneyAware

Getting back into the world of cartoons and comics, I wrote several Regular Show backup comics for Boom! Studios (‘Sugartown’, ‘Grabbed by the Ghostlies’) as well as three Regular Show original graphic novels: ‘Hydration’, ‘Noir Means Noir, Buddy‘ and ‘A Clash of Consoles‘ have been published since. Those last two graphic novels were co-written by my life-companion Robert Luckett. All are available to buy on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. ‘Hydration’ made it onto the Entertainment Weekly Top Ten Indie Graphic Novel list for September 2014.

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In 2014 I finished writing the first draft of my debut YA fantasy novel with creative input from my long-time friend Kay Ediger. This is the first in a series of novels and is currently being queried with literary agents.

Rob and I live in Leeds under the servitude of our overlord pet cat, Ramona.

You can reach me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.