Latest News from Orbit Writing Group coordinator, Terry Jackman.



January 2016

Recent Sales and Successes: congrats!

Frances Gow YA novel, The Prince of Carentan by F G and DC Laval, from Double Dragon Publishing.

Frances Gov c/o The Newham Recorder

Geoff Nelder   short, ‘Voyage of the Silents’, published by Pennyshorts.

Sandra Unerman short story, ‘Thorncandle House’, published in Sword and Sorcery online magazine.

Terry Martin, short story, ‘Bag’ published in Sci Phi Journal.


Talking about successes:

By the time you read this I’ll have been to my third EdgeLit, and my third Bristolcon, though both can begin on the Friday evening if you are able to be there early. These one day cons are fast becoming some of my favourites, with their friendly atmosphere and excellent organisation. I can also meet up with the occasional Orbiter, and even with our new editor, Dev Agarwal. By the time you get this it’ll be too late for you this year, but do make a note for 2016? With one south, one more or less north, and both outside London, surely one of them should suit?

Key Elements of success:

According to the Chinese food has five tastes: sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour. Someone comments recently that fiction, similarly, has five ‘ingredients’. In my usual, ‘concise’ style I’ll omit explaining them – this is me, as always NOT writing an article – but here’s the recipe for a delicious story:

1 Humour

2 Scariness

3 Mystery

4 Action/Adventure

5 A Sense of Wonder

Hmm, perfect. And a small checklist for whatever you’re writing at this moment?

[ For me, number five is the clincher in any genre, but especially in specific, where the fantastic, be it robots or magic, is so often inherent in the tale? It’s also the one aspect that makes me give a review five stars rather than four, that sense of inhabiting another world rather than reading about it?]

Friends and Family, and the Sometimes Surprising Fruits of Success:

You know how you’re always advised not to use friends and family as beta readers or critiquers, because they’re not objective enough? Well, something similar happened when daughter number one started reading my fantasy Ashamet. Apparently she had no problem with the sexual content [phew] but was shocked that the main character said something “smelled like cat piss”. She said she heard my voice saying it, and I never swear! It seems my characters shouldn’t be ruder than I am. weird things, kids?

And Now For the Not-So-Successful:

When you have an idle moment – and when the kids are safely out of the way, cos you may not want them looking over your shoulder for this one – why not check out some ‘Kindle Cover Disasters’. Oh boy, and I made snarky remarks in the last issue of Focus about covers with too many hoodies!

‘Orbiters’ is a series of online and postal work-shopping groups where prospective writers can regularly submit their work to gain constructive critiquing from their contemporaries and also contribute their thoughts on the work of others. Mewmmbership of an Orbit group is a free benefit to BSFA members. If you are a BSFA member and are interested in joining an Orbit group, please contact Terry Jackman tkjackman at googlemail dot com.