Over the Edge New Writer’s Award

OverTheEdge_logo 2

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that my Short Story ‘Smithereens’ was longlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year award. You can view the longlist here.

It’s my third time entering the competition but first time making it this far, which goes to show: “try again, fail again, fail better.” It’ll all work out someday. The shortlist is announced in October. All my fingers are crossed waiting for it (making typing incredibly difficult). “Smithereens” is a funny story is based on a series of true events that happened to my uncle’s Austin A40 Farina, involving a murder, a rising tide and the IRA.

Introduced in 1958, the A40 Farina should not be confused with the other models carrying this designation. The A40 Farina was designed by Pininfarina of Italy and was notable as the first hatchback automobile ever produced. The A40 Farina was also available as a 2-door sedan.  It replaced the Austin A35, and was quite a modern car.

 

I Quit

So I took part in the GoodReads Reading Challenge last year and without thinking I signed up again this year. It is only now, five months into it, that I realise exactly why I didn’t like it:

  • I already read quite a lot. I don’t need some pseudo pressure to read more
  • Gamification works for some things, such as study, exercise, things that aren’t traditionally fun (or at least things I don’t find fun). However, when I turn something I already enjoy into a game it sucks all the fun out of it. Instead of just enjoying what I’m reading I keep thinking ‘I must update my status now’ or ‘I’d better read quicker to catch up.’
  • It’s not an accurate measurement of how much you read. I could breeze through comic books at the rate of knots (or whatever the measurement is for speed of page turning) and add a few books a week. Or I could sit down to a behemoth like Ulysses or Atlas Shrugged and it would take forever and a day but still only count as one book.
  • I tend to read a lot of unpublished stuff. I read a lot of stuff for writer friends such as novels, poems and stories. These take up a lot of time because not only am I reading them because they’re awesome but I am also trying to help improve them in any way I can so I have to read slower, pay more attention. These cannot be added to the challenge because they are unpublished therefore do not have ISBNs.
  • I read a lot of other things that don’t count. I read poetry online, but it may only be one or two poems rather than an entire collection. I read lots of essays and journals, none of which count either.
  • In the process of editing my class’s anthology I read it in its entirety about seven times and I read lots of sections more often than that. This took up a lot of time and I don’t feel like spending more time on it adding it to the challenge seven separate times.

I didn’t make the target of 100 books I set myself last year because I was reading so many essays and journals for my finals. Today I saw I was 14 books behind the challenge this year (already) and I know I’ve been reading plenty. It annoyed me. I thought of all the books I had to read to catch up and it felt like a chore. And the day reading becomes a chore is the day I’m doing something radically wrong. So I quit.

Don’t get me wrong, gamification can be great technique if you’re trying to develop a new habit but it’s been a habit for me since I was old enough to read. So I’m going to continue reading for pure pleasure (over 90% of the time) and occasionally for research (which can also be fun, because I’m that boring). And, if I get really desperate I’ll divert my gamification efforts towards exercise instead.

Christmas Existential Angst (AKA the nativity reborn)

So I’m in the throes of my final edit (scary days ahead), I just thought I’d drop in and share two of my favourite stories that explore what the holiday season is all about: The birth of Santa!

I kid, I kid, but these are somewhat non-traditional stories about old St. nick, enjoy

Nicholas Was… by Neil Gaiman.

I’m very tempted to side step the whole ‘telling your kids the truth about Santa thing’ by just reading them this as a bedtime story one christmas eve. It’s a really short story/poem but for those of you who don’t like following links here is a reading of it:

And here Gift of Ages by JohnSu

feel free to link to your own favourite Christmas Stories in the comments, even ones you’ve written yourself, I need to get rid of my Curmudgeonly Scrooge-like sensibilities before Sunday

New address

So this has moved to a new address because frankly afunnythinginthelibrary.wordpress.org is just too awkward and hard to remember. I made it up on the spot because I was too lazy to really think hard about it. This is also a bit of shameless self-promotion in a bid to help get my name out there and possibly network with agents and publishers and really lend some small help to getting that coveted publishing contract.

For awhile I’ve been thinking of buying my own domain (www.katiemcdermott.com) but the process was a bit awkward. Most sites I encountered, due to some bizarre clause in some obscure act,  will publish all your personal details online as soon as you do this. Also almost every permutation of my name was already taken (for weird sites that don’t really seem to be about anything, not that I’m bitter).

And then I ran out of money.

I recently moved into a new flat in Dublin, still one of the most expensive cities you can live in, just got back from a holiday that was made more expensive by an out of date passport and just received and unnecessarily costly reading list for college.

So I really don’t want to sign up to an annual fee right now for my own domain. I’m sticking with WordPress for better or for worse for the meantime only this way hopefully it will be easier for people to find this site now.

Normal (or more frequent) posting shall resume shortly…