Archive for December, 2006

Short Fiction #35: Vincent Celebrates in Style

Vincent Celebrates in Style

Vincent looked again at the clock on the wall, and checked it against his wrist watch. He was accustomed to time creeping slowly at this part of his watch. Time seemed to slow down during the night. He stifled a yawn.

“I must keep awake,” he mumbled. He stretched, and yawned loudly again. He walked across the room. The coffee pot was his only companion on these long nights.

“Almost there,” he whispered a little later. The minute hand seemed to crawl even slower as it approached midnight. It was as if the effort of pointing to the top of the clock face was too much.

Vincent watched as it reached midnight. He cocked his ear – yes – he could hear cheering, singing and laughing in the hotel across the road. He raised his coffee mug to the watching clock.

“Ah, the exciting social life of a security guard,” he observed. “Happy New Year!”

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2006 Trevor W. Hampel.

Reflections on my year of writing

With the end of 2006 just around the corner, it is time for a little reflection on this year. It was a year of highlights and lowlights.

Highlights of 2006:

  • Trekking the Himalayas in January – simply awesome.
  • Getting serious about blogging and being able to write over 800 articles on my three blogs.
  • Writing over a quarter of a million words this year, more than double my previous best year.
  • Achieving almost 1400 hours of writing, nearly double my previous best year. This figure equates to a average just on four hours per day which is very pleasing seeing there have been quite a few days where I did no writing at all.
  • Spending several weeks on holiday with my son and daughter in law in Sydney.

Lowlights of 2006:

  • Being diagnosed as diabetic and having to come to terms with managing this condition.
  • Supporting my wife through some serious health issues, including several operations.

Over all, however, it has been a productive, though challenging year. I’ve learned a great deal about the writing life, and the blogger’s life in particular and this should help me get off to a flying start next year.

Looking forward to 2007:

  • Next year I plan to keep going on my three blogs. I see great potential in blogging, at least in the immediate future.
  • I also plan to get really serious about submitting to print publishers. I have quite a collection of manuscripts of novels and picture book texts which need to be submitted for possible publication.

That is the big challenge ahead for me in 2007.

Some Secrets for Writing Success

Angela Booth has listed six very sensible hints on how to have success in your writing career. Most of these I have covered in one way or another over recent months, but it is always good to have a reminder.

Read the article here.

Manuscript assessment for writers

Many writers are turning to the services of manuscript assessment agencies in recent years. Getting into print publication can be a difficult road to walk down. Every piece of help and advice therefore becomes important to the emerging writer. In this process, getting an independent assessment of one’s writing can give you just the advice or edge or viewpoint necessary to make the difference between acceptance for publication or being rejected.

Adelaide based crime and romance writer Kirsty Brooks has written a long article – well, it’s actually in the form of an interview – on the virtues of having one’s manuscripts assessed before sending off to a publisher. Many authors have found such an assessment to be very beneficial. The article can be found on her blog:


  • I have never used the services of an assessment agency though I am being mentored by a published author but that is something quite different.
  • I have (to the date of writing this post) had no association whatever with the assessment agency run by Kirsty Brooks.

Idiom #9: As the Crow Flies

This week’s idiom:

“As the crow flies.”


The shortest distance between two points.


The idiom “as the crow flies” seems to have been in use since the early 1800s. One source I found said:

British coastal vessels customarily carried a cage of crows. Crows detest large expanses of water and head, as straight as a crow flies, towards the nearest land if released at sea – very useful if you were unsure of the nearest land when sailing in foggy waters before the days of radar. The lookout perch on sailing vessels thus became known as the crow’s nest.

Several other sources I found gave a very similar answer. In my experience crows and ravens do not fly in particularly straight lines and there are many other species that may fly more directly to a given spot. On reflection, I feel that the point this idiom is making is that a bird, any bird, is easily able to fly directly from one point to another without being hindered by obstacles like humans might be. This direct flight is therefore the shortest distance between those two points.


  • “I am three kilometres from my home, as the crow flies, but by car it is five kilometres.”