Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Snow Ho Ho Horror

Airport this week. They also have snowploughs, they assure us. (Photo:

Passengers camped out on the floor, sometimes for 4 days or more. These people look remarkably chipper. (Photo: BBC News)

Because of scenes like this, I am still very much in the USA, where it is cold but sunny. The country has that well-practiced look of hunkering down for weeks of sub-zero temperatures and blizzards. We have all drained our outside pipes and have the snow shovels ready. Many people own their own snow blowers and plough attachments for their all-terrain vehicles. No waiting for the council to come around here.

I may not be at London Heathrow Airport, but at least I am not at London Heathrow Airport, if you see what I mean. It could be worse. We have delayed our trip home to the UK, our first in 18 months, by a week to let the snow chaos die down. There were several frustrating days of sitting on hold to airline companies when flight after flight was cancelled. We are now due back on Christmas Day and I am very much hoping Father Christmas will be coming round the plane with treats for all the good boys and girls.

Good luck with all your travel plans, wherever you may be.

So I am catching up on my duties as Assistant Editor at MicroHorror, reading through submissions. I have been on board for a couple of weeks now and it is very interesting being on the other end of the submissions process. This sort of Horror is preferable to sitting in snow drifts on the M6 motorway for 12 hours.

I get excited about the ones with strong openings, imaginative language or plot devices and good characterisation. I really want them to live up to their promise and end satisfyingly. (We don't get a lot of happy endings in Horror, but I do love a satisfying ending).

Generally I try to write something positive about the ones I send rejections for. Often stories are well written but are let down by their ending. I see a lot of cliched endings. Many have good language but are descriptions rather than stories, or the beginning of a story.

Anyway, I am learning a lot about what makes a good piece of flash fiction.

So Happy Christmas! I'll see you all in the New Year, when I hope to be well fed on mince pies, Yorkshire puddings, Cadburys chocolate, Christmas pudding and all the other seasonal goodies we miss. Not to mention the Doctor Who Christmas Special. I am very excited.

Even the Doctor has problems in the snow.

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