Progress Report

It’s been a while since the Nethergate Writers have been able to meet up face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Here’s one of our members, Fraser Malaney, with an update on our group’s upcoming plans.

How long has it been?

At the beginning of March, everything seemed so well planned. We had a fantastic collection of short stories based around the Nethergate, and by the end of May, we were hoping to have them edited to become part of an anthology which we would share with the world.

Then the Covid-19 crisis happened. All across Europe, countries began to close down. Then it was our turn.

As the impact of the lockdown made itself felt, it became obvious that we needed to change our ways. Peoples health and well-being are too important – even more than an anthology of short stories set in Dundee!

We decided that as long as the lockdown lasts, there would be no timescales or deadlines. I send regular emails to check how people are getting on and how they’re adapting to this strange new normal.

I’m working full time from home and I’m managing to fit the editing around that. But some people don’t have the time – they’re working hard to provide essential services, or else caring for people close to them. Others are getting through this by focusing on other projects (there’s a very impressive amount of flash fiction being generated at the moment). Others are keen to get editing and are asking me for work!

And the work is steadily getting done. So far, we’ve edited roughly half the stories, and the rest are currently being worked on.

Most of the editing is easy, and we’re not having to make many recommendations: many of the changes are coming from the authors themselves. I think that it’s good to look at these stories with the scrutiny of someone else’s eyes. It’s personally made me rethink, rewrite and improve what I’ve written – even when nothing has been found to edit.

Times may seem unsettling at the moment, and perhaps these months will shape our lives for years to come. But I’m confident that we’ll get the Nethergate anthology completed. We’ll get to share our stories and who knows? Perhaps they’ll become part of ‘the new normal’.

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