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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Relight My Fire

Well, it's been a few weeks since I have been here.

Firstly - Happy St George's Day!

I haven't been lazy, honest - I have been buried in my novel. But, because of this fact, I am afraid I have allowed the short story writing to stagnate. In an attempt to rejuvenate it, I have been trawling some writerly blogs to relight my fire, as it were.
I have had success in Candis (a long while ago) and Take A Break's Fiction Feast but have yet to have a bite of Woman's Weekly or The People's Friend. I want to rectify this! My aim therefore is to get at least one story published in each this year. With the wealth of advice to be found, it shouldn't be too difficult...should it?

I think particularly for The People's Friend there is a lot of guidance. I was thrilled to see a new website - very smart, modern and with a blog by the fiction editor Shirley Blair - ideal for getting inside info! You can find it HERE

In addition, the lovely Samantha Tonge who is a regular People's Friend writer has a whole host of tips and advice on her Blog aimed specifically at gaining a better chance of publication in The Friend.

For Woman's Weekly advice, you can look to the fab, very successful Della Galton who has just taught a workshop with WW's fiction editor Gaynor Davies. Della has some great 'hot tips'  - check them out in her latest blog post, plus there is a link to further workshops being held in London in August and September this year (wish I was closer!) Fellow blogger and short story writer Jan Baynham attended this latest workshop - I can't wait to read her next blog post to find out more.

So, with 30,469 words down on my novel - I am going to get my short story hat on and get writing!
The Perfect Short Story Writing Hat?!!
Any further advice from seasoned womag writers extremely gratefully received... :)

Monday, 7 April 2014

A Good Motivator

Well, it's been a funny old week. I've had a couple of rejections from the womags which is always a bit deflating. But, on the plus side it was great to see my Easter short story in Fiction Feast this week!

The Egg Hunt was a fun story to write, and I seem to be doing well with 'seasonal' stories, so perhaps I'll just stick to them!

No, no I won't really - I will keep trying to write more and sell more, I think I should make it my aim to sell at least four this year! (Although could do with that every month...) I see the same names in the mags, those real hard core short story writers and I do have some thoughts of "Oh I wish that were me." 
Yes dear, I tell myself - but then you have to WRITE them first. 

I have been busy in other areas of writing though. Having decided to enter the Criminal Lines competition I got busy clicking away at my laptop spewing out thousands of words to get to the 15,000 word goal. It's amazing what a motivator a deadline is (and a shot at winning a prize) and I did well even if I do say so myself. Of course I have misgivings - is my novel idea good enough? Will my writing be to a high enough standard? What will happen at the end of the competition if I'm not short-listed - will I be demoralised and give up? 

What I have learned though is to WRITE DAILY. Yes, that old chestnut that many a 'real' author advises. It is amazing how quickly the word count mounts - and whilst I realise those words have to be good words, not utter crap, that first draft can be worked on. Again and again if necessary, but you have to have the words to work on in the first place.

I am really enjoying writing more than a few thousand words, although I admit the learning curve is fairly steep

The most difficult thing I am finding is to take time with description, character building and plot. Short stories are excellent in terms of a tight plot, no extras, getting to the point, and although characterisation is still important, the confines of space mean they are not fully developed.

So, am I expecting much from entering this competition? I guess the answer is yes and no. Of course I hope that those judging my entry will jump up and down shouting "eureka we have found the next bestseller" and that I will see my name in the short-list.

OK, so they may not be in the bath at the time!

But if not, then that's fine - I have a lot to learn and I will get there. The experience has already changed the way I approach my writing and so I can rest assured I will have somehow developed because of it. 

Meanwhile, while I await the June 2nd announcement, I will keep on tapping at these keys, and progress as a writer. 
AND just so that you know, and so I have my own deadline - I intend to finish my first draft by July 1st.