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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.


  1. Congratulations on having your Easter story published in Fiction Feast, Sam! Great news :-) I'm still chasing that elusive first acceptance from a womag but unless I'm writing and sending the stories off, I won't achieve that goal so I agree with you. Excellent news too on getting your novel entry in to 'Criminal Lines'. Good luck.

    1. Thank you Jan! My output short story wise has been awful so yes, need to actually get writing. I'm sure it won't be long before you get a hit Jan, just keep on typing ;) I have been concentrating far more on the novel, it was great to work to a deadline, even if I get nowhere in the competition at least it has spurred me on.

  2. Congratulations Sam! You say that you wish to be one of those writers whose short stories pop up regularly - well, take note that some of us look to you in that same way as we begin our journey and relish the notion of achieving our first publication. Really chuffed for you and wish you success in the competition. Keep going girl, you are on your way!!

    1. Ah thanks Nicola, we all have to start somewhere I guess! How is your blog coming along? Up and running yet? I'm looking forward to following you! (Not in a stalker way...) :)

  3. Nice to be sharing the pages of FF with you, Sam.

    1. Thank you Wendy, great to be there! Enjoyed your story :)

  4. It helps to pick a theme and then write several short stories around it. For example, if you pick ''break ups'' as a theme and you write a short story about a couple that breaks up, you can then write another short story about a break up involving friends of this couple that you introduced in your first story. Or a break up involving their parents that you have also introduced in your first story. That way you always have something to use but in a different way.