Friday, 28 November 2008
However, this week I've been focusing on competition stories, as there are several competitions closing on the 30th November. I invested in Carole Baldock's bi-monthly mag, Kudos, which helpfully lists a whole host of writing competitions. I've entered three competitions this week so far and hope to enter a fourth today, but I'm not sure whether I'll get my story polished enough in time. I've written a completely new story, which I'm really pleased with (one of those which seemed to write itself) and reworked four others so far. I've really pulled some older stories to pieces and rewritten large chunks. I'm still not convinced they work, however. We'll see.
My main gripe about short story competitions is the word length. Now, as a competition organiser myself, I realise that it's a huge task reading through 100+ entries and if the word length is over 2,000 words, then the task is even more difficult. However, as a writer I don't like the 2,000 word limit. My stories are usually well over 2,000 words, and won't be shoe-horned into fewer words. I was particularly disappointed to discover the Mslexia competition is only open to stories of less than 2,200 words. The story I had in mind for that is 2,500 words. I hate cutting when I feel the story works well at its current wordage. Does anyone else have this problem? If you look at competition listings, most state that stories must be under 2,000 words.
I guess the answer is to practise writing shorter stories! I'm off to do just that!
Sunday, 23 November 2008
I've finally drawn up the shortlist for the first Yellow Room Competition which closed on 30th September.
Here are the shortlisted entries in alphabetical order of entrant:
Emerald Cufflinks by Polly Card
Return Ticket by Michele Darnell-Roberts
The Rain In Spain by Oliver Eade
Let's Change Loving by Amanda Field
Hunting by Rona Frith
A Present for Mummy by Judy Hodson
The Day Kennedy Died by Sue Johnson
The Beads of Change by Julie Ann Lee
Colouring In by Suzie Lockhart-Smith
Changing by Jenny Morris
Such Terrible Devotion by Dorothy Schwarz
Monopoly by Lucy Smith
Where I'd Rather Be by Sarah Steele
At the Laundrette by Sarah Steele
Sunflowers in the Ukraine by Lynne Voyce
Nina and the Fish by Jo Waterworth
Being Human by Jo Waterworth
The Hardest Stone by Elizabeth Wells
I hope to announce the winners in the next week. Watch this space! Good luck to all.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
The weather was cold and mostly wet. However, we found plenty of things to do, mainly revolving around Megan's interests. She was in her element as we visited a petting zoo and she go to hold not only a large rabbit and a guinea pig, but two snakes, one of which was rather a large python! She's a braver soul than me!
I love this photo of the Menai Bridge joining Anglesey to the mainland. This is the view from a little pub called The Antelope, which does very cheap and tasty bar meals. The Pinot Grigio wasn't bad either!
On the last night of our holiday there was a spectacular firework display over the lake at Brynteg, the site where our holiday lodge was situated. They also built a huge bonfire, which added to the general autumnal atmosphere. It was Halloween and I found a tacky pair of flashing devil's horns for Megan to wear. Highly appropriate! It also made it very easy to spot her in the crowd.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Sorry about the photo! Whenever I take photos of books I seem to get this awful glare on the cover. Anyway, you get the idea!
I was hoping to write about my week away in Snowdonia with husband and two children, but the lovely photos Nige took are too big to upload and he has to make them smaller. Instead I thought I'd tell you about this brilliant little book I've just finished reading.
I came across Della Galton some years ago now (at least ten!), as she was (and still is) one of the most prolific short story writers for the commercial women's magazines I'd come across. I'm not sure how I first got in touch with her, but we exchanged a few emails and she was incredibly generous with advice and ideas. She's the sort of person you just know is lovely and want to meet.
As far as I know 'How To Write and Sell Short Stories' is the first non-fiction book Della has written and she has a real gift. I think this is one of the best books on short story writing I've read (and I've read a lot!). It's short, punchy and succinct; very much like the stories she writes! Della has had tremendous success in the commercial women's magazine arena. Pick up any of the current 'womags' and you'll probably find at least one story by Della Galton. How does she do it? It's all in this book. As you usually find with prolific and successful writers it comes down to persistence and hard work. Write, write, write. Submit, submit, submit. It's the only way. The more you write, the better you get at it, regardless of the genre. This is probably why I'm not that good a writer! I don't do enough of it! But that's another (long) story and another blog entry.
If you write any kind of short story (there's a chapter on writing the literary short story and stories for competitions), then do buy this book. There are tips from the experts (women's magazine writers and editors mostly), even advice on tax and record keeping. It's the kind of book you refer to again and again. It can't fail to inspire you. It has given me a much-needed kick up the backside, I can tell you!
Anyway, I'm off to write.