Competition News

Very pleased to report that I’ve been placed third in The Doris Gooderson Short Story Competition 2014 with my story When Gloria was Here.  Congratulations to James Whitman who won, and Jim Waite who came second. Click here to read the winning stories.

The competition was run by the charming Wrekin Writers and the profits were donated to the Severn Hospice.

 

Coming Out of the Closet: the introvert writer

My guest blog for Writers Bureau is out there.

Their next competition is Flash Fiction and closes on 30th November 2014.

Competition News & Technology Triumphs

Delighted to learn I came second in the Writers Bureau short story competition with The Delivery Man.  You can read it and the other winning stories here. Congratulations to Glenda Cooper, who came first, and also to V Mackenzie and Kim Fleet placed third and fourth respectively.

I had recently failed miserably at an exercise in demonstrating ‘voice’ when I started writing this story.  So I set out to try and get the ‘voice’ right and keep it going for the whole piece. I was thrilled to receive this feedback via twitter:

Thank you, Shirley.

Please note, people, I now have a ‘follow me on twitter button’ here on the blog, and I have miraculously managed to ’embed’ the above tweet into this post. Achievements abound.

Still, enough about me.

I received this email from my mum this week.  Entitled ANTS, this is it, in its entirety:

“Take a look at

Diatomaceous Earth

for getting rid of ants…… and other annoyances! (like constipation!

xxxx”

Made me smile.

Back to Me

Blog posts are like buses in rural Gloucestershire.  Nothing for a month, then two come along on the same day and, meandering around several tiny hamlets on the way to the final destination, take three hours longer than necessary to get there.

I’m getting worried about spam.  It used to be that it offered medication for body parts I don’t have and technical advice I don’t understand, so it didn’t bother me much. However, it seems that they’re on to the real me as I am now receiving how-to-get-a-flat-belly spam. Depressing.  Like someone sits inside my computer screen and sees the ring doughnut round my middle.

Writing news.  My aforementioned first-placed ghost story Playing Out is now available to read for free at writersonline.

And that thing I’d been working towards for a long time?  Very excited – I have been offered a place on the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa Uni.  Looking forward to September and spending time at the stunning Corsham Court where the course is based. I thought I’d taken a photo of the amazing architecture or gorgeous grounds or perhaps one of the peacocks that wander freely there.  But, no.  Turns out the only thing I photographed was the loo.

photo

Still, toilet humour and writing for children, goes hand in sticky little hand, surely?

Bath Short Story Award 2014

The Bath Short Story Awards results are out.  Have been for a couple of weeks.  You know how it takes me a while to get round to things.

I entered the competition myself and, although my story didn’t get anywhere, I am thrilled that first prize went to Eleanor Nash for Ghost Boy . Click the link to read this amazing story.

I met Eleanor at the Writing Events Bath Workshops.  She has a YA novel under her belt and is also a talented artist.  You can follow her writing life at Writinglark and her artwork at elenash.

 

 

 

Happy Five Year Anniversary Inktears

Inktears, who have previously published a short story and a flash fiction of mine, are celebrating five years of “helping people enjoy a little bit of fiction in a frantic world.”

To mark the occasion, they are re-issuing the flash fiction stories placed in last year’s competition. You can read them here and here.  Mine is in the latter – The List by Kathryn Clark.

 

Courses and Kazoos

Wading through life a bit at the moment what with one thing and another. Your basic shit happens type stuff.  So, not quite as prolific as I would like to be.  However, a few things are keeping me going.

I’ve been doing an online course: Writing for Children with Creative Writing Ink.  It’s led by Oisin McGann, children’s author.  I’ve found it to be very clear and to the point. A lot of writing books and courses go into such depth about the craft of writing that I find myself in anxious over-analysis mode.  I’m then thinking about writing rather than doing it and, as you know by now, I spend enough time avoiding writing as it is.  The course covers writing for different age groups/reading levels, sets exercises and gives constructive feedback, as well as offering practical advice about the publishing process and marketing oneself.

Talking of marketing oneself (what a smooth link) it’s time to blow my own – I was going to say trumpet, but, a) it’s a cliché, and a workshop I recently attended with Writing Events Bath was all about avoiding the cliché, and, b) it sounds a bit arrogant. So, I’m going to go with blow my own kazoo – (or does that sound rude?)

kazoo

Anyway – waffle be gone.

I won first prize in Writing Magazine’s Ghost Story Competition at the end of last year.  It is to be published in the March issue.

Writers Joint - March 2014

Objective for next time: Write a whole post without any brackets.

I should be doing something else…

I’m only here because I should be doing something else. And there you have it, the blog about procrastination has eaten itself.  I’m supposed to be writing. Not a blog post, either. On January 1st, I resolved to submit four stories a month and I’m struggling in June to submit one.  The anti writing gremlins are still staying with me, and as they’ve been here a month, they’re getting somewhat tiresome.  They are little worms burrowing into my brain, with their negativity. Much like the person, who having kindly given me a top, size Medium, looked at me wearing it and said, “I should have got you the Large.”  The AWG’s have the same effect on my self esteem when they whisper “You’ve read David Mitchell, haven’t you? Hilary Mantel? What are you still doing with a pen in your hand? What makes you think you have any chance with this writing lark? Give up now, loser…” etc etc “Oh, and by the way, you are too old and fat to wear sleeveless tops.”

Not only the writing worms are saying this to me, but an actual editor too. Yes, the one I spent all my time creating a pen name for, rather than concentrating on writing a decent story.  A polite letter arrived with the killer sentence –  “we felt the story line was a little too weak to hold the reader’s interest.”  Arggh! Stab me in the heart with a fountain pen, why don’t you?

But you know what? This feedback, like all the other critiques and comments I have received over the past couple of years, makes me think that editors are really rather good at their job. Without fail they manage to pin point, far more accurately and succinctly than I can, what I’ve been vaguely feeling is wrong with my story.

A story may be weak, but it is never dead.  And this one’s still got a chance of life.  I’m planning to turn it into a flash fiction.  In the spirit of rallying my writing reserves and getting some work out into the public domain, here is one I prepared earlier.  My first ever piece of flash fiction, it was placed third in Flash Fiction World’s March 2013 competition.  Read it herehttp://www.flash-fiction-world.com/going-back-to-frank.html

 

Procrastination gets things done

Procrastination gets things done. So someone tells me. A distinctly positive, glass half-full sort of person. To be fair, the pro in procrastination does make it sound like a let’s-get-on-with-it, all action sort of word, along the lines of progression, proceeding and productive. I suppose what he’s saying is, you may not be completing your tax return or cleaning the oven, but you have, in desperation to avoid doing those things, finally put together the ikea chest of drawers which has been lurking quietly in the garage, wrapped in its packaging for the last two years.

It is most likely that I should have attributed “procrastination gets things done” to someone famous and worthy. The person who said it to me is an accountant not a philosopher, after all. Where would we be, I ask you, if it turned out that the bean counters had all the answers?

IMG_0922-001

I thought this week’s procrastination would be setting up Google Analytics for this blog. But it didn’t take me that long to do: about an hour watching youtube videos yesterday and only ten minutes actually doing the dreaded technical stuff this morning. I’m not sure whether it was worth it to find out that the IT Director is my only reader.  I know, I know – I need to tell people about it.  Maybe that will be my objective for next week.  Ha ha.

Another potentially time wasting activity has been creating a pen name. There are websites out there capable of generating one for you. These are the first three presented to me: Nobe Benvenisty, Rolando Giacherio and Agripina Dyke. I am not making this up. None of these are quite what I was aiming for.

Have a go yourself http://www.namegenerator.biz/pseudonym-generator.php.

Not only did I spend/waste time on various of these name generators, I also researched the pros and cons of using a pen name. This caused me to waver. There was a perilous moment when I thought “Nah, I’ll just do everything under my own name.”

Then I changed my mind again. Procrastinator’s prerogative. I decided to go with a combination of family names in the end. Everything I’ve had published so far (okay, four stories) has been as a result of entering online writing competitions. My first proper submission using my new pen name is sitting in its envelope waiting to go to the post office…