Thursday, 28 January 2016

It's Progress...

My rewriting of the short story is going well.

I've finished the first rewrite now and just need to go back through it, as I'm a couple of hundred words short of the minimum word count for my target magazine.

I did have to jiggle the dialogue around between characters as I had to lose one- they were surplus to requirements.

Though the narrative and description changed slightly, the dialogue didn't, it just fitted into place. I suppose it was because the characters hadn't changed...character.

Admittedly dialogue has always been a strong point, and I can hear the different characters as they speak - I just have to hope that readers can too, and it's not just me because I'm writing them!

I want to get this story done and out of the way so I can get back to Serena's Nottinghamshire story.

There's been no progress on the chapter two rewrite because the scene needs a few additions, and I have to bring in one of the minor missing (from draft one) characters, and get to know them.

My word count for the month has gone up because I'm now recording any writing I do, be it my blog posts, non-fiction, judging, information pieces for the writers' club magazine as well as fiction.

So I've discovered that I write more than I think- considering I can't touch type.

I'm making progress and that's the important thing...

Before winter and the
Blackbirds arrived...

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Changing Voice...

As I've been attempting to revise a short story that has been sitting on my computer for a while - it won one of the writers club short story competitions a couple of years ago - I've been struggling a little.

It's not that I can't sort out the edits that are needed, it's just that I've not got the same voice as I had then.

For the past eighteen months to two years I've been concentrating on my longer stories, and now have two first drafts.

Slipping into Serena Lake mode isn't that difficult, because writing a story set over 200 years ago requires a different mind-set and style of expression, as speech patterns and the meanings of many words and phrases used are very different to modern life.

Coming back to the first draft of my Nottinghamshire short novel I was back into that voice within an hour.

But now with the short story I can hear the differences in my current voice, to the one two years ago, and it's quite disconcerting.

I suppose it's part of developing as a writer, learning, and being open to trying different things.

So at the end of my unsatisfactory short story editing session I considered my choices.

a) Abandon the story completely and forget about it.

b) Carry on with the editing and hope it sorts itself out.

c) Rewrite the whole thing, keeping the good bits and taking out or adapting the bits I needed to edit anyway - and it will all be the current voice.

Obviously I chose c).

I know b) won't work, and the story deserves another chance before I resort to a).

While I'm rewriting it, I may actually lose the 300 odd words to get it down to the 1,000 word length...


Changing sky...

Monday, 11 January 2016

Nottingham Writers' Club National Short Story Competition 2016

It's the 3rd year for this short story competition, opening for submission this year on the 1st February.

This year's theme is 'Fire'.

The NWC competition is not only aimed at less experienced or newer writers, but developing writers also, which is why each entrant receives constructive comments from the readers once the competition is over.

(Even though there is a lot of advice available online, it can still be a bit baffling when you start out writing. Also not every writer has access to a writers' group or club that they can attend to continue developing their writing skills.)

So to this year's competition: (See the detailed rules in the competition paperwork.)

The short story must contain no more than 2,000 words (excluding the title) typed in 12 point clear font, double-spaced and on one side of A4. How the theme is interpreted is up to each individual writer.

To receive the full details, information on how to pay entry fees- either by post or online- and an entry form, please fill in your details on the Register your interest form on the competition page, and you will be sent a document (with all the details, rules, entry form, fees, and an example of a cover sheet and standard layout of a page - in case newer writers are uncertain of this).

While it may seem a pain to do things this way, it ensures that the competition organiser has the right spelling of names and email addresses for sending the above, any updates, and eventually comments on entries.

The two rules that are most important follow:

  • The competition is for any resident of the United Kingdom who is over 18 years of age at the time they submit their entry- between 1st February - 29th February.

  • All entrants must be non-professional writers. For the purpose of this competition, we define 'non professional' as a writer who has earned less than £300 for short-story writing in 2015.

The competition opens for entries either by post or online on the 1st February, and closes at the end of the day on the 29th February.

Our judge this year is novelist, and very successful short story writer, Patsy Collins

NWC had actually decided the 'Fire' theme in the summer - before Patsy's latest book 'Firestarter' was published late in 2015, so we were very pleased that she agreed to be this year's judge.

Patsy Collins: latest book
with the 'Fire' connection...
Even if you are unable to enter yourself, please do pass on the details of the competition to any writer you think might be interested.

There are a number of writers out there who are unaware of their potential. After the 2015 results the competition co-ordinator received an email from one of the runners-up, they were delighted as it was the first competition they had entered.

Many of you will know that I'm involved with Nottingham Writers' Club, but I should declare that I'm one of the organisers behind the competition. And usually the person who approaches writers about judging...

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Getting Back Into Routine...

The first week back after major holiday times is always difficult for me. My regular routines are not all quite back in place yet.

So I'm easing myself back into the writing process this week.

I've dug out the short story I need to revamp for sending off. I must get my editing pens out and mark up the manuscript for changes- among them taking out repeated words in close proximity. Distance really does help the editing process.

At the moment I'm judging one of the quarterly prose competitions at the writers' club. So it's actually helpful I haven't completely slipped into full editing mode yet.

After the session I did on character bios (last year) I agreed to judge one of the members competitions on this subject. I wanted to be able to believe that their character could be out there, and those who have taken up the challenge have done well. I just need to finish the comments and print them out so they can be returned at this month's meeting, and the winner announced.

Then I have an entry to do for the club's winter prose competition. The words are swirling around my brain in quiet moments, so that will get done before mid-March when it has to be submitted.

There I was thinking I was being lazy... :D

Working time...

Image courtesy of supakitmod &