Sunday, 8 January 2017

A Very Slow Start...

Getting back to the normal everyday routine is not going well.

So this coming week I really must be tough with myself.

Over the years I've learnt to listen to my inner writer, it's that little voice that says you really should or shouldn't do something, whether it's writing or generally. When I ignore it I usually find later that it was the wrong thing to do.

Well that's what happened the other day, and it was quite a shock.

You may have previously seen me mention an epistolary story that I'd written for one of the quarterly prose competitions at the writers club, and that I intended to rewrite it for a Writing Magazine subscribers competition currently running.

Well I made a copy to work on from the version on my external drive, settled down to read through it and see where improvements and additions could be made to increase the overall length to be within the required word count.

At the time it was originally written I had a sneaky feeling it needed to be longer, but I had no idea in what way; so I was fairly confident that I'd be able to work on it now.

Having decided how I could extend the 900 word story without losing the best bits of the existing story, I considered how I could create a slightly more resolved ending.

That was when my inner voice screamed: STOP! Don't do it! It's NOT FINISHED! There's a bigger story behind this. You need to tell that story before you write the end!

And that is not an exaggeration...

After a few deep breaths and half a mug of coffee I felt calm enough to look at the text again, and I knew that inner voice was right. It won't work at the required length for the competition.

It's certainly not a full length work, nor a short novel. Perhaps it's a longer short story or a novella.

So it's being put aside to brew whilst I get on with other stories.

Will I be able to write epistolary story to fit the entry requirements? I don't know. But I do know the decision I made about this existing one was right.

Like the plants in the picture, some stories are neat and compact, and others keep growing where they want to...

Stories can be like
these plants...


  1. You are right to trust your instincts and listen to that inner voice, Carol!

    1. It's only really been the last year or two that I've begun to trust that it is generally right, so now I listen, Teresa. :-)

  2. It's great that you listened to those instincts and inner voice, Carol! So often we ignore it ad make the wrong decision. All the best with finding the right length and home for that story.

  3. Yes, it's taken me a while, but I've learnt that it is usually right, Rosemary.

    I realised after writing this blog post that a few discarded ideas from some years ago actually feel like they belong with this epistolary piece. So I'll let my subconscious work on them for a while.:-)

  4. So that is that niggling voice in my head!

    I hope you can find a story that will fit the length for the competition, and it sounds as if you are doing the right thing with this one! I am sure it will come to the attention of readers when it is ready.

  5. I see you've discovered that inner writer that can be friend and foe at the same time, Ingrid. :-)

    A couple of other projects are getting some work done on them at the moment, using up some of the energy built up over the Christmas/New Year holidays. Once those sections are out of the way I'll be able to think a bit more.

  6. It's rather weird how we sometimes just seem to know this sort of thing.

  7. Yes it is, Patsy. I think we just become so attuned to all those things we do as writers- observation, listening in to conversations and creating characters, that our brain just takes it a stage further. :)

  8. I often start writing a story for a competition brief, and then the story just goes off in a different direction altogether! I don't bother trying to reign it back in, because I've tried before, and I just end up getting frustrated.
    It's a pain in the backside though, when I want to enter competitions.


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