Thursday 26 April 2012

The History and Future of my Short Story ...

This month I've been revising one of my short stories.

It was originally written as a 1,000 word story for a (new) annual competition at the writers' club back in late 2007. It didn't get anywhere, but I'd had to cut it to get it to the required length, and honestly it lost something.

So I decided to rewrite it and the total went up to about 1,500 words.

It got put aside and didn't reappear for a couple of years, until I decided to enter it in a sort of competition that Writers Forum was running with a few of the weekly women's magazines. I knew it wasn't good enough to be selected for publication- entry was free, but for a few pound you could get a critique from the judge.

The one page crit was really worthwhile and showed me how much I had right and what the niggles were- that I hadn't been able to pin down myself because I was too close to it, and inexperienced.

More time passed and after doing a workshop on short story writing for women's magazines, the tutor agreed to read and critique a story up to 2,000 words. She herself had sold lots of short stories to the women's magazine markets, and I'd read a couple of hers not long before the event and enjoyed them.

It was reassuring that the comments I received were more good news than bad. My story was almost up to a publishable standard, it just had a few minor areas that needed work.

In solving the first lot of weak points I'd created other small issues, but I was quite capable of solving them.

Since then it's gone through a couple of versions, but with time away from it and developing my writing and editing skills, I decided now was the time to make a final push at getting it finished and sent off, hopefully to be bought and published...

There were elements that I needed from three different versions of the story, so began the slow task of cutting and pasting the appropriate sections from each version. The plot was still the one I started with, but my characters had developed, and I'd discovered facts about them which I hadn't known all those years ago.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I finally completed the combining/rewriting as I went along stage. My story has now reached a length of 2, 040.

Now if I can just lose those forty words somehow, I'll be happy. So a final edit beckons.

The womag short story market has changed so much over the time I've been rewriting. The magazine it would have worked best for, no longer accepts submissions from new writers, and it's 50/50 for the second target market.

The other potential home may be the Alfie Dog Ltd short story download website. It's open for submissions and I know the editor won't accept substandard stories.

The writer earns money from their stories being purchased by readers- read the outline of how it works here, and royalty details here. The submission process is all online, so no postal costs are involved.

Whatever eventually happens to my short story, good news or bad, I'll let you know...


Diane Fordham said...

Hello Carol - I have to say I admire your determination. What a great way to get some feedback and have something to work with. All the best with that. Yes, do keep us informed :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I really enjoyed reading about the changes your story went through, Carol. And it's good to get feedback. I have several unpublished stories from the past that still need rewriting and I focus on one every so often. Have you tried Woman's Weekly (if it's appropriate for them) as they take stories of 1000 words or 2000 words.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Diane.

I'm intending to try this story with Woman's Weekly, Rosemary, as it wouldn't suit People's Friend or Take A Break.

So often my story ideas don't stay small, so I have a few that will be for a longer length.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck with it, Carol - you deserve it after all that hard work!

Carolb said...

Thanks, Sally. I will get a short story sold eventually- fingers crossed.

Maxi said...

Good luck, Carol!

Carolb said...

Thank you, Maxi.

I've now got the story down to 2,000 words.