Showing posts with label rejection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rejection. Show all posts

Thursday 15 December 2016

Guess What I Won?

Well it's the day after the night before and I can now reveal what I've been keeping quiet about since late October...

I won one of the annual competitions at Nottingham Writers' Club, the Rosemary Robb trophy for a ghost story titled, 'The Wishful Spirit'.

Winning the Rosemary
Robb Ghost Story
Writers are told to persevere and never throw anything away. Well the story that won this competition proves that statement...

In 2008 it was the first year the ghost story trophy competition ran; it was for a 1,000 word story (that year). I'd never written a ghost story before, but I tried anyway, and received some useful comments from the judge- the writer whom the trophy was named after, and who died a few years later.

The story was filed away and over the years I'd revised it and then put it away again. You see my ghost wasn't the scary type and most markets wanted the creepy sort...

In 2013 I rewrote it and entered it into a national competition, but didn't get anywhere again. Honestly I think it was really just the wrong competition for it.

So back in the box it went until late 2015 when I began to rewrite it yet again making some major changes and eventually submitting it to Woman's Weekly, as they mentioned in their guidelines at that time, 'quirky', and my ghost certainly fitted that description.

Sadly it was rejected.

Meanwhile, as Prose Secretary for the writers' club, I'd asked writer Wendy Clark to judge this year's Rosemary Robb Competition this autumn ( after reading her blog post about writing ghost stories) and she agreed. 

Having received the story back from the magazine I decided I'd enter it into our club competition to get some feedback, and hopefully find out what wasn't working.

I'd already decided a couple of things needed a slight adjustment, and one bit removed. As the maximum word count was 2,000 words I needed to lose about 500 words while still making the changes I needed. After a number of intense revisions I reached the maximum word count and entered it into the club competition.

As writers can have lots of contacts both online and off, the club has always asked members to use a pseudonym on their entry's cover sheet. 
We know our judges would never be influenced by already knowing an entrant, and as Prose Secretary I'm careful not to inadvertently write or say something that one of our judges might see- if I know them, and I intend entering.

So I was absolutely amazed when the results were returned. I'd won! I actually read the email twice to ensure I hadn't misread it.

One of the comments in the judge's feedback that made me smile was, "I found myself chuckling at the phantom, Bold Jack's, asides and imagined him dressed in full 'Captain Jack Sparrow' pirate regalia!" 

That wasn't too far off my mental image of 'Bold Jack' too, although older than the movie pirate... :D

So there we are full circle; the story first written for this trophy competition in 2008, finally won it in 2016. Even though it had rejections and all those revisions, the core of the story never changed.

Have you ever had any stories which took a long time to succeed?


Thursday 4 October 2012

A Quick Whizz Round...

So much to do and so little spare time to do it...
That seems to be my life at the moment, but I'm sure it's the same for everyone else too.

Over the next week or so I'll be updating Carol's Corner. Some things may go and others appear in their place. But I won't be changing the purpose of my blog; there will still be posts about competitions, events I've attended and the trials of this writer's life. :-)

Now to some good news.

Writer and blogger, Patsy Collins, is sharing the news that her book 'Escape to the Country' is going to be free to download on Kindle on the 4th and 5th October.

I read Patsy's book on the Kindle for PC app, and it's an easy way to read a Kindle book if you don't happen to have a Kindle e-reader.

It's a great book. I bought it when it was released, it's fun and heart-warming. When I got to the end of the story I was still smiling- a real feel good ending. It doesn't matter whether you're 16, 76, or any age between, you will enjoy it.

Meanwhile, I've decided on the future of my rejected short story. After I've looked it over again and made any changes, it will be winging it's way to Alfie Dog Fiction, the short story download website.

It may not make the grade of course, but if it doesn't, the editor will at least tell me why-and if it's not beyond salvaging, make suggestions for improvement.

I still believe it has potential and don't want to give up on it. But as a writer who hasn't sold a short story to any of the women's magazine markets before, my choices are restricted. I've been looking at those that remain open to me and the story wouldn't fit without major changes or cutting.

The idea for the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition is coming together, so I'll be starting to work on that next week.

Progress with the novella is ongoing. It's working much better with concentrating on getting the story down first and not worrying about description that can be applied as appropriate in the first revision stage.

Blog post done, another item on my list can be crossed off...

Friday 21 September 2012

It Was Going So Well...

You may remember that back in May I finally sent my short story off to Woman's Weekly. It had been a lot of hard work to get it to a stage that I felt it was finally good enough - and ready- for sending out for consideration.

Woman's Weekly say they take about four months, so each month that went by without a rejection letter was a good sign. Previous submissions had been rejected earlier.

As I was a week off the four month point I was hopeful that I stood a good chance of success this time.

But it was not to be.

Thursday morning my SAE dropped through the letterbox, and attached to my manuscript was the standard rejection letter.

I was gutted. Four months and then rejection.

Sadly it's common currency for writers, and after a few hours disappointment (and sympathy from writer friends) my rationality returned and I decided that next week I'll look at the story again, and if I'm still happy, then I'll be looking for a new home for it.

But it's frustrating too. Unlike a novel that can be submitted to more than one place at the same time, you really can't do that with a short story, so you have to wait for a yes or no.

For writers trying to get their first woman's magazine acceptance- to a paying market- it's getting harder. Over the past two to three years the number of magazines accepting submissions has fallen rapidly.

My Weekly and Candis have moved to accepting stories only from writers from whom they've bought from before. Others have dropped fiction completely.

Only this week on Womag's blog, it was mentioned that the Australian magazine Woman's Day was no longer publishing fiction. You only need to look at the list of magazines in the sidebar of her blog to see how few are left.

Obviously magazine editors get hundreds of submissions each week and can't comment on each one; writers understand that.

In an ideal world, those fiction departments which have readers first, would do something as simple as mark an 'x' or a '√', so the rejected writer knows how far along the system their story has actually gone.

Something as simple as that would help both the writer, and the fiction department.

No writer wants to waste either their own time, or an editor's, submitting stories that aren't of publishable standard, so it remains hit and miss until that first acceptance.

So finding a new home for my story is now on my to do list. And find one I will...