Saturday, 14 April 2018

Anthologies, Poetry, Confidence, and What Not To Say To A Short Story Writer....

I got something nice in the post this week, which doesn't happen all that often. It was my complimentary copy of last year's Olga Sinclair Short Story Competition anthology. I was highly commended in the competition, which is a very well run one with a different theme every year. The theme for 2018 is 'Markets' and it closes in July. Read more about it here.

I love being published in anthologies, but I'm not stupid. I know the only people who read them are the people who are in them, and their friends and families. And let's be honest, most friends and family members don't actually read them. But at least, when you tell someone you're a writer, and they look at you sceptically and ask that most partronising of questions, 'Have you had anything published?' , a question almost always anticipating the answer 'No, not yet,' you can answer 'Yes, I have. And here is the link to it on Amazon.'

I had success in this competition with a story that I had previously sent out all over the place in various forms. It has been a flash fiction, and a longer story, and time after time it has wandered home with its tail between its legs. But finally it found a home. Never give up on a good story.

In other news, I have been brave. A few weeks ago I attended a poetry workshop run by lovely Lynn Gerrard, otherwise known as The Grumbling Gargoyle. It was a lovely, laughter filled evening at a newish local coffee shop Momo's. A year or so ago I would have run screaming in terror if I'd been asked to sit in a roomful of strangers and read out my rubbish offerings. And believe me, they were rubbish I haven't written poetry since my angst filled teenage years. But it didn't matter, and I'm just a little bit proud of myself for stepping (about a hundred miles) outside my comfort zone and actually daring to say anything at all.  And I've just booked a place on the next workshop, in May. Book your tickets here.

I'm always a little bit jealous of poets, because unlike short story writers I bet they don't continually get asked when they're going to write a novel. If you're a poet then you're just a poet. You're not seen as just practising to be something better. It depresses me. If you're reading this, and you know me in person, please don't ask me when I'm going to write a novel, because I won't be responsible for my actions.

Seriously, I would love to be able to write poetry well. And I do think that flash fiction is closer to poetry than anything else, especially in the way that every single word matters. Some of the shorter flash pieces I've written lately could almost be poems. I'm not quite sure what the difference is. So who knows? Maybe I'll be entering a poetry competition or two in the near future.

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