Since my previous blogging phase, I’ve carved out a place where I can sit and type undisturbed. If you are one of my original followers, you’ll recall we live on a farm. Man of the Woods is frequently to be found in the house if land is too wet for tractor work, and as much as his company is entertaining, and I love laughing, I discovered for writing to happen, I needed my own space.
Most of last year was spent developing my 2019 nanowrimo project; turning it into a first draft, and then self-editing to a point where I wasn’t embarrassed to send it for profressional critique. After which, I rewrote great chunks of it and continued editing. (In fact, I think the editing thing could go on and on and on. Eventually, we have to decide it’s time for fresh eyes once more. I’m hoping, as time goes on, this ‘phase’ will be littered with recognisable stepping stones where I’ll know the writing is good enough to be seen by, perhaps, a tutor or a beta reader.)
Small change of direction, but do you write short stories? I’ve dabbled before, but never entered any competitions before 2021. I’ve got two out, plus a poem in fact. Feels good to spread my writerly wings and submit pieces here and there. Even the inevitable rejection emails don’t deter me; they are all part of the process to improvement!
In all, I’m presently waiting to hear back from seven people, be they agents, digital publishers or competition organisers.. and that feels exciting. Not scary.
Today I started a short story with no previous plan. I pantsed my way in an hour to nearly 900 words about a foster home run by a lady called Annie who cooks from scratch and encourages her children to look after nature. Even fifteen year old Billy, who had seven different homes before he was twelve, loves it there.
I try to keep wording straightforward. Sometimes I find a stupendous word but conclude I could have used something simpler. Stephen King told me that in his amazing On Writing (one of my favourite books about writing although it’s missing from this pile because I’ve loaned it to a friend!).
I’ll attempt to complete the first draft of this story tomorrow, ensuring a full circle of plot takes place, that there is meaning to the arc, and something to take away. Otherwise, what’s the point?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the last couple years is that all the beautiful prose in the world cannot captivate like a great story. We’re wired for story; have been since the creation of time. Don’t believe me? Read Lisa Cron’s ‘Story Genius’ (and keep your eyes peeled because on 1 April I’ll be doing a Book Giveaway with a brand new copy 📚🤩)