Entrants were given 48 hours to write a story based on the prompt: “Write a fantasy or science fiction story under 5000 words that opens with something needlessly dramatic, which becomes actual drama when…”
Comedy science-fiction isn't really in my wheelhouse, but I decided to give it a go - and I won!
I submitted an article to Writing Magazine at the start of the year and received an email back very quickly to say they liked it and wanted to keep hold of it for when they had a suitable gap. And I've just had confirmed that it will be printed in the November edition, which is extremely gratifying.
This month's Writing Magazine had me shortlisted in the Mid-Sentence Competition, which was a lovely surprise. I had hoped my story might do well, since I was very pleased with it, but it was quite bizarre and Writing Magazine are usually fairly mainstream in their choices for competition winners. So shortlisted is very satisfying and I'll be hoping to get that story published elsewhere soon.
I am now officially a reviewer for Fringe Guru, which reviews as many shows as possible at various fringe theatre festivals throughout the year.
My first review is here.
And I'm going to be reviewing throughout The Vaults festival at Waterloo over the next couple of months, with a stint at Edinburgh planned for the summer.
The lovely editors at Etre have invited me to be one of the staff writers for their new quarterly print magazine, which is a huge honour and really exciting. I'll be helping shape the development of the magazine, being mentored by one of the editors to hone my writing, and getting the opportunity to submit pieces for publication on a regular basis. I can't wait to get started!
I came back from holiday on Monday to find this month's issue of Writing Magazine in our post box. On flicking through, I discovered I had been shortlisted in their Real Time Short Story Competition, which was a nice surprise.
I'm particularly pleased because the story I submitted was science-fiction, which they don't often reward, unless it's a specifically sci-fi themed competition.
My story, The Decision, has been printed in this quarter's Scribble Magazine! Each issue has ten stories on any theme, and the readers write in with their comments, including their top three picks for that issue. The comment letters get printed in the next issue, and the three stories with the most votes get a prize, so I shall be awaiting September's issue eagerly!
Interestingly, I don't think The Decision is one of my best pieces of writing. I've sent other stories to Scribble in the past, but the editor rejected them. I think it may have been a genre issues, since the other two stories I sent were both fantasy, and The Decision is very much contemporary, as it's about a teenage girl making an important choice in gym class. So, this publication was a triumph in assessing my target market and sending the most appropriate story (even if it took me three tries!).
I shall do an update in September when I get the feedback and find out if I come in the top three reader-chosen stories!
I've been featured in the Subscriber Spotlight section of this month's Writing Magazine, which is a delightfully circular experience. My short story publications are largely due to opportunities listed in Writing Magazine, which now has a piece advertising this site, where I am advertising that piece within Writing Magazine!
The Photo Republic of London have launched a new project, called Urban Flash, which is taking place over the next year. It involves text and photographic prompts, which members can respond to either by submitting a photograph or a piece of flash fiction.
I entered the Warm-Up Prompt Competition, submitting a short piece based on the following prompt:
"I thought I knew that part of the city like the back of my hand, but I turned a corner and..."
I went to the launch party for the project on Wednesday 15 March - and was announced as the winner in the fiction category!
I'm part of a collaborative writing project this year, called Narrathon. It's being organised by NAWG and involves 19 writers completing a chapter each to produce a children's novel for publication in the second half of the year. The project is now open for donations, and all the money will go towards the upkeep of NAWG itself.
Mine is chapter three - and it was tremendous fun writing it in January. I can't wait to see the book in print and get to read the whole thing!
Back in November, I entered a competition to have one of my stories recorded by a company called Soundwork. I forgort all about it until this week, when I was tracking my outstanding submissions. I spotted a note I'd left for myself, saying I would need to check their website for the results - and, lo and behold, my story was shortlisted!
So, it just goes to show, you should always keep track of where you've submitted stories, and make sure to follow up on the response.
The very day I pretty much decided to abandon my novel as a 'useful first experiment', I got an email telling me I've been long-listed in the UK Novel Writing Competition!
Out of 3,112, mine has been selected along with 249 others to go forwards to the next stage of the competition.
So, yay! I'll find out if it makes the short-list in March. In the meantime, perhaps I should put the novel back on my list of projects for later in the year...
This month's issue of Writing Magazine arrived in the post today, and I was shortlisted in the Tight Situation Short Story Competition!
I'm particularly pleased with this result, because the story I entered went through a development process I'm planning to cultivate more often in my writing this year. I worked on it in several stages, giving my subconscious crew plenty of time and space to come up with ideas. Then, I sent it to a couple of people for feedback, and revised the story further, based on their comments.
So, it's good to know the process works and makes my work more likely to succeed.
There's a regular column in Writing Magazine, called Under the Microscope, in which author James McCreet analyses the first few hundred words of a reader's novel.
He's notoriously unflinching in his critique and really gets into the nitty-gritty of what works - and mostly what doesn't - in those all-important opening paragraphs.
Aaaaand, in the November issue (out next weekend) - the reader's novel he will be ripping to shreds will be mine!
I'm terrified/can't wait - but the most important thing I have to remember is that I generally agree with his criticisms, and I want to use this awesome opportunity to improve the opening to my novel, if I can.
It'll be very interesting to see if I can keep my reaction objective, or if I'll shrivel into a mess of self-doubt and despair.