A few days ago I heard I’d got third prize in the 2016 National Short Story competition run by Nottingham Writers Club with my story A Call to Arms. Performing well in a big competition against accomplished writers is a very satisfying experience. It not only confirms that something is going right, it also provides encouragement to keep going – and to do better! You can read A Call to Arms on the Nottingham Writers’ web-site.
Not that 2016 got off to a bad start! It didn’t because in January I learned that I was a winner in the Write Across Sussex Short Story competition with my story Scar Tissue. A competition win to start the year off ! What a boost. The competition reportedly drew hundreds of entries from across East and West Sussex as well as Brighton and that alone would have been enough to make the win very pleasing. However, Kate Mosse was the chair of judges and that made the win special. Scar Tissue has been included in an anthology – Chindi Write Across Sussex – available on (you’ve guessed it) Amazon.
I haven’t stuck just with the short story format over the last few months. Since Spring 2015 I’ve also been hard at work on a novel, which provides a very different experience from the short story. Drafting a complex framework and dividing it into like-length chapters which are populated with pre-conceived scenes works for many writers – but not this one. I find I have to just start writing and put the story in the hands of the characters. They’re the ones who fight for what they want; who try to outdo, out-manoeuvre or out-smart one another. What a bunch! I intend to introduce them to two or three publishers soon.