Saturday, 3 December 2016

Round up of November delights

Fallen leaves are like words; each have their own story to tell
I haven't been here for a month. Sorry about that. I have been rather caught up in things. I've been writing the first draft of a novel as well as editing flash fiction and short stories. I had a new 75 word flash fiction published on Paragraph Planet in November but I didn't get round to writing here about it. The piece will now be in the archive if you'd like to read it.

I'm also doing an online course with Faber Academy entitled Read Like a Writer. We've been examining extracts of stories to see the elements authors use in their novels and now we are coming to that point of submitting our own work (a 1,000-2,000 word piece) Mine is about done. The course ends in a week's time.

Submissions slowed down after the October splurge but I have submitted three stories this month. I also took one of my stories to the writer's group I belong to. I had a query about it. As a writer it isn't always easy to take a back seat and read it differently but I did know what might be wrong with it. It was too long to get feedback on the whole thing, so I read half and emailed the total script to members later. I was amazed to find they didn't think I should change anything and the part that worried me was okay. We also discussed the age group for the piece. I didn't feel it was for adults but it wasn't children's. Someone said they thought it was Young Adult. A first for me!

Feedback is so important. That is what I'm lacking with the longer pieces of work, novels in particular. I have drafts of  many different length stories. Where to go for help is the thing. I've looked at different online community writing websites and signed up for a couple but I'm still not happy with them, Most are based in the USA and some of my work is very English. Not sure Americans will get me. So I've come to a standstill for the moment.

As for poetry I've more or less given that up. I had another rejection today. I send out less and less poetry and I write even less new poems. I honestly don't think I'm going to get published in any 'good' magazine. I've been trying a long time and now my heart isn't in it. I now write poetry for my own pleasure and may think about self-publishing at some time. People I read my poetry to love it but it obviously doesn't fit in with what small press magazines want. There comes a point when you just have to accept that. And the thing is it doesn't bother me as much as it once did. I think that says it all. It seems to be one of a few things I'm shedding this year!

I've had far more success with my fiction. I love writing stories, living in other worlds, fleshing out my characters. The need to write poetry is dwindling but I still enjoy reading it and hearing new poets read.

I had a very interesting conversation with the lady who runs the writing group. She'd doing an MA, I think, in Creative Writing and she's really struggling with experimental writing. She has to write an essay on it and she doesn't understand it. Her tutor is mad about it. She explained what this experimental writing is and I agreed. I've seen it in poetry and it leaves me cold. I don't get it. I didn't even know that stories were written this way with words missing and set out weirdly. I read for enjoyment for the plot and the characters. I don't get what this is about apart from trying to look clever. Maybe someone could explain it to me?

I have more or less decided that next year is going to be the year for learning. I have several how to books with exercises. I want time to go through them and try out some different writing, see where it leads. I also want to continue writing short stories and flash and perhaps find some way of getting feedback on one of my draft novels. That's all I will say for now because these are tentative goals for next year and I'm still thinking things through.

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