100 Days of Writing: Day 6
Thank GOD for Social Media. Today I found out – thank you, person that I am now definitely following on Twitter – that leading independent publisher Galley Beggar Press is running a short story competition and the deadline is VERY SOON. How did I miss this? Without hesitation, I put Book Two aside, holed myself up in the box room and donned my most creative thinking cap like some kind of bookish Carmen Miranda. In my imagination.
Back in the days when I could run long distances, before my knees and hips became old and decrepit, and my back decided to stop working properly, I regularly signed up for organised events, from 5k’s to half-marathons. Competing – even against yourself – gives you something to aim for, keeps you focused and makes you keep on top of training.
It’s the same with writing. In the past year, I’ve entered a few short story competitions, partly because I want to win (obvs) but mainly to discipline and challenge myself. It’s also a very effective way of putting your work in front of some prestigious judging panels, which tend to be made up of authors, publishers and literary agents.
Apart from one instance when I was shortlisted, which you can read about here, I haven’t come anywhere in these competitions. It’s always a bit disappointing but never surprising given the standard of talent out there. Also, the short story is an art-form in itself. One that I’m not particularly good at but that doesn’t stop me wanting to get better.
Before I put pen to paper – fingertips to keys, rather – I reminded myself of Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 tips for Short Story writing. It’s excellent advice and essential for anyone who wants to give it a go. A flick through some old notes sparked an idea I felt had some potential and after an hour or so I had something I was not totally unpleased with. It’s going to take a few days to complete and perfect but it’s definitely a start.
Dis new thinking cap is SICK bro’.