A short story of just over 7200 words. I hope you enjoy it.
A short story of just over 7200 words. I hope you enjoy it.
As is traditional at the beginning of a New Year, I have been pondering the progress I have made with my writing and, more so, planning over the past year.
In February 2018, I made the decision to take a refresher course in writing before fully embarking on the planning of whichever direction it took me. I signed up with The Writer’s Bureau and enrolled in their Comprehensive Creative Writing course. I chose to tackle the fiction writing part of the course first, thinking it would be my strongest and, therefore, the easiest, to start with.
A published author, Sheila Bugler, was assigned to me as my tutor and I have been infinitely grateful for her kind words and constructive comments throughout. At this stage in the course I am feeling quite pleased with myself, verging on a smugness, as my feedback has been filled with comments such as ‘excellent’ and ‘superb’ and the criticism has been over minor points which I have not found difficult to put right. Much of my grounding in grammar has stayed with me in the many years since I left school, leaving me with the energy to concentrate on content. I sailed through the fiction half of the course, even managing to have some stories and an article published.
The non-fiction side of the course started well with assignments dictating the content but when faced with which publications to write articles for I flailed around wildly. ‘Write about what you know’ was the new mantra. I felt that people wouldn’t want to read about my interests, thought they would find them boring and lacking in pzazz. I am pleased to say I was wrong, and articles ranging from my cravings during pregnancy to my addiction to dancing did spark some interest. I even received feedback from my blog posts about my husband’s kite flying.
Blog posts. Now there was a thing I hadn’t given any thought to. I didn’t even have a blog until midway through 2018. My course advised setting up a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anything through which I could publicize my future work, even if I didn’t plan on self-publishing. I duly trotted off to my faithful friend, the World Wide Web, researched some blogs and started planning my own. I wanted a neutral colour scheme for my site, so I opted for an almost neutral pH of green/blue. I needed a header which was different but stood out as me. Having cleared my spare bedroom of as much clutter as I could, I had purchased a screen to hide the remainder of my junk. The screen was so beautiful I decided it could be my feature image. And so it is!
In the past few months I have been slowly building my followers and have over 120 blog subscribers, over 1100 twitter followers and my Storytellingdancer facebook page receives lots of likes (when I remember to share my posts). Sharing posts can become a habit and I try to tailor them to the right social media, while trying to build a suitable audience. I follow lots of wannabe authors like myself and it is great to read and share attempts, successes and failures. I started with Pinterest but without having too much to ‘sell’ I have dropped away from the medium, dipping in only now and again when I can be bothered.
In summary, my writing is starting to go from strength to strength, with published articles and short stories accumulating on my desk. My novel, or should I say novels as I have four which I have started, is still very much a work in progress but one day I will settle to it. Maybe when my course is finished and I have more time for it.
I continue to add some of my unpublished poems and short stories to this blog and the relevant pages and the plan is to actually HAVE a plan for my blog in 2019. Watch this space – might still be empty in a few weeks time and then my gears will kick in with a vengeance. All suggestions and tips greatly received from fellow bloggers. I need to plan my blog time, moving between poems, stories, general daily life, dancing, kite flying (my husband not me) and I don;t want to post more than five or six posts a month for fear of driving my audience away rather than encouraging new readers.
For now, as I am on my lunch hour at work, I will be content with one poem per month, one Ceroc dancing post per month and then a topical post too. Even that looks messy – I definitely need to plan this more methodically!
Having already had a few short stories, poems and letters printed in magazines and monthly publications, it was a joy to receive notification of my inclusion in an anthology of fantasy tales.
I had submitted the story as one of my coursework modules where I had been advised to write something completely different and out of my usual comfort zone style. I opted to write a story about aliens. Having watched many science fiction films and being a recently-converted Doctor Who fan, how difficult could it be?
I struggled to think of ideas, even though with an alien story you are given free reign to use as much imagination as necessary. After all, unless we are really honored, nobody is going to be able to prove otherwise.
My tutor was pleased with the story, a 4000-word tale about other-worldly beings, and suggested I submit it for publication. As always, with coursework, I duly submitted the story and moved onto the next module.
A few weeks passed, and I received an email to let me know the publisher planned to include my piece in their next anthology. Payment details were exchanged and a few short weeks later, my copy of the publication was sent to me.
The book is a small anthology and not too costly, but I am pleased with it as a first actual book inclusion. I am not belittling my magazine and online successes but this was the next small step for me. Maybe it would be a good stocking filler with Christmas around the corner.
If you want to purchase a copy the details are below. I do not know the other contributors personally but the stories are all entertaining and diverse enough to hold the attention.
If you are not able, or do not wish to purchase the book, but are able to share my post on social media platforms, I would be equally grateful for the help. Thank you for reading my post and if you are able to share or buy the book then I thank you for that too. Every little bit of support is so very much appreciated.
Success comes in many guises. My daughter and son-in-law might report a successful day yesterday where they and we, we being my husband and I, visited Lakeside Shopping Centre and, of course IKEA, in Thurrock.
This was, by far, not our collective first visit to the centre but, for them, it was the start of a success of sorts. Two months ago, they were handed the keys to the first home they have owned. Months of saving resulted in a beautiful, brand new, four-bedroomed detached house in a village on the outskirts of Norwich. Unfortunately, their joy has been marred by an indescribable number of issues, such as damaged windows, the wrong kitchen, forgotten flooring, the list was, in reality, four A4 pages long and minus minor snags! But here is not the place to be moaning about Charles Church and Persimmon, although incompetence and rudeness, accompanied by genuine data protection breaches (with GDPR at the forefront of the nation’s minds right now, indeed) were phenomenally unbelievable.
With eighty percent of their issues rectified after a battling two and a half months, the time had become ripe for adding new items to said beautiful residence.
Armed with my daughter and son-in-law’s meticulously measured diagrams, we set off on our mission to buy them some housewarming gifts and theirs to buy furnishings of their own. The day was a success in that one larger item of furniture was purchased, some shelving and numerous smaller items made their way to our vehicles and a number of ideas for handyman son-in-law to put to the test when time allows. Success, as I mentioned, comes in numerous guises.
My own success yesterday was to receive an email notification of one of my ‘way out of my comfort zone’ short stories – approximately 4000 sci-fi words, which was now published in a Fantasy anthology, following submission to same. The work was one of my assignments for my ‘Comprehensive Creative Writing’ course with The Writer’s Bureau which my tutor, herself a published crime novelist, had suggested was ready for submission.
The resultant success is my inclusion in the short story anthology shown in the link below.
I have to shout this achievement from the rooftops as I am told that’s what you do with success no matter how small.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my success thus far, I hope you are joining me at the start of something far greater – I guarantee the writing is happening during every spare moment. As promised, I will continue to share unpublished stories on my blog from time to time.
I am grateful to all followers, please spread the word if you enjoy my ramblings. The more far reaching my content, the greater the chance of more success. It’s largely down to you lovely people. Thank you!
To all my blogging friends and followers. I wrote this story as an assignment for a course I am taking, but I wondered if anyone would offer me a short (just a couple of lines) review in the comments section?
The story is just under 3000 words, approximately ten pages of double spaced text and it is far from perfect, edited once, but in my opinion something is missing…
Will happily review short stories for others in return (please mention in comments).
Thank you to all possible reviewers.
I received an email this afternoon advising me that another of my short stories has been accepted for publication. I know that’s not a huge achievement in the grand scheme of things but it was a story I wrote for a module as part of my coursework and I had to step way out of my comfort zone.
I like to write stories with a twist in the tale and stories encompassing subjects I have a little knowledge to draw upon. This particular module was to produce around 3000 to 4000 words on a subject I have never previously written about. I chose to write an alien story. I didn’t opt for scary, more along the lines of strange but oddly friendly.
I am not sure about any of you but I have never had the pleasure of meeting with a real live alien. I haven’t met any expired ones either but that’s really not important. I found it difficult as the whole story had to be fabricated from nothing, where usually I have at least a small amount of knowledge or insight to draw upon.
I bashed away at the keyboard over the course of a few days (remember, I do have a full time job and spend much of my spare time dancing so there is much to work around). I edited and re-edited and when I was happy with my finished piece, duly sent it to my course tutor. I didn’t hold out too much hope of a good mark, after all my tutor probably knows lots of aliens! Surprisingly, the assignment was returned to me with a glowing mark and some positive comments, the last of which was to advise me to send it for submission. I didn’t expect that from an other-worldly story.
I submitted it and forgot all about it, expressing my pleasure when it was shortlisted into the second round of reading. I have never thought much about sci-fi as a way forward but, as you can guess from my blog heading, I received an email today advising me it is being included in a Fantasy Story collection in September.
Maybe the moral here is to stretch my imagination and spend more time out of my comfort zone. I may not get rich on small publications but it is a step closer to my ultimate goal.
As the blog title suggests, these are my three great loves – aside from my husband and children which goes without saying. I was lucky enough to have last Friday afternoon off and a whole day yesterday, which constitutes a long weekend.
Suffice to say, when I have booked a long weekend off, the heatwave has long-since disappeared and we are left with drizzle, thunderstorms and heavy rain, the sun having long since chosen to grace us with pleasantly warm rather than heatwave hot rays. I am sure I would be complaining if it had continued to be too hot but a little less of the damp stuff would have been gratefully received.
I was lucky enough, however, to enjoy all of my favourite pastimes during my days off this weekend, beginning with an evening of dancing at Great Yarmouth on Friday night. Quite a few dancers turned out, a bonus of the weather cooling down, for a lesson with Steve, music from DJ Robert and a greeting from Anna on the door. I love our nights at Great Yarmouth because everyone is friendly and welcoming, always asking when Steve and I will be back again. Well, they are in for a treat, if that’s what you would chose to call it, as Steve is covering holidays and will be teaching next week and two weeks after that, with a Beach Party freestyle on the Friday in between. I think they should be sick of us by then!
Dancing, as always on a Friday night, ended at eleven and, with a cheeky stop off for a McDonald’s on the way home, we were home just in time to avoid the car turning into a pumpkin.
Saturday morning was spent visiting my very sick mother who has decided the most important thing in her life right now is to change her lounge curtains. We have ordered various styles from online sources and had to send them back and this week was no different. These ones were chosen by her, were excellent quality – I wouldn’t have even had to get the iron out – and went really well with her room. She didn’t like them. Oh joy! And so begins the process again! She can’t leave the house apart from each time she is admitted to hospital, and we are tied to online viewings and, as such, I think this saga may drag on a while yet…
Saturday afternoon was far better. We had dancing friends over who, for one reason and another, we had not entertained for some time. It was so good to see them and we enjoyed a hearty barbecue, the only appearance of the warm sunshine this weekend, and spent six or seven hours chatting as if there had not been an interlude. One of the best afternoons we have had for some time and we plan to do it again, soon.
Sunday was a day of reading and coursework. I am way ahead in my Creative Writing course as I am loving it so much, but I really wanted to get the TV Drama out of the way as I have never written anything in this format before. I was excited to get an ‘A’ for a radio drama which I sent in for my last assignment. I genuinely did not expect that! Maybe that’s my calling? I say that with every good mark I have had from my tutor so I have lots of ‘callings’ to chose from! Before I settled down to write, we did go out for breakfast with my daughter and her husband at the local garden centre. The rest of the day was dull and damp so I holed up in my writing room and motored through my work.
Monday was quiet. My husband was working in the morning so I wrote some more, submitted a story, or was it two, for publication and signed up to an agency who want writers – they contacted me so I had to read the small print carefully! They had seen examples of my work online and have asked me to submit a couple of specific pieces before making a definite decision but I could have a little freelance number if I play my cards right.
Not sure how writing can make a person feel so tired, but we couldn’t be bothered with dancing last night. I am demoing on Wednesday and Friday nights this week and we have a freestyle on Saturday night which is more than enough for my tired head right now.