Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Bea Inspired

As writers, we need inspiration.

Writers are often asked: “Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?” “What led you to write that one?” The story I sold yesterday was inspired by the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 which falls this year. Not all soldiers and war heroes returned home to find the girl they loved waiting for them. Many had moved on. Likewise the war-weary men who returned home were not the innocent, idealistic boys who went away. Time and experience changes people. My story tells of two such young lovers reunited in 1945.

But inspiration is not just finding a tale to tell. Sometimes we need a kick up the backside. We need motivation to sit at the computer and write. I find that from fellow writers. Yesterday I learned that one of my Facebook writer friends had submitted 11 stories in one month to a single magazine. And sold most of them! Time for me to knuckle down, I think.

And if I become despondent when rejections are received, as they were last Friday, I find inspiration by the faith my family and friends have in my ability to write. And the ultimate inspiration is when an editor says, yes, we like your story and will pay you for it. Now typing an invoice – that is inspiring!

What or who inspires you?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bea Happy!

What a difference a week makes! Last week I received news of the rejection of a short story I had submitted. This Monday I received news of the sale of a short story.

It is part of the rollercoaster of the new life I have chosen. Some submissions the editors like, others they do not. The real trick is not in writing the stories. For the most part that is the easy bit! No, the real skill is in pitching the right tale to the appropriate publication, in learning to understand what it is an editor requires.
Each time I receive a rejection, I learn a little more. Hence last week I was grateful for the rejection. But this week I got it right, and for that I am happy. Very happy! A sale is external validation of what I have done.
There are still eleven stories out there upon which I await a response. So I can sit here anxiously twiddling my thumbs, or I can get on with writing some more stories and submitting them. Which is what I shall do.

And in the words of the song, I shall try hard not to worry, but be happy!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Bea Grateful

I started my writing week with a rejection. “No real surprises” was the damning comment in the rejection email. So why am I grateful?

Because I received a response, even if it wasn’t the one I would have liked. Someone with an experienced eye has read my story and taken the time to tell me it is not quite right. Now I must examine the story and work out what is wrong with it before I correct and tweak it to suit a different market.
In the meantime I am grateful to see that my news article has been published in the current edition of Writers’ Forum, together also with a letter. I also have letters in the March 21st editions of The People’s Friend and Amateur Gardening.

I still get a thrill when I see my name in print, even if for something as small as a letter!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Bea Flummoxed

I wrote a story last week. (In fact I wrote more than one, but one in particular is on my mind today.) It was not my normal style and took me out of my comfort range.

I thought it was a good one. But because it was intended for a market to which I don’t normally submit, I asked the advice of an online writing group.
But when my fellow writers shared their thoughts on my story, I was flummoxed. Because the slightly quirky tale with a supernatural twist which I thought I had written so well wasn’t understood that way at all. Their interpretation was of an issue led story with an inconclusive ending.

So this morning I read it again. Thank goodness for my helpful writerly friends. They were right. I had tried too hard to be subtle and failed to address the supernatural element properly. Sometimes we can be too close to a story to read it objectively.
So I have now redrafted the story and placed it in its envelope for submission. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bea Embarrassed

The best remembered lessons are learned the hard way.

Take yesterday. I spend the morning writing a story for a competition. It comes together beautifully but I am up against the clock. The deadline for entries is 12 midday. Eventually I am satisfied with the finished story. I type the email address; paste the story into the body of the message as per competition requirements; I have a final read through.  A good story, I am feeling quite confident.

At 11.56am I hit the ‘send’ button. And relax. Job done!

I go away to make a cup of tea to celebrate. I return to my computer ten minutes later to find a message waiting in my inbox: “Delivery status notification (failure)”. Check the sent item and find that in my haste I have mistyped the recipient’s address.

And because I sent it off at the very last minute, I am too late to resubmit.


Lessons learned:

1. Do not leave competition entries until the last minute

2. Check the address carefully

Still, on the positive side I have a completed story which may fit another market or competition. Maybe. And I have learned two valuable lessons.