Monday, 25 July 2011

Hooray, it's the G.S.S.S.S. (Guardian Summer Short Story Special)!

Last weekend, the Guardian issued its annual Summer Short Story Special. This is becoming a bit of an event for me, as if nothing else it marks pretty much the only time when I make a real effort to buy a newspaper. They always seem to have a good selection of writers and even if I don't actually like every one of the stories I usually feel like I can learn something from them.

This year it's an extra special one because my friend Teresa Stenson was picked as a runner-up with her story "Things Which Are Not True". Only the winner gets a place in the printed magazine alongside all the established authors, but the runners-up get a slot on the Guardian website. Do check Teresa's story out, it's excellent.

It's been a while since I had any success of my own to report so it's nice to be able to relive my own Guardian experience through somebody I know. It's been a couple of years, but I remember the dry mouth, the racing pulse and the rollercoaster of elation and being-utterly-convinced-it's-all-a-horrible-scam that came along with the notification email.

I know it means a lot to Teresa and I couldn't be happier for her. The best bit is that she predicted we'd be swapping successes this year, which means I get a prize at Bridport. I can't pretend I'm not excited about that prospect.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Little Bit of Awesomeness

I enjoyed Aubrey Hirsch's recent article over on Flash Fiction Chronicles, in which she offered up a few tips for dealing with the negative feelings that come from having your work rejected by editors - or, for that matter, seeing it disappear without trace in competitions. The most valuable piece of advice, by my reckoning, was her recommendation of making the effort to celebrate everything positive that happens to you, no matter how small. I think that's really important. It's all too easy to focus on the bad stuff and before you know it, you've convinced yourself you're a terrible writer and the path back to the keyboard/pen has become an arduous and intimidating struggle.

With that in mind, here's something relatively minor that brings a smile to my face:
Yep, it's my name, dropped casually into a list of authors and looking, dare I say it, very much at home. Dan Purdue, Author. I like the sound of that.

One of these days I'll get used to seeing my name in the paper. Until then, I'll be clutching my clippings and grinning like the Cheshire Cat and thinking, "So what if I didn't win that competition? I'm still an author."

After all, it's in the Guernsey Press. It must be true.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Missing something?

Astute blog visitors will no doubt have noticed that my competitions listing page is no longer accessible. I’m assuming there are echoes of it drifting about in Google caches and the like, but in terms of an active page of contest details, it is no more. It has ceased to be, etc, etc. (I shall spare you the full Monty Python “Parrot Sketch” pastiche I could happily launch into at this point).

This is, I’m hoping, just a temporary situation. I am a fan of writing competitions and like to support smaller ones as much as I enjoy daydreaming about the boundless wealth that hitting a winning streak with some of the bigger contests would surely bring me. And I like to share this enthusiasm.

But it all takes time, and due to a number of other commitments I have at the moment I can’t really spare enough time to do the research, data gathering, and maintenance that a listings page requires. I know there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a webpage that would be useful except that it is four months out-of-date, so until I have enough time to do it properly, I won’t be running the page at all.

In the meantime, I will aim to flag up any interesting competitions I come across, and will keep you posted on any successes I have in them, or any hot tips for success that I pick up along the way.