I think this is going to be a bit of a grab-bag of news and general updates, as there are a few things I wanted to cover and they don't really fit to a particular theme. Apologies in advance for the lack of structure.
Firstly, the Ten-Four Challenge continues. I sent an entry in to The Spilling Ink Fiction Prize, which I first heard about after my friend Karen had a story published in the Spilling Ink Review. It looks like a good site, and the competition prizes are impressive, with the added incentive of print publication for the winners and shortlisted stories.
It wasn't the story I'd intended to submit. The one I'd planned to send is a humorous piece that had already gone to the Sean O'Faolain competition without catching the judge's eye, and I thought I could just do a quick edit to knock it into shape. This proved not to be the case, though. I know what's wrong - the beginning needs to be shorter and snappier, the middle needs tightening to bring out the humour, and the end is okay but would benefit from a sharper final paragraph. But I couldn't seem to correct any of these problems in time for the closing date. I made the beginning better, but even longer. I thought up some new jokes to put in, but they meant I needed to change parts of the plot. Before long the whole thing seemed to be coming apart at the seams. I started thinking the story just wasn't 'ready', and that's something I hope to come back to in a separate blog post.
I also submitted a flash piece to MicroHorror.com. This was accepted, which I'm very pleased about. I wouldn't consider myself as a horror writer or reader, although I enjoy the tension the genre requires, and the clarity of the imagery the words on the page/screen must create is another reason for a writer of any discipline to dip into it occasionally, at least. There's a contest on the website at the moment, ending (appropriately enough) on Halloween, with the theme of "Water". So, get your fright on, folks!
I'm not fully sure my MicroHorror début counts towards the Ten-Four Challenge, as it isn't a paying market and the story in question, "Anatomy of a Crime", was one of the 'previously unpublished' stories I included in my anthology, Somewhere to Start From. But for the moment I'm going to class it as half a point towards my total - as 2.5 stories submitted at the end of September is quarter of the way to the target, a quarter of the way towards the deadline.
In other good news, I'm off to Guernsey again towards the end of next week. I'll be talking to the Guernsey Writers' Group about editing and giving a more general writing workshop to Performing Arts students. The rest of the weekend will be spent catching up with my mum and stepdad, walking on beaches and coastal paths, and gorging on the delights of the wonderful Tennerfest. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this sunny weather hangs around a little longer.