Thursday 10 December 2015

"The Boatman" published at 101 Words

101 Words is a website I found out about via a post on Twitter, when a writer I follow posted a link to a story she'd had published there ["And So" by Marie Gethins - worth a look]. It was one of those moments that crop up every once in a while where I find out about a market just as I'm looking for somewhere new to send a particular piece.

I had a 100-word ghost story that had started off as a 50-word story intended for a competition in (I think) The Telegraph. It was a bit too brief at 50 words, and I'd increased the word count with the thought that it might fit a 'drabble' competition.

101 Words insist that the word count of anything submitted must be exactly 101 words. Despite the temptation to take the easy route and just throw in an adjective somewhere to bump up the word count, I actually ended up restructuring about half of the story so it's now quite difficult to define exactly what I changed. This is one of the challenges of writing to a specific limit - it can be hard to convince yourself it's worth unpicking a story when you could hit the target by simply popping in a word or two. When it comes to editing I try to have the attitude that there's always a better way of saying something, even if it involves several iterations, bouncing back and forth over the word limit.

Anyway, I got there in the end and the editors at 101 Words accepted "The Boatman" as submitted, and it went live a couple of weeks ago (I'm still not back in the habit of blogging regularly, so apologies that it's fairly old news now). 101 Words don't pay for the stories they accept, but there's a monthly prize for the best story submitted. If you like to write flash or fancy giving it a try, it's worth checking out their site.