Tag Archives: Pony stories

Pony Stories from the Past

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Amongst other things, lockdown has encouraged us to spring clean, soul search, and re-order our lives – and for me this has included all things writing-related. Whilst I’ve been disappointingly unproductive in terms of new fiction, I have been looking through some of my old files, and am quite startled about how much I’ve written over the last 30 years. I think of myself as a fairly slow, sporadic writer. There are plenty of authors who can create a book a year, every six months, some even (gasp!) every month! Me, well, as you can see, in terms of actual quantifiable output, there’s a handful of published stories, some competition successes, three short story collections, and a how-to book. I’m not exactly taking the world by storm.

But there’s lots more tucked away in computer files, or on curly-edged A4 left over from the MA or various writing group projects over the years. And after much searching I found a fat, battered old envelope from over 20 years ago: my first attempt at a short story collection.

The collection – rather self-consciously copyrighted 1998!

These are pony stories aimed at aimed at children aged around 9-12 (middlegrade in the US). They include a couple of stories published back in the day by PONY magazine, and six others which are longer and more developed. They’re pretty old-fashioned – no mobile phones or other modern tech obviously (and in some cases this would probably make the storyline incomprehensible or unbelievable to an average 10 year old in today’s world). A couple make me cringe a bit – some need a good edit, some need re-writing, some probably aren’t salvageable. But while I’m in lockdown, I figure I may as well have a look at them. In the 1980s, I was happily reading stories written in the 50s and 60s – times change, but horses and horse-mad kids remain fundamentally the same – so I’d like to see if there’s something worth saving.

Just for the record though, this does not mean I’ve given up on my current horse-stories-for-grown-ups project! That’s still in the pipeline: watch this space! 😉

Write What You Know

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Oh, that old chestnut!  Much maligned advice in the writing world these days.  Don’t just stick to what you know, they say, push your boundaries.  Well, sometimes I grant you, that’s the way to success.  But personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing on subjects which are near and dear to you.  God – or the Devil (take your pick) – is in the detail, after all.

My first writing success was a short story in PONY magazine back in the day (the day being sometime in 1990 – though the story had been accepted about 18 months previously – writing teaches you nothing if not grim patience!).  I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d done everything right with that first submission.  I knew my market inside out (I was a long-time subscriber to the magazine and an avid reader of pony books of any kind).  I was writing just the kind of story they were looking for.  Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realise how I’d come to be successful with this magazine, and to be able to emulate that success with others.

Roll on 25 years, and lo and behold – I have another horse story in print!  This time in the current Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special.

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And in the intervening years, I’ve acquired two beautiful ponies of my own.

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So I count myself very lucky to have two great joys in life – writing and horses – and especially lucky that they mix so well! 😉