Tag Archives: Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special

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! 😉

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A Must for Writers: Rechargeable Batteries!

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Just back from glorious Devon, where the weather mostly smiled upon us.  There were some quite exciting overnight storms (with some monster waves rather alarmingly close to our chalet!) but during the daytime it was just windy with a fair bit of sunshine around).  It was a super, much needed break, and the chalet provided the perfect base for walking, sightseeing kite-flying, idling on the balcony with a glass of wine, and of course – writing.

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One of the writers’ groups meetings took place while we were away, and I’d hoped to finish a piece and email it to the group in my absence, but internet access was a little patchy to say the least, so whilst there’s a completed first draft, the revising and mailing remains a to-do for this week. Nonetheless, I did managed to complete the first draft of another not-so-short story, the idea for which had been rolling around in my head for a while.  Usually when this happens, it all goes a bit stale, and what I finally manage to get down on the page has none of the vitality of the original thought.  Or, worse still, after weeks of not having the time to write, as soon as the time becomes available, my mind goes blank and I find there’s no story there at all.  This week though, it seemed to work, and the bulk of the story is written.  As usual, there’s a chunk in the middle which will need expanding and fleshing out, but hopefully I’ll get to this over the weekend.

I took with me all my old scribbling notebooks, and had a read through, which was a bit nostalgic and quite amusing.  It’s fun to re-read the first notes and handwritten drafts for pieces which have since become published stories, and equally, it’s great to find odd snippets of ideas which have yet to be written up.  It’s also exciting when you come across something you wrote aeons ago which now strikes you as reading much better than it did at the time!  In particular, I found a first attempt at a story which I later went on to re-write from a different viewpoint.  Despite the success of the current version, I now rather like the original voice, and am thinking about having a go at completing it and maybe taking it in a different direction.

As you might be able to tell, having a break has really helped re-charge my writing batteries, and I’ve returned buzzing with ideas.  To top it off, when I got home, my copy of November’s issue of the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special had arrived – which includes my story Sleeps Four.

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Very exciting to see this story in print given all the work which went into it!  I’ve also just found out there’s a WW app so you can download the Fiction Special in e-format – find out more at:  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/womans-weekly-fiction-special/id574443093?mt=8

I did have a momentary panic just now when I thought I’d left my laptop charger at the chalet, but turns out I’d just packed it somewhere v-e-r-y safe! So no excuses for not writing now – both my laptop and I are fully powered up! 🙂