I’ve had a pretty good couple of weeks in writing terms. First, I came second in a writing competition, one that I had forgotten I’d entered. Reading the judge’s report gave me food for thought – how other people see your stories. It’s difficult to move your perspective from subjective to objective when writing, editing or reading your own work. I’ve always found reading the judge’s reports a great way to improve my writing, to work out what catches the interest of a reader, whether it’s character, plot, perfect grammar and spelling etc. I believe that for most judges it would be a combination of both, so too for most readers.
In short stories there is little room to write a convoluted plot so characterisation is key. My own stories tend to take place over a relatively short period of time, sometimes no more than a few hours. Putting a character in a confronting situation and seeing how they react is the way I tend to write. Plot is secondary. However, the story that placed in this competition was perhaps a little outside of my usual style – set in the past and the present with two characters lives intertwining. It was enjoyable to write and very enjoyable to know that it left an impression on someone else. Thanks to the team at the Yarram Community Learning Centre for organising the competition.
The other good news is that I’ve finished the first draft of my latest WIP – a teen novel, which I hope will end up as a trilogy. It’s always a relief to get to the end but I know that now is the hard part – revising, redrafting, perhaps restructuring. It’s a challenge, a slog and it’s also the time when a writer can lose heart in their work. But it’s these struggles that can refine an ordinary first draft into a piece of work that sings.