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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday 11 April 2016

Finding Railway Land

I was intrigued by writer Helen Yendall's recent blog post 'Twitter: Useful Tool or (yet another) Waste of Time? (read it here). Intrigued because it prompted some comments from those who clearly are not Twitter fans. I love it and I want to share a story of how I met some lovely writers, found a secret treasure and got inspired to write some new flash fiction ...

If it wasn't for Twitter then I wouldn't have learned ...
... how Waterstones in Lewes (East Sussex) has a section dedicated to short stories
... that the Lewes Short Story Club meet there (10-12noon) on the first Sunday of every month to read and discuss 3 short stories (and their writers) ... I've subsequently learned coffee and cake may be involved.
... how the Club (organised by mega talented superwoman, Holly Dawson) was running a Short Story workshop with Vanessa Gebbie on Saturday (9 April)
... that the workshop would be held at Railway Land, a secret and very special nature reserve right in the heart of Lewes (definitely a place I need to explore further)
... that I would meet a whole new bunch of writers (aged from 16 to 93. Yes, 93 and still writing. Ruth was an inspiration to us all!) - short story lovers who keenly soaked up Vanessa's wisdom
... from the morning workshop how I've missed writing really short stories and flash fiction and I need to make time for other writing projects (as well as the novel!)

So you can see I'd probably land on the side of Twitter as a 'Useful Tool'. I've also met lots of lovely people in the Twitterverse. Many who are becoming friends and others who I'll never meet, but I still feel some kinship with simply because they are writers. You can celebrate others' success, cheer friends on with their challenges or commiserate when those dreaded rejections come in. Yes, it can be hijacked by political commentators or trolls, but you don't have to follow them or read their tweets. You can use Twitter as you wish.

Now I'll be watching my Twitter timeline for news of the next Lewes Short Story Club meeting, as I really hope to join in with the short story natter. Sounds a perfect way to spend Sunday morning and perhaps I can persuade hubby to come along - with the promise of lunch somewhere in Lewes afterwards...

Finally, the workshop inspired LitPig to start reading Lydia Davis's collection of very very short stories: Can't and Won't. Davis is either barking mad or a genius. I think she may be both. This is a brilliant collection. Imaginative, whimsical and funny - VERY FUNNY.
LitPig also highly recommends Short Circuit, a collection of essays on the craft of short story writing (edited by Vanessa Gebbie). This was my bible during the MA and often quoted in module assignments. Definitely, one guide every short story writer needs on their bookshelf.

Monday 4 April 2016

A golden target

Last week I sold my first story of 2016. Cause for celebration - ALWAYS - but also a milestone as this marked my 50th story scheduled for publication. Even more reason to celebrate was that this piece was a departure for me from literary fiction to write a commercial ghost story - a gamble that came off since I sold it to Take-a-Break Fiction Feast (a monthly fiction magazine that pays a good rate). The story was originally penned for my writing workshop group. Over the Christmas holidays we set ourselves a challenge to write a ghost story, something I rarely attempt. I had a lot of fun reading a variety of ghostly short stories to get myself into a spooky mood. The end result is I will be providing a very generous supply of buns for my workshop buddies next time we meet at my house. Once again, this demonstrates the merits of writing workshops - story sales and buns ...

Another piece of good news was making the long list for the prestigious Thresholds International Feature competition (read more here). This was the third time I'd entered and the first time for making the long list of 15. My feature The Golden Contract (recommending The Great Automatic Grammatizer, a short story by Roald Dahl) sadly didn't make the final short list of 6, but I'm hoping it will still be published on the Thresholds site later this year, which happens to be Roald Dahl's centenary anniversary (born 1916). Don't worry, I will be shouting about this if it happens ...

And since good news comes along in threes ... (rejections come all the time, they're not polite enough to form orderly groups) ... a short story of mine squeezed onto the Fish International Short Story long list (read more here). Okay, so it had plenty of company (480 stories long listed in total out of 1400), but who's counting. I got my name on the Fish Publishing website and I'll celebrate that!

More buns please ...