First of all, I’m immensely amused at the fact that my last entry was on “discipline,” and it’s taken me days to get my bum in gear to write another post!
Yeesh…the week got busy on me as I try to wrap things up before heading back to the States (FYI, I’m a Chicago gal currently living in London) for a visit with family and friends, a time during which I expect to be out of commission for writing/working overall. In any case, the reason I am OMG-ing relates to a previous post in which I expressed my excitement over getting one of my letters published in a book collection. That, in turn, inspired me to enter a short story contest that so happened to extend its deadline, so I could still give it a go. The general theme to address was “The Wedding.” So, folks, the results are already in, and….*drumroll*…I won first place! Adrenaline surged through my veins, and I thought my heart would leap out of my chest…I’m just gobsmacked and so appreciative of those darling judges who have humored an amateur writer and will be making a dream come true in publishing my work. It’s my very first time being published for my fiction, and I’m going to continue working hard to ensure it won’t be my last. I already feel so grateful for this blog, as these little exercises that I might spend 5-10 minutes on here and there have been enough to get my ideas flowing and discipline me to write creatively on a more consistent basis. This week’s performance, however, not being a stellar example…
In my defense, I’ve had a lot of reading and note-taking to conduct in preparation for a weekend writing conference that I’m departing for tonight. I honestly learned of it by accident because of this blog–because I follow Bonni Goldberg’s writing prompts in her book Room to Write, I had Googled the title to grab a link for one of my earlier posts weeks ago, and in doing so stumbled upon a UK organization of same namethat holds bi-annual conferences at a country estate-turned-hotel up in Northern England. This just looks way too up my alley, so I signed on and am getting giddy to hop on that train out of the city. In any case, this March workshop addresses reading as writers–I think we all know that the more we read, the better we can write by virtue of interacting with examples of good writing or evaluating what we don’t like about what we read. We were assigned to read three novels of rather disparate styles (The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman, and Let it Bleed by Ian Rankin) and take note of three things we learned about writing from each, so I’m looking forward to this sort of book club taken to the next level in analyzing these texts in relation to our own writing projects. Hoping to obtain some very solid advice on how I might approach concluding the last quarter of my work-in-progress…I will most definitely report back here on any pearls of wisdom shared.
In any case, hopefully it will not be another 20+ years before I enter another writing contest–no, seriously! I had just talked about my last one (in grade school, mind you) in my blog post, “The Impact of Words.” Imagine my relief that the outcome this time round was the same 🙂
In closing, I’m going to indulge my relative anonymity here with what I consider to be the first professional review of my written work, taken as an excerpt from the Fact, Fiction, and Folly blog. Why? Because I think I still just can’t believe it and am utterly humbled by the kind words shared, and need to remember them to keep my self-expectations high:
The writing is well done, the story keeps you reading and turning pages (on the screen, ha!). It pulled me right in, with super fast pacing, so there’s never one single moment of ‘boring’ or ‘description’ that isn’t necessary. No word is wasted, no emotion spared. We get to shift POVs in an expert way from several different players in the scene of one wedding – and being ‘inside’ their heads, sort of the way a voice-over on television would be while all the guests are watching the wedding. It felt conspiratorial. It felt like we were eavesdropping on their private moments. It was simply fantastic.
The story title is “Four Somethings and a Sixpence,” and will appear in Accentuate Services’ Elements of Love anthology due for release this November. They have already published two previous anthologies, Elements of the Soul and Elements of Time, and coming out soon are Elements of Dimension and Rendezvous. All right, then, cheers for now—I’ve got a train to catch!