Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Monday, 24 October 2016

ANATOMY OF A SHORT STORY By Linda Mitchelmore

As followers of this blog will know, I am a huge fan of the short story - reading them, and writing them. But sometimes it becomes - as so many things we usually enjoy can - a bit of a chore. We wonder why we do it - especially when there can be many rejections along with the acceptances. Does anyone read the stories in Woman's Weekly, The People's Friend, My Weekly,and the various anthologies in which my stories have appeared? How do we keep on the straight and narrow of turning up for writing group weekly when the weather is nice/friends are stopping over/we plain don't feel like pitching up? Where, I often wonder, am I going to find yet another original take on something that will catch an editor's eye? So, today ..... very wet, very windy, very dark, and not conducive at all to writing fiction ... I was in the doldrums somewhat. So I nipped into town and came back to find .... a fan letter waiting for me, redirected by Woman's Weekly. And suddenly it all seems worthwhile.
So, this particular story that a lovely lady called Wendy Forrester took the time and trouble to write to me about. I've mentioned my writing group which meets weekly, apart from in June, July, and August when we meet monthly. We are a very small group - just a dozen of us. We take it in turns to be in the chair and take the meeting and choose a theme for homework should anyone need a bit of a jog to write something. The following photo is of me with Kate Furnivall and Carole Llewellyn giving a talk in Brixham Library. Carole is in Spain now but still feels very much part of the group.
So, it was Catherine Billing who chose the theme for this particular story - IN ANOTHER LIFE I don't usually write fantasy but this theme seemed to cry out for it. In this particular story my heroine is reminiscing about how wonderful her children look when they are in bed asleep. I can equate with that because I have children - now grown up - and I must have spent hours just standing gazing at them sleeping.
And, at the time of writing this particular story, I'd made a batch of chocolate brownie for my grandchildren who were going to be stopping with me.
So, all that went in. Some of what I wrote was pure fiction, a product of my often very over-active imagination, but some of it was also the product of things around me. So, the day might not have started well but just one very short but most very welcome fan letter has thrilled me beyond belief and motivated me ....hmmm, I feel the anatomy of a new short story beginning to emerge.

10 comments:

  1. Lovely Linda! I'm the opposite of you - not really a fan or writing or reading short stories - but now I want to read that one, sounds like it has all the perfect ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And far more literary writers than I am have penned them..... but any short story is perfect for that little moment when you need to unwind, regroup, breathe .... :)

      Delete
  2. How lovely to get a fan letter! I can easily see how that brightened up your day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Patsy ..... and it was indeed very lovely, as short as it was. It's only about the fourth or fifth I've received in almost twenty years, so precious.

      Delete
  3. You're so gifted at writing them - to me they're a challenge that only occasionally come off! Angela Britnell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, thank you, Angela ..... lovely to see you pop up here.

      Delete
  4. Hello Linda - while I was clearing out a cupboard yesterday I came across a very old copy of Kiss by Roald Dahl described, in 1962, as 'one of the most sophisticated collections of stories in print.'
    I read every one, marvelling at the scene-setting, the nervous sensation when I thought something strange was going to happen, the juxtaposition of words. I have met several authors who feel unable to write a really good short story. (I am one of them!) So, never give up what you are doing. And remember, many of your fans may be silent admirers - but we're sill here!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've just introduced me to something I didn't know about - RD and Kiss - so I will get a copy. And thank you for your kind words, Guernsey Girl.

      Delete
  5. I take my hat off to short story writers, Linda - so many skills to employ. And how kind of your reader to take the time to write to Woman's Weekly - what a wonderful surprise. Glad it helped to kick start that writing habit again. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it's only a little kick I need!

      Delete