I did something this weekend that I haven’t done in years. I wrote a short story. All you fabulous writers out there who do this all the time will be muttering ‘So what?’ But I’d forgotten how difficult it is.
I don’t mean getting one published, which can be something akin to a miracle in these difficult times when so many of the popular women’s mags have dropped their fiction pages.
No, I’m talking about coming up with a great idea in the first place, developing it, writing and polishing it, and then having the courage to submit it.
Penning short stories, and being fortunate enough to get a decent amount of acceptances, was what got me into fiction writing in the first place.
Until then I’d been a jobbing journalist, writing mainly newspaper reports and magazine features, the skill being in finding a new angle, a clever twist, and a pleasing and entertaining way of presenting the piece.
Fiction writing is a whole new mindset. A short story, carefully thought out, skillfully written, and cleverly crafted, is a work of art.
The really great short story writers, the ones whose names appear every week in the magazines, make it all look so easy. But it is sooo not.
What I’m getting around to telling you is how proud I am of myself to have actually written and subbed a Christmas story. I sent it to Take a Break, because that’s where I sold most of my previous work. I’ve no idea if the lovey Nora will want to buy it. For now it’s enough that I’ve actually DONE it.
Back in the day, the hardest part of short story creation for me was just keeping that word count reined in.
I wanted to move about more, push out the sides, develop characters and explore issues. There simply aren’t enough words to do all this in a short story, which is why I admire those who do it so successfully.
So I turned to longer projects – and discovered the joy of writing books and novellas. I was hooked from the word go, and probably always will be.
Over the years I’ve often thought about all those other wonderful careers out there. I could have been an archeologist, delving into our fascinating past, or worked for one of the big antique houses. I could have studied art, music, been a property developer or run my own tearoom. (Ahemm…I’m not suggesting I was actually qualified for any of these) But I chose to write – and through my characters have been able to dip my toe into all of these experiences.
Like most writers, I don’t make a fortune, or even a living from my work, but this is still one of the best jobs in the world.
And if someone buys one of my books, and then takes the trouble to tell me that they enjoyed it … well, that’s the icing on the cake!
Happy reading everyone,