New Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special – Story

I have a story in the latest issue of ‘Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special’ (out now!) 

If you want to have a flick through in ‘Smiths (if my Mum’s left any on the shelves), it’s on page 62 and it’s called ‘The Return of The Potato King’.

The idea came from my friend (as they often do!), whose Dad was the ‘Diet Coke’ man of his day. In his youth, he worked on a farm and delivered sacks of potatoes to a local chippie. The girls in the hairdresser’s above the chip shop used to gaze longingly down at him from the window. A couple of years ago my friend was back home at the local fair and overhead a couple of ladies ‘of a certain age’ talking about her Dad. “You’ll never guess who’s here?” one said to the other, all of a tizz, “The Potato King! And he’s just as gorgeous as ever!”

Well, who could resist that? I’ve turned it into a story BUT everything, apart from those bare bones, is complete fiction (that’s what we writers do!) and I’m afraid The Potato King in my story is not as lovely on the inside as he is on the outside, so I hope the real Potato King takes the story in the way it’s intended. ie – inspired by him but not about him! You do have to be careful when you’re writing about real people – as I’ve said on my blog before

The story has quite an involved ‘timeline’:

  • It starts in the present (and is written in the present tense)
  • Then it moves back to the day before (in past tense)
  • Then it moves back yet again, to thirty years earlier (still in past tense)
  • Finally it comes back to the present and the scene that it started with.

I don’t often write my stories chronologically but I did worry that I’d made this one too complicated (although WW help by dividing up the different sections with a row of blue triangles). The best way to check that what you’ve written doesn’t leave the reader scratching her head (or worse, putting the story down, unfinished) is to ask someone else to read it.

I have a ‘Writing Buddy’, Sally (her blog is here!) and we swap a story or article once a fortnight and give each other feedback. She’ll soon tell me if something is confusing or if, in the case of this story, as I’d originally written it  – the ending is too weak.

The topic of ‘writing buddies’ deserves a whole Post of its own so I’ll write about it soon.

And in the meantime, don’t forget, if you leave a comment on my blog between now and 15th December, you’ll be entered into my prize draw to win a bundle of writing books! Click here for more details.

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5 Responses to New Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special – Story

  1. Thanks for the plug, Helen!

  2. Karen says:

    Hi, I’ve just found your blog via the impressively long list of womag writers at Writing Allsorts. I had no idea there were quite that many of us!

    I have a writing buddy too, and it’s brilliant for feedback and constructive advice – I probably wouldn’t get half as much done without her.

    Looking forward to reading your story, especially now I know how you got the idea 🙂

    • Karen
      Ooh, that’s good that you found me via the Writing Allsorts website! I have just been on it, looked at the (very long!) list and clicked on you! Very nice blog – and you work in a library! Lucky you! Sorry about all the exclamation marks but it’s Friday afternoon, so I’m in a good mood. 🙂
      Hope you enjoy the story. bye for now.

  3. Terry Smith says:

    Is there anywhere i can get hold of this storey?

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