A Little ‘Peak’ For The Spreadsheet…

The Cave had a mini-makeover yesterday: a new carpet in the bedroom. (It has a bedroom and a bathroom, as well as my ‘study/office’ part. Yes, I could open a B&B!).

I am a little worried that when I’m in there, tap tap tapping away, him indoors will get all the locks changed in the house and I’ll have to live in The Cave forever! Only joking! He wouldn’t really do that.. would he?

I’ve just had a New Year story accepted by the fiction editor of The Weekly News. I sent it to her less than a fortnight ago. Now that’s the kind of response rate I like! Actually, it’s a relief to have something good to put on my spreadsheet! (I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves tinkering about with a spreadsheet, showing submissions, acceptances and competition entries, all in different colours – am I?!)

I’m trying to get my measly ‘successes’ for this year (too embarrassing to tell you exactly how many) UP a bit. Not least because in mid December, my writing buddy Sally and I are getting together for Christmas lunch – as you do – but also to review our year of writing and make some plans for 2013! All sounds very serious, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t but it definitely helps to have some targets – for the day, the week, the month, the year. How come it’s taken me so long to realise this?!

Right, a couple of writing competitions for your now:

Commonwealth Writers Short Story Competition

The Commonwealth Writers are holding their usual annual short story competition and it’s free to enter, as long as you fulfill the critieria for entry (you have to be a citizen of a Commonwealth country, for example but you don’t have to be a resident of one).

BUT be warned, I reckon the standard will be high – and they’re definitely looking for ‘literary’ stories.

Regional winners receive £1,000 and the overall winner receives £5,000 (wow! Some people don’t earn that much from a novel!)

Having said that, it’s worth having a go, right? What have you got to lose? And you’ve got until noon on 4th December to submit your entry on-line.

Have a look at the stories that won last year here. The overall winner, by the way, was Emma Martin’s Two Girls In A Boat, “as it fulfilled the judges’ brief that the winning entry have linguistic flair, originality, depth and daring.”

I haven’t read the others yet (no time!) but I’ve read that story and I liked it. It’s soooo vivid – I could see every scene perfectly. There’s not a word too much and it leaves lots of gaps for the reader to fill. I love the short snappy dialogue, that says so much more than the words that are spoken. Sigh. That’s how to write a short story.

West Country Writers Association Short Story Competition

And here’s a competition specifically for new or novice writers. In order to enter you must “have had no more than two short stories professionally published, or read on mainstream radio” and your story (1200 words max) must include the words AGATHA CHRISTIE at least once. This one closes on 10th December – see here for more details.

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11 Responses to A Little ‘Peak’ For The Spreadsheet…

  1. Patsy says:

    OK, I confess to having a colour coded spreadsheet for my subs.

    Congrats on your TWN sale (we’re going to be issue buddies!) and thanks for the links.

  2. Well done on your Weekly news story Helen, will get that issue and have a read. Your cave sounds more like the Ritz to me, it should be the penthouse suite. Thanks for the links.

  3. Thanks for the links, Helen. Just read Emma Martin’s ‘Two Girls In A Boat’. I’m trying to be inspired by the beauty of it, but a little voice is saying, ‘Why do I bother?’ It’s an exquisite story.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Christine. It is beautifully written – and it reads so effortlessly. I wonder how long it took her to write? Let’s face it, most stories that win short story competitions are not that good, so don’t be disheartened!


  4. Helen, I know that your successes will out-number mine so maybe I should hack into your PC and delete that spreadsheet!

  5. Tracy Fells says:

    I too have a colour coded spreadsheet and a little book in which I take great delight in adding coloured stars to successful stories…sad isn’t it! Thanks for the reminder of the Commonwealth Short Story comp, always worth a go as it’s FREE 🙂

  6. Maggie May says:

    It really does help to have a serious writing friend, and the planning together (whilst scoffing Christmas fare) sounds brilliant. My writing group is very helpful, but most do it as a hobby, and I’m not very good at self motivation. Also, after so many rejections, it does become a bit disheartening. I’m hoping to find my mojo again after Christmas.

  7. KH says:

    I have a colour coded spreadsheet too. My sales colour is yellow because it always feels as if the sun is shining when I receive an acceptance and blue for rejections as that is the way rejections make me feel – blue!

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