There comes a time in the writing of a novel when my brain begins to disintegrate and I realise I have to stop writing, IMMEDIATELY, because my novel is teetering on the brink of Apocalyptically Shit. This normally happens when I have been writing hard for several weeks without a break.
On Friday last week I knew this time had come because on reviewing the previous paragraph I discovered that I had written the following:
Later on I thought about Julian and Jan Borsos and how uncomfortable it had been at dinner. The issue of Fiona hadn’t been just an elephant in the room, it had been like an elephant corpse with flies darting around over it. Remembering it all, I wanted to run away but I was trapped in a single bed. So I stared at the ceiling and thought some more about Jan Borsos and Julian. And Fiona. And everything. I thought a lot and then I went to sleep. I slept for a few hours and then I woke up. I had toast for breakfast. Also tea.
What a great piece of writing!
Oh God. Help me.
For now I’ve gone back to the beginning to do a bit of editing until my brain is ready to give me paragraphs that do not sound like something from a failed Key Stage Three Creative Writing paper.
And while I take a short break from writing I would like to invite you, dear readers, to take over.
(‘What… your book?’ I hear you say. No. I didn’t mean that. But actually, if anyone wants to, it’s yours. Pop over for a cup of tea and a handover at any time.)
Stop talking about yourself and start talking about the competition.
No, I’m here today to introduce a new writing competition which I’m very excited about and massively honoured to be judging. It’s WRITERSPHERE’S SPRING WRITING COMPETITION.
Basically I think you should enter. I mean, why not? Given that I am capable of writing paragraphs like the above, I’m hardly going to laugh at you.
Writersphere is a yummy website set up by Deborah O’Donaghue who is one of those scary people who are just really talented and creative and who Make Things Happen. In Writersphere she’s created an online writing community where writers can submit short stories for peer review, discuss writing in depth with fellows, review books and take part in writing competitions. And lots of other things too. It’s ‘A writer’s room and beyond.’ Check out the website, it’s lovely.
Writersphere is still young but it’s moving fast and its last writing competition saw an excellent standard of work coming in. It’s time for some more.
Please go to the competition web page for the full details – rules, guidelines, prize info – but, in brief, you are invited to write up to 2000 words on any subject and it must be submitted to Writersphere by midnight on March 31st 2013. All stories will be read by an experienced panel of readers, including me, and I will chose a winner. You could win up to £500 and become a featured author. YESSS!
What am I looking for?
Before writing my first novel I’d never even read chicklit so don’t assume that you’ll need to write something romantic to catch my eye. I’m a very broad reader who’s as comfortable with an obscure historical memoir as I am a silly beach book. I know it’s an over-used and frequently wanky phrase but I’m interested in original voices, not someone trying to write in the style of their favourite author. Trust me, I’ve tried that too. It doesn’t work. I’d just like to read something that feels authentic and natural; not strangled by needless ten syllable adjectives or self-conscious imagery. Although I’m not opposed to ten syllable adjectives. Or imagery. I guess I just feel that in a short story it’s important to exercise great economy of scale. Not to get lost up your own backside, which is what happened to me the first time I wrote a short story. And the second. Possibly the third too.
And on that eloquent note I shall stop telling you what I want to read and let you get on with what you want to write. Because that’s the important thing. It’s your competition, your chance and your lovely, clever, creative mind in play here. I wish you luck and really look forward to reading your entries.
Just Do it, OK?
So, so so many people write to me asking for tips on how to become an author. This is my tip for 2013. Get writing. It’s a manageable chunk and it’ll get you out there. What’s not to love?
I for one salute your bravery and get-up-and-go. See you over at Writersphere soon. X