Wednesday, 2 November 2016


Autumn.  The end of the year is approaching. The days are shortening, the leaves are falling, the birds are stocking up for the winter.  I haven’t progressed very far with my nature diary – no further than the extract below, in fact… just as I haven’t posted any new blogs.  But I like to think it’s for a good reason.  I’ve been concentrating on my fiction writing, and have written a new short story every month, as well as starting a new novel.  I’ve also been submitting regularly to a variety of journals, and have succeeded in being published in five – something I’m more than happy with.

(photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

In between all these, I was a runner-up in the Cinnamon short story prize;  long-listed for the Sean O’Faolain; short-listed in the Over the Edge New Writer, and for the PENfro first chapter competition. And one of my ‘folktales’ is Seren Press’s Story of the Month right now (see their website!). So, all in all, it’s been a rewarding writing year.

For my publication in ‘The Lonely Crowd’ I was asked by the editor, John Lavin, to provide ‘Author’s notes’, outlining how I had come to write the story.  Those notes began and ended as follows:

‘I was supposed to be writing about a shooting.  A man and a woman, alone in a room; a gun. The gun is fired. … (But) for some reason, I couldn’t find my way into the tale.  I kept on changing my mind.  I couldn’t find my ‘voice’.  In the end, I put the story back into my ‘resting’ drawer, dissatisfied with it and myself….
… Writing this piece has reminded me of my original story idea, and I’ve been looking at it again. There are a lot of notes, and two different outlines… or three.  None of it is as bad as I thought, but I’m seeing quite a different angle now.  Something I like the idea of, making me think there’s definite potential for another story. Which shows, I like to think, as I’ve said elsewhere, that nothing you write is ever wasted.’

Well, I wrote that other story, and it’s the one published in ‘The Next Review’  – something I’m particularly pleased about, because it proves that there might be some truth in what I’ve always, rather uncertainly, believed.