Back to writing then! I’ve finished my first draft entries for the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction, a micro-entry for the Gotham Writer’s magazine (alas, no Batman) and The Writing Magazine’s February competition – a dialogue only short story – as well as re-reading the 50,000 words of my incomplete novel and finishing up typing up my Doctor Who script. All present very different challenges.

Flash Fiction – for anyone unsure, “Flash Fiction” refers to very short stories. Normally “short stories” tend to be a few thousand words; flash fiction is usually in the low hundreds of words ranging from 100 to 500 words. Beyond that descriptions blur a bit. The competition that I’ve entered allows for 250 words and my first entry uses the whole allowance. I’ve gone for a two-hander; a couple of people sitting across from each other in a room. The view point flicks back and forth and covers both what they’re saying out loud and what they’re thinking. Each time it changes view they’re thinking/saying something very similar (identical at times) to their counterpart. It’s not something I’ve ever tried before and I have a feeling it’s a bit too trite but, if nothing else, it’s exposed me to a new type of writing.

Micro-Fiction – this descriptions makes flash fiction look like Lord of the Rings in length; usually only taking in a dozen or so words, maxing out around the 50 word mark. In this case it’s describing your 2016 in 16 words, and the prize is a writing course from Gotham Writers. Hopefully it’s an online one as it seems their offices are in New York…

Dialogue only story – I’ve gone with an idea that I’ve mentioned before; of a place where language is quite literally a weapon/illness (Cliche Cancer etc.). I showed part of it to a friend who said it reminded him of Douglas Adams. Very high praise indeed. I mean, he could just be being nice…

Novel – re-reading old work is odd. This novel has been sat untouched in several years. You might think it was abandoned for not being good enough but, looking through it again, that’s not the case. You don’t get 50,000 words into something if you think it’s pants. Well, I don’t! So why did it get left behind? Life! Studies, work and starting a family tend to jar things. But it’s got potential. It’s in the conspiracy thriller territory so is an entirely different prospect to dialogue only short stories and micro fiction! All words must count in fiction but you can afford more space for description and other characters than in micro-fiction. In this novel I can have a paintball-assassination attempt and car accidents alongside cryptic conversations and house infiltrations, trips to the future and the past with a smidge of science fiction thrown in. Still, keeps me stretched…

The “commissioned” article is all but done too, as well as my pitch to a travel magazine for an article based on an upcoming trip.

As for copywriting, scripts and the Golden Age mystery competition? Well, I’m only human…

 

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