Last year, I did a lot of thinking about what to do with my short stories after I have written them. The truth is that I very much like to share them, to put them up on my blog and hope that people will enjoy them and possibly comment. This is a great way of getting some immediate feedback and is very encouraging to me when a story is well received.
However, having eagerly posted my story online I am left with the problem that my lovingly crafted tale is deemed by most competitions to have been published, and the story is then no longer eligible to enter in competitions.
So it was that in November, I decided that I would not post the next few stories I wrote on WordPress, but enter them for competitions, to try and get some idea of whether my work was considered ‘good enough’ to publish.
Around this time, I was told about the Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition, run by the charity, Interact. Interact employ actors to go into hospitals where they read short stories to stroke victims. Research shows that this type of interaction provides welcome stimulation for people who are forced to spend a lot of time in a hospital bed, and actually helps stroke victims to recover faster from the terrible effects of their illness.
Clearly the charity is a very worthy cause and the competition itself has an amazing prize on offer. The winner will receive £1000 for their winning entry, and more incredibly they become ‘Writer in Residence’ for Interact with a commission to write four more stories during the year for use by the charity and publication in their annual anthology.
In early December I eagerly wrote a 1000 word story for this competition and sent it off, unpolished and in something of a hurry, believing that it was the last day to enter the competition. I received an email back a few days later acknowledging my submission and informing me that all entrants to the competition were invited to the awards ceremony, but space was limited and once the tickets were allocated no further spaces would be available.
On a whim, I decided that as the awards were due to take place on a Friday lunchtime in Richmond, near London, I would request two tickets for myself and my wife Loly. I though it would be a nice day out in April and a chance to listen to the three finalists stories and soak up the atmosphere of a real writers event. Who knows? I thought, it might inspire me.
Yesterday, to my great astonishment, I received an email from Helen Daniels at Interact informing me that my story, The Diorama, had made the shortlist and was in the final three! I have to wait now until April 6th to find out how I have done, but truthfully I already feel like a winner, even if I don’t get any further. To know that in a few weeks time I am going to have my story read out to the audience by an actor, I am going to meet the author Margaret Drabble, who is judging the competition and I will receive an award for my humble little story all feels a little bit surreal at the moment!
This is just my humble blog, not an awards ceremony, but you guys won’t be there so I want to say a big thank you here and now to everyone who has ever offered me words of encouragement about my writing, and most especially to my lovely wife for always believing in me; it helps, it really does. 🙂