Friday, 6 March 2009

A busy week...

Crumbs, it really is ages since I last blogged! Apologies, patient readers.

Truth to tell, I have been a bit busy. What with deadlines (all on the same day) for a magazine article, an Open University assignment and the Ministry of Defence OK for an article about one of its ships, not to mention ongoing research for my book, editing the next edition of The Woman Writer and meeting my History Press commissioning editor at the BBC Who Do You Think You Are Show in Olympia, it has been a bit hectic lately.

Things have not let up either. Yesterday it was my privilege to join other Society of Women Writers and Journalists members at the South East Regional Meeting in Chichester. The lovely Joan Moules hosted and Iain Pattison, author, journalist and creative writing tutor, was the guest speaker.

Iain spoke about trends in the short story. We now know, amongst other pearls of wisdom, that in order to succeed we need to be a mass murderer, able to knock off, assassinate or otherwise kill off our hapless victims in ingenious ways, before the reader falls asleep reading, or even worse, turning the page! Entering a rejected story, originally written for a magazine, to a competition is like, 'sending your Maiden Aunt to a sex party.' Unthinkable. The hero must be a babe magnet and, ideally, there must be no more than three characters to the story. Phew! We already knew that short story writing is the most difficult genre to tackle, but now we know why.

Listening to Iain talk is fun, interactive and interesting. He speaks well and judges his audience to a nicety. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him and I know that my sentiments were echoed about the room.

So, what is next for me? An Open University Creative Writing Day School at the University of Westminster tomorrow. That should be fun!

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