Showing posts from March, 2012

Every End Has a Start...

Once upon a time there was a writer. He wasn't a best selling writer, or a famous writer, or even a hugely talented but vastly underrated writer. But he did know a few things about structuring a story, and one day the very nice reviewer at Komz Reviews - otherwise known as The Review Girl - asked him to write a guest blog for her website. The result? A blog post about how to begin and end a story, appropriately called 'How to Write Gripping Openings and Endings '. It's quite a gripping read itself, if you like writing. And reading. And discussing story mechanics with examples from classic literature. You can read it by clicking the link above. And this writer then lived happily ever after. With an endless supply of beer. And an Xbox. The end.

I'm A Loser, Baby

Sometimes winning seems like the only goal worth pursuing. Everyone has their own definition of the big win - getting a new contract, receiving an award, winning the lottery - but we're all heading for the same finish line. We're all in it for the win. I therefore take perverse pleasure in announcing my failure to win the New Works Competition at Seattle's Richard Hugo House. Okay, so I'd have preferred to be a winner (wouldn't we all?), but there's some consolation in knowing that you did a good job despite your loser status. My short story 'Bud' made it to the final four of the contest this year, and of that I am unduly proud. I like to think that if the judges had drunk just a few more mojitos before reading it then I might have come out on top. Which also leads me neatly on to the winner, Jeff Bender 's 'The Guard'. Jeff gave a fantastic class on story structure at Write-O-Rama last year, so I've no doubt that the story is a winn

Affection for Line Zero

At the start of January, as we all sat under an icy winter blanket, Seattle-based literary/arts journal Line Zero ran a Flash Fiction contest. The prompt was 'Affection', and writers were given 24 hours to come up with a story that clocked in at under 300 words. Always one to rise to a challenge I sharpened my pencils, started some coffee on the stove, and set about cranking up the creative engine. If you're not familiar with Flash Fiction as a format, then don't be put off by the title - it doesn't involve a soundtrack by Queen, or wearing Spandex pants. The idea is simply to tell your story as concisely as possible, distilling the short story down to a few hundred words. Think of it as an extra-long haiku. If you want to check out a master of the form at work, then get your hands on a copy of Dan Rhodes' Anthropology , 101 stories each told in 101 words (for the UK edition, click here ). I'm pleased to announce that my short short short story 'DSA