Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Bit Fishy

Oddly, a lot of my recent stories have a fish in them. I have no idea why. My middle daughter is sketching a lot of fish for her GCSE art coursework. I think we must have cast our nets into the same pond. She's drawing them and I'm writing about them. I had to buy her a fresh sea-bream, which she dissected all over the kitchen table, and then drew it. The remains are now in the freezer in case she needs to capture it again. When my youngest daughter sat down for tea, I heard a cry of "OMG, there are fish guts all over the table!"

I had a new idea for a story while I was cooking today's dinner and, believe it or not, there is a fish-theme again. So I think I might put them all into a collection at some point. I like the idea of a group of stories with a link. I have always wanted to extract a character out of one story into the next, and then yet another from that one, so there is cohesion, but without one story being dependent on another. That could be my next move before I try writing a novel in the New Year.

I'm so pleased that 50 Stories For Pakistan is on sale now. All the money goes to help the victims of the floods and is available from

I'm also very pleased to be in the shortlist for the Bridport Prize. I was in the final one hundred out of 6,000 entries. So I'm quite pleased. I didn't get placed in the top thirteen who won prizes (congratulations to all those writers), but that story can now travel with confidence to a new destination. And there were no fish in that one.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Six Things About My Writing

Thank you to my lovely friend Joanne Fox for the Sweet Friends Award she has given me. I feel very happy about it and accept it with these six facts about my writing:

1) I sit, hunched like a witch (I have the big nose and long messy hair too), with bowls of cereal over my keyboard, frowning and screwing up my hopeless, short-sighted eyes.
2) I get frightened of my spreading backside, causing me to leap up now and again to do exercises from an ancient Claudia Schiffer keep-fit video. (I don't mean Claudia Schiffer is ancient. I love her for trying to help my hips.)
3) I write humorous stories when I'm low and dark ones when I'm happy.
4) I punch the air, slap the table, jump about and shout 'Yes, Yes!' when I get an acceptance or see my name on a shortlist, longlist or any sort of list. (This is embarrassing if a passer-by looks in the kitchen window at the time. Especially the time I danced to Honky Tonk Women.)
5) I've grown to like rejections. (This is untrue. But I try to see the positive side. And, almost always, I can see why they didn't make it. Eventually.)
6) I keep using favourite words in my stories, e.g. vanish, spread, slither and scarlet.

Thank you Joanne. I'm ready for a day's writing now. I'll just go and get the Special K first...