cimg0101This hasn’t been a particularly dazzling year for my writing. A short story that I dared to think promising hasn’t been placed, despite being entered in two separate competitions. The best it could do was to scrape onto a shortlist in Writer’s Forum.  Another competition entry – to the Flash 500 Novel Opening Competition, run by Crooked Cat Publications – made it onto their long list, but subsequently failed to reach the short list.

This is sadly familiar territory, but following the advice of the eminently sensible Christopher Fielden  (to grab whatever advice on your writing that you can) I took up the offer of a critique offered as an optional extra with Flash 500 – and was SO glad I did so. Lorraine Mace not only gave me valuable advice about my sadly inept synopsis, but said some incredibly positive things about the opening of my novel, remarking that if she’d browsed through my first pages in a bookshop, she’d have been at the till buying the book! I seriously think I’d rather have that comment of hers than the £500 earmarked for the winner.

Her words of encouragement will certainly keep me going. The short story will be dusted off and sent elsewhere, and the 80,000-words that I’ve completed of the novel should have edged up to my target of 95,000-words by Christmas. I will also work on improving those opening pages until a whole panel of judges are impressed by them, rather than a single reader.

Rejection? Just another step on the way to publication.