Forget ‘mellow fruitfulness’, for me, autumn has been a season of ‘near misses’ so far!
I have had two ‘second read’ rejections from Take a Break Fiction Feast. This is basically just a normal rejection with the usual ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter BUT written on the top of my cover page, in pencil are the initials ‘SR’ along with the word count. This means that it was sent to another editor so passed ‘first post’ so to speak! Take a Break are very clear that a rejection is a rejection and that they’re not interested in any re-writes, but have pointed out that ‘second reads’ do mean that the story got close. I’ve been regularly subbing to Take a Break since about March 2011 and this is the furthest I’ve ever got – I’m really pleased with the progress, but just wish I could finally nail something they would like to buy! Both stories are now ‘out there’ with other markets to see how they get on!
Also, I entered the Writers’ Forum fiction competition recently. Incidentally I would highly recommend these comps – they’re always open, if you miss one closing date, you just get entered into the next round, and if you pay £5 extra, you get a really good critique from either Sue Moorcroft or Lorraine Mace – both well known and successful writers. This time my critique was from Lorraine and whilst she enjoyed and commended my story, she did say that I needed to make it more intriguing as the twist was quite easy to guess. She said that if I do manage to fool the reader till the very end, I should have a ‘very good story on my hands’. This was incredibly helpful and encouraging – I’ve tried to make the details more opaque and have entered the story to another competition – fingers crossed! Again, I’m really pleased with the feedback (thank you, Lorraine!), but also wish I could cross that line and write a winning piece first time!
On the plus side though, I received my autumn issue of Scribble magazine the other day from Park Publications They’d published one of my stories in their summer issue and always include some ‘reader feedback’ on the stories which have previously appeared. I was absolutely delighted (and relieved!) to read some lovely comments on my story, ‘A Bit of Jingle Jangle’ :
‘Like the sun appearing briefly from behind a cloud, love shines through.’
‘A Bit of Jingle Jangle started quietly but really came to life when it touched on the breakthrough of communication through the sensuous pleasure of dancing.’
‘Moving with a light touch which made it unsentimental and painfully real.’
A huge thank you to all those who commented. Knowing that my story has been read and enjoyed by people who are not my close friends and family (though this makes me happy too!) is an enormous lift.
‘A Bit of Jingle Jangle’ is currently available to download on the Alfie Dog website, under the different title of ‘Something to Move You’, so if these comments tempt you, please do check it out! (Shameless plug – sorry!!)