This week I handed in my MA life writing assessment. It was a 6,000 word piece about running the London Marathon. I used the race as the structure of the story, with present tense for the race and past tense for flashbacks to childhood. I wanted to explore the connection between the overweight child I once was and the keen runner I am today. The story also included scenes from the recent past, with the death of my grandfather. It’s been a very emotional piece to write, but I’m really pleased with the end result.
When I finished writing mid-December I had more than 10,000 words. For the past few weeks I’ve been spending my time editing, editing and editing some more.
Deadline day arrived (Wednesday), and I was still editing. I could have gone on forever, but there is a time when enough is enough, plus I needed to submit for the MA. I finally uploaded my submission and pressed send!
On Thursday evening, I turned my attention to short stories. I’ve enrolled on a six-month short story writing course with Comma Press. The course is run by Jude Brown, a Sheffield based short story writer. Jude has won many awards including the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Award, the Fish Microfiction Prize and in 2013 she won a New Writing North Award. Her short stories have been published in a range of anthologies and magazines. She’s also completed the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam.
The short story course is held at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. We meet once a month. The idea is that we’ll get a handle on the predominant narrative structures used by short story writers, so that we can implement them in our own work. At last night’s session we read a couple of short stories and completed some writing exercises. I really enjoyed it. And, we had chocolate biscuits and hot chocolate, which was lovely.
The aim of the course is to complete three short stories to a polished and professional standard. Our homework for this month is to write the first of these. I’ve had an idea for a story for a while, so I was up this morning to start the planning and writing process.
I know it’s only week two of my writing resolutions, but things are going well. In fact, I’m very excited about the way things are progressing.