Thursday, 27 May 2010

Brief bits and Bridport advice

I'm almost half way through an 8-day stint of shifts without a day off. There's nothing like having your writing time restricted to make you want to write... well that's how I feel on my way to work, but on my way home I'm knackered after being on feet and serving people all day/night. If it's a night shift I come home around 12, have a crisp sandwich and watch trashy TV. Then I go to bed and read a page or 2 of something before I drift off until the buzzing in the wall cavity next to my bed wakes me up around 6am and I think, 'oh yeah, that might be a wasp making a nest, I really should call my landlord.'

I can find time to write though, I'm not blaming my not-being-too-productive-right-now on work, it's just a more hectic time than usual.

I finally ordered these 2 books from Salt that I've had my eye on for a while

Words from a Glass Bubble by Vanessa Gebbie and Balancing on the Edge of the World by Elizabeth Baines

When I started reading writer's blogs last year ago these were two of the writers whose books I wanted to read. I also had the good fortune of meeting Vanessa at last year's Bridport prize-giving.

Bridport-speaking, it's almost time for the 2010 deadline on June 30th. I've been getting a few blog visitors who have found me by Googling 'read Bridport Prize winning stories online' and the like. My story is only available in the anthology, which you can order from the website, and I think I'd need permission to reproduce it here.

Although there are some brilliant stories in the collection, I'm not saying you'd have a better chance of winning if you bought it. To give yourself the best chance send your best story. Send the story that speaks to you, the one you loved to write. The one that has all the words spelt correctly. The one you feel close to, happy with, interested in.

Your story will be read by a volunteer first, someone who loves reading and loves stories. They are longing to be captured by your characters. Some of them are reading hundreds of stories each.

Between them, through several stages of readers, they are narrowing down and finding the 80 or so stories that stood out in the thousands (over 6000 last year) that were submitted.

This year Zoe Heller will pick her winners, and 12 or 13 writers will get a phone call in September that will make their face go numb (well that's how it affected me) and they'll suddenly be part of this thing, THE BRIDPORT PRIZE, that some of them have known about for all their writing careers so far, that they might have entered before and never got anywhere near, and it'll be unreal, and brilliant, and scary. Or maybe the scary doesn't come until the prize-giving. And then it soon goes.

So, don't be put off by the numbers. Don't search for other winning stories. Send the one you love, and let it go. Good luck.


Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks - that's really generous advice. I might have a go.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Thank you so much for ordering 'Glass Bubble' I hope you enjoy it. it was good to meet you at the awards day last year, and loads of good luck if you enter this year! Your advice to writers is spot on, ... great post.

Teresa Stenson said...

Hey Rachel - yes, do!

Hi Vanessa - glad you think the advice is okay, as I wrote it I wondered if it was coming out right, but really it's just my experience of getting into the upper reaches of such a big short story prize. In between working and sleeping I've only managed 3/4 of the first story of your collection, I'm liking it and looking forward to reading more tonight.