Monday, 28 June 2010

What is it with me and 1400 words?

I just got back from a weekend in London where I stayed with my best friend, Claire. The main purpose of the trip was just to spend time with Claire really - we've been friends for about 11 years after meeting in our first year at Uni. We shared a house and a sense of humour, and that's kept us together ever since.

She moved down to London last year so it was really cool to see the life she's carved out for herself there, and catch up over pasta and gin and wine. We spent Saturday at Hampstead Heath, took a swim in the Ladies lake - a totally new experience for me, and once I got over the fact that my feet didn't touch the bottom I quite enjoyed it.

And, I got to meet Claire's new boyfriend, Luigi. Now - here's something brilliant - my boyfriend of over 8 years is called Mario. When I spoke to Claire a couple of months ago and she said she had a date with a guy called Luigi, neither of us 'clicked' for a while, but when we did, it was awesome.

So, I'm feeling totally blissed out after my weekend actually. I think I really needed the break, and the friend-time. I deliberately didn't take any writing to work on while I was there, but continued on with stuff I'm working on today. I really wanted to send something to VS Pritchett Memorial Prize, but the story I thought I'd send isn't ready enough, and won't be by tomorrow (closes Wednesday, but postal entries only).

What I've found unusual about the rules of this comp is that stories must be at least 2000 words, and maybe that's been part of the problem for me. A lot of my stories end around 1400. I don't want to pad something out that works fine at 1400, and, as I mentioned, the new piece is just too much of a first draft right now. I have a good amount of stories out being judged (check out the list in the sidebar) so I'm okay letting this one go.

I've just done something I didn't think I was going to do until a few days ago. I've sent something to this year's Bridport Prize, but to the Flash Fiction Prize rather than the Short Story. I remember at the prize giving last year quite a few of the readers I met asked if I'd enter the 2010 comp and I said I didn't think so, but I accidentally wrote a brand new flash that I liked so I thought 'Why not'. You still have 2 days until all the Bridport deadlines, good luck to anyone entering.

And Bridport related news is that part of the perk of being a prize winner from last year means that my story In a Seaside Cafe has been entered into the BBC National Short Story Award on my behalf, by the publishers of the anthology. That's really cool, and exciting.

I think that's all.

Out of interest, do any of you have a word count that most of your stories hover around, or is it just me?


Jen said...

How funny!!! Mario and Luigi, how perfect is that!!!

I don't have a word count that I end up, so I'm not able to help much there. 1400 words is an interesting place to stop but if it feels right then I suppose it's best to have 1400 and not add extra mumbo jumbo!

Good Luck!

Teresa Stenson said...

Yeah, M&L - pretty perfect. Hi again, Jen. Mumbo jumbo is indeed a big no-no. Thank you for the luck - plenty to you too.