Monday, 28 February 2011


Just a quick one to point you to something I think looks ace.

Seems Nicola Morgan has started something with her call for a Complementary (not Alternative, as some places have reported it, including here before I just changed it...) World Book Night - have a look at this article in the Guardian

Friday, 25 February 2011

new project

I've signed up for this: The Fiction Project - it costs $25 to participate - they send you a Moleskine notebook, you fill it, send it back, it becomes part of an exhibition with other completed notebooks, goes on tour across America to selected arts venues, winds up at Brooklyn Art Library. It can be read, 'checked out' by visitors, and if you want to pay the extra $20 it will be digitised for the website, for you, for anyone to view whenever.

I'm really excited about starting, but I have to wait until my unique bar-coded Moleskine arrives. It's coming from the US so I expect it'll be a wee while yet. You pick a theme from a list, the theme acts as your starting point, but you can go anywhere from there. You have until May 1st to send your completed notebook back.

Other stuff...

As hinted at by my previous post, I've been more mindful about how I spend my time this week. After a few days of not getting much done, and not feeling relaxed about it, I took a step back from any ideas about how much writing to do. I've spent less time online and been for more walks, and turned a few corners with projects when I have felt like writing.

One of the things I'm working on is an illustrated story, and this programme on BBC4 is inspiring.
The Beauty of Books - Illustrated Wonderlands.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

step away from the computer

and make youself a writing den.

This is where I am this afternoon.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


Thanks to Jessica Patient for giving me a Stylish Blogger Award. Stylish, eh? Well I have had my hair cut recently into a bob. It's well arty. In accepting I must tell you 7 things about me. A chance to tell you contrived things about myself in order to sound cool/quirky/lovable/soooo unique? Oh, okay!

1. For the past 2 hours or so I've had the Christmas song Phoebe sings to the friends in Friends in my head endlessly. 'Saw Santa Claus, said hello to Ross'. I'd like it to go out of my head now, please.
2. I like Friends. Still.
3. It's on a lot but I still like it.
4. But it might be responsible for people's unrealistic expectations of how friends should behave.
5. It looks like Courtney Cox has been at the botox.
6. I bet they do a reunion episode soon.
7. I didn't plan to just write about Friends, I just didn't fancy doing the 7 things about me thing. I like it when other people do it, and I did it before, here, so I'm not getting all moral or anything.

And now, I'll nominate 7 blogs I think are well worthy of a look-sie.

1. Anna Cathenka for poetry
2. Lies, Ink from successful short story writer Dan Purdue (also has a competitions calendar)
3. The Coward's Journey for a peep into what happens after your novel is accepted by Bloomsbury
4. Fragments and Snapshots for great over-heard bits of conversation
5. Creepy Queery Girl writes with gusto about her quest for the attention of an agent
6. Snow Like Thought inspiring output from writer Rachel
7. The Happy Kimono always features amazing art and photography

Thanks again to Jessica - her writing blog is great too and it is here.

Friday, 11 February 2011

this week I've been:

- learning to tweet. It's weird. For some reason, I'm not getting the hang of it as quickly as I thought I would. I've written a few tweets, mostly in reply to friends I already know, but I don't feel like I'm all cool with it yet. I'm @TeresaStenson if anyone is a comfortable tweeter and wants to say hi.

- riding on the wave of the Willesden Herald shortlisting, a little more than I usually do with an acceptance. Aside from Bridport, it's the most smiley I've been over a 'yes'.

- a butterfly writer, delving into my folders of half-finished stories and seeing what can be shaped up and sent away. And keeping the cogs turning for my illustrated project, doodling and stretching the story in different directions.

- working the day job, as ever, and enjoying it, even the Spanish class I had to notetake in this week. I wish the lecturer had told the class I wasn't a student at the start - would have saved my endless replies of 'Hola, I'm not a student...' every time someone tried to converse with me.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

at last

after a year of rejections I got a hit!

I've been shortlisted for The Willesden Herald short story prize with my story Blue Raincoat.

This acceptance makes me feel especially good because:
- A year!!!
- It's a story I wrote a few years ago that's almost been accepted (shortlisted at Mslexia, highly commended at Aesthetica) but never quite made it.
- And maybe for that reason this feels unexpected.
- And it made me do a little dance when I got the email.

There are 12 shortlisted stories, but the top 3 won't be announced until the prize-giving event of which I know nothing about just yet. I'll keep you posted.

Must say cheers to Vanessa Gebbie for posting a blog about what this prize meant to her just before the closing date. I read her post and entered on a whim.

And well done to the other writers on the list. You can see who they are here.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

February, innit

At the start of January I made a list of what I'd like to get done, writing-wise, in the month. There were four things, and they were these (things):

- story for Mslexia Magazine
- a piece of non-fiction

Continue work on:
- Book project 1
- Book project 2

Check out the colour-code. Green - I did those things. Red - I did not do that thing.

I started the non-fiction piece a few times, but a combination of the subject matter (needed more research than I thought at first) and that it wasn't a priority or deadline-based thing shunted it to the back of the queue. When I considered what I wanted to do this month, the non-fiction piece doesn't feature.

So many things came from my writing time in January that I am happy with. Like:

Book Project 1 soared to new heights with a 500 words per day output for a week or so.
And then it came to an abrupt halt. It didn't feel like it was going the right way. More words, yes, but there are things to do before the words increase any more. Vague, but part of February's writing time will be moving on with this project, and I will be sharing more with you as it develops.

Book Project 2 is the picture book I told you about in my previous post. It is forming nicely, still in its first draft, but edging together. Progress with this project is the priority for February.

I'm not as strict with the no-internet-before-writing pact I made a few weeks ago because I seem to be naturally veering towards 'Word' when I'm at my laptop instead of 'Mozilla'. I am excited about something I found on this blog about Better Writing Habits (thanks Miles). There's a program you can download for $10 that blocks your internet for up to 8 hours at a time (you choose how long you want rid of it). It's called Freedom, here's the link if you want to have a look. Dave Eggers uses it, this is a piece in The Guardian about him and it.

I'm thinking about it - I'd probably just try it for an hour or two at a time and see where it takes me. Or where I take me. It definitely answers my call of 'why can't the internet only come into my house for an hour a day???' which I've been known to wail when I've been more desperate and distracted.