Tag Archives: writing group

Sharing my story

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I’d expected to be boosted when summer arrived this year but both the weather and the reality were a let down. A gale still blew through the top of my old farmhouse and my novels and novellas weren’t being bought for holiday reading. On top of that, as I now teach dance in a studio on Lampeter University campus, I’m surrounded by students and they were excitedly signing up for new courses.

I’ll admit to a grumpy tearful few days before I had a word with myself and decided to embark on a year of learning that would be appropriate to my homelife and financial situation.

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I was already revisiting short story writing with a writing group The Cwrtnewydd Scribblers, in the next village but needed a boost, a challenge for myself to explore different writing styles and genres. I mentioned this to one of my dancing ladies who had just signed up for an MA in creative writing (having already published her own short stories) and she introduced me to Duotrope. For £3 per month, they provide access to online and paper magazines requesting short stories as well as writing competitions. I decided to invest in myself and dedicate two days each week to writing, editing and submitting short stories.

Some magazines pay a little but most don’t and this bothered me at first. Would my stories be appreciated if they were given for free? What does that say about me as a writer if monetary gain is not important? It means that the reason I write, is to share my stories. Yes, I do want my work to have value and worth but if I share and readers enjoy my stories, that makes me happy. I hope that readers who enjoy a short story will look for more of my work.

My plan was to have ten short stories ‘out there’ at any one time. I started with stories already written and wasted a lot of time with ‘searches’ as they were not genre specific enough so I began writing for requested submissions. Duotrope send a weekly email with useful listings and this is what I work from.

It took two months to achieve my ten story goal and in days I was back to eight so I don’t worry about it any more. Some days I write three stories, other days just one. It doesn’t matter. Every story I write is honing my skills.

I’ve explored horror and fantasy these past months and love the stories produced. A few weeks ago, I attended an afternoon writing workshop about the role of myth, legends and fairy tales in story and began exploring new angles and new ideas in my own writing. As a writer of magical realism, stories about real people, real magic, gods and goddesses, I revisited stories I loved as a child as well as reading legends and myths I was not familiar with.

This week, I had my first short story accepted for publication. I’m looking forward to sharing many more.

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Happy Monday!

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A happy memory of Swanwick for Happy Monday

A happy memory of Swanwick for Happy Monday

Last Monday I was warmly welcomed to the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers and I came back with homework. I’ve penned a short story for the first time in years and thoroughly enjoyed it. We read out our work and in return receive feedback and suggestions. This afternoon, we’re trying a writing exercise I enjoyed at Swanwick Writers Summer School, to keep us writing and focussed. It’s the one where you take it in turns to choose a word through the alphabet and then have 30 minutes to use as many as possible to begin a story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the two years I went to Swanwick. I loved being back in the class room atmosphere with time to do my homework, great people to be around if you wanted to or the lake to sit by for quiet contemplation. I met fellow writers, all on different writing paths and that’s the bliss of summer school or writing groups, people of all ages and occupations, brought together by their passion for writing.

I am very lucky to have a writing group in the next village and I’m excited about this afternoon. I joined the Billericay Writer’s Group, graciously chaired by Ivy Lord, aka Elizabeth Lord, prolific author and wonderful lady. (I loved the Chandelier Ballroom!) I met a diverse mix of authors and poets, sharing their WIP for critique as well as getting updates about successes and rejections but, most importantly, I met my writing buddy and true friend, Peter Jones, whose support and advice, when I wavered and doubted, kept me writing. Every writing group is different, some more formal than others so try them out and find one that suits you.

 

I’m also happy because I’m seeing my daughter today. Her kind and thoughtful boyfriend, knowing she was low, especially after hearing the news of Olly’s passing (our much loved old tabby cat), has booked a hotel close to where we live and is bringing Jasmine to her Mum. There’s homemade chocolate cake in the tin and I’ve pulled the last of our potatoes for dinner. It’s hard to describe how I feel about her being here with me in Wales, even if only for a few days, but I can’t wait to hug her.

My beautiful daughter and I at the Beltane Picnic, another happy memory

My beautiful daughter and I at the Beltane Picnic, another happy memory

Do you get the impression I’m a happy person? I like to think so. I’ve lived with depression all my life but chose not to let it be my life. You can find the strategies, ideas, pictures and focus I use in ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you’ which features in my ***FULL MOON BOOK PROMOTION***, available for 99p/99c for one week only.

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

Have a Happy Monday:-)