My first competition

I recently entered a writing competition, held by my local writing group.

The brief was to write a ghost story of 1,000 words. I must admit, short stories are not my forte, and I’ve never written (or indeed read) a ghost story. But an idea popped unbidden into my head, and I thought, “what’s the harm in entering”? I’d never entered a writing competition before but writing to a brief was good fun.

Last night was our Christmas Social, where the winners were announced. And I’m extremely proud to reveal that I came in second. There were 15 entries, I believe, and the judge commended the high quality of the writing across the board.

I wanted to share the feedback I got, because I’m extremely excited to have placed in the competition, and to have received such positive comments from the judge.

“Very different to the winner, and only very narrowly placed second, ‘Nine’ gives us a dark little glimpse into the aftermath of a serial killer’s actions.  This original and deeply unsettling story forces us to pay attention, to pick up on the clues scattered throughout and to piece together what’s happening, and is extremely cleverly constructed. 

“I particularly liked the opening line, and it missed out on first place only because in places the language could have been tighter and more polished, which would have had the effect of throwing the ending into even sharper focus.”

I’m delighted with the feedback and have already gone back to the story to see where I can apply it, to learn and improve my skills as a writer.

Making Progress

I’ve been quiet on here of late because I’ve been hard at work increasing my book’s wordcount.

I’m now up to over 61,000 words, which feels like a lot but I know I still have a long way to go before I finish – especially as I still haven’t finished the travelling I need to do!

I still have a couple of countries to write before I reach the end of the trips I’ve taken so far, and a lot further to go with my 3-month expedition to Australia, but here are some of the sections I’ve written of late:

  • Watching whales off the coast of the Whitsunday Islands in Australia before spending the evening stargazing with a Celestial Navigator
  • Escaping from cockroaches in Venezuela (ok, it was only one cockroach, but it was huge)
  • My dad getting drunk in Menorca and instigating a Pied-Piper Conga situation to the delight of children and irritation of adults
  • Unexpectedly swimming with a giant sea turtle in Egypt while out for a quiet snorkel
  • Kayaking in the Norwegian Fjords and being surprised by how cold the water was, because sometimes I haven’t got as much common sense as I’d like to think.

Starting this book has given me the opportunity to reminisce with friends and family about some wonderful memories, as well as the chance to reflect on how lucky I am to have seen so much of the world already.

I can’t wait to plan my next trip, but first, back to the keyboard…