Guest post by Carys Bray
I believe the purpose of the guest blog was for the winner to ‘crow about their success,' but I read the other shortlisted stories and consequently know that a chirrup or even a tiny trumpet-toot would be unjustified. Thank you to everyone who voted for me to win. It was very exciting to click on Strictly Writing on 27th May and see my name.
I really enjoy reading this blog. I found Caroline’s recent post ‘Why don’t they just tell us’ especially thought-provoking. I started writing stories in 2008/9 during the final year of my BA. I was a very mature student (I have 4 children and all the commensurate wrinkles). My first few stories were stilted and awkward. I made, and continue to make, lots of mistakes. Caroline said that ‘writing ability is not something that remains fixed from the moment we learn how to hold a pen’ – how I hope she is right! I try and write as often as I can, even if it’s just a few sentences when my children are in bed. I’m operating on the premise that practice makes progress, if not perfection. The more I practise the more mistakes I can see, and I’m hoping that extra practice will allow me to eventually work out how to rectify them!
This year I’ve had the pleasure of working as an intern on the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. It’s been inspiring and humbling to read some of the best short fiction in the UK (including Susannah Rickards’ excellent collection, ‘Hot Kitchen Snow’ which I heartily recommend). I’ve just finished my PhD proposal and I’m beginning to plot and draft my first novel – exciting times. I’m looking forward to continuing to read helpful posts from the regular and guest bloggers at Strictly Writing as I try to stretch myself across a novel-sized narrative and I’m also hoping to have some more success with short stories in the meantime.
If you would like to read some of my older stories you can find one in New Fairy Tales: http://www.newfairytales.co.uk/pages/currentissue.html and another on my blog: http://postnatalconfession.blogspot.com/2011/04/sweet-home.html
Forthcoming stories will be in Black Market Review: http://www.blackmarketreview.com/ in Flax 026: http://www.litfest.org/publications/ and in PoemMemoirStory http://pms-journal.org/
Thank you for the opportunity to post at Strictly Writing and good writing luck to everyone.