Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Writing Serials - guest post by Geraldine Ryan

If you're a regular reader of the women's magazines, then the name of Geraldine Ryan will be familiar to you. Geri has had hundreds of stories published, and dozens of serials. She has a large print book just out with Ulverscroft- Leave Over - and unlike the other large print books I've talked about on this blog, this one is not a reprint of a pocket novel. It's two serials, featuring the same central character, republished in one volume.

I know hardly anything about serial writing, and so far have not featured much about it on this blog. So to help advertise Geri's book I asked her to write a guest post about serials. They're more of a challenge than short stories, obviously, but pay well and as Geri's found, you may be able to resell them in book format! Definitely worth a go!

So - over to Geri. There's a competition here too!


The first serial I wrote came as a request from Gaynor Davies, Fiction Editor of Woman’s Weekly. The magazine had published two 6000 word “cosy crime” stories of mine within a period of a year, both featuring the same heroine, DC Casey Clunes. When some seven years ago Gaynor suggested I might try my hand at writing a full-length, 3 or 4 part crime serial I must admit that initially I was thrown into total panic.

First of all I didn’t write crime. Not really. Those two long crime stories had been a bit of a fluke I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to repeat. Second of all she was asking for something in the region of 12500 words (serials were longer in those days) and I was a short story writer! Thirdly she appeared to making noises about sub-plots and cliff-hangers. I didn’t actually say, ‘You’ve got the wrong person, here, Gaynor,’ but it was pretty much what I was thinking. So of course I said yes, I’d have a go.

Casey Clunes has subsequently featured in a total of seven Woman’s Weekly serials. She’s been promoted to DI, got herself a romantic partner, journalist Dom Talbot and become a mum to baby Findlay, while solving a caseload of crimes along the way.

Since that first serial I’ve been lucky enough to have had twenty-one serials
published by Woman’s Weekly, mostly crime. No, I don’t have that number etched on my brain – it’s just that last year a great opportunity arose to sell some of these serials on and it was in my interest to make a tally of them.

On February 1st “Leave Over”, containing the Casey Clunes’ serial of that name alongside “A Tough Workout”, will be published by Ulverscroft Large Print Books Ltd, a non-profit organisation whose books are both for sale and distributed to public libraries throughout the world, bringing the pleasure of reading to millions with failing eyesight.

I wouldn’t have known anything about Ulverscroft had it not been for writer Sally Quilford generously sharing the information that she’d sold on some of her previously published pocket novels to them. I’ve thanked her in private but now I’d like to acknowledge in public how much in her debt I am. Thanks, Sally and I owe you!

Do I have the definitive answer to How To Write A Serial? I wish I could offer you a formula. Damn it if I knew it I wouldn’t have had all those rejections in among the successes! The truth is that no matter how many successful ones I write the process doesn’t get any easier. Just recently for example, with my latest serial, “Breaking The Rules” which also comes out on 1st February, I ended up writing episode one four times before I got it right.

But if I can’t offer you a winning formula maybe I can at least offer you a couple of do’s and don’ts. For instance, don’t expect to get it right first time. Ask yourself, has this idea of mine got legs? Could it hold up for three, four or five episodes of 3400 words each or is it best suited to a one thousand-word “moment in time” story? What about my characters? Are they complex enough to hold the reader’s interest or have I just created stereotypes? And when I write ‘End of Part One’ will anyone care enough to buy next week’s magazine so they can find out what happens next?

Even if your answer to all the above turns out to be yes, don’t start writing too soon. You’ll kick yourself if you find you’ve boxed yourself into a corner round about half way through episode four because you haven’t thought something through or if, towards the end you have a sudden brilliant idea but you can’t use it unless you go right back to the beginning and make some drastic alterations.

Now here’s the biggest don’t. Don’t get precious! You really don’t know better than Gaynor Davies and Diane Kenwood about what Woman’s Weekly readers want. If their criticism hurts try stamping around the house for a bit till your fury wears off but if you want to sell your serial you’ll get straight back to your computer and work on their advice.

Oh, dear, that’s three don’ts. So what about the do’s? The first is common sense, though why they call it common when it’s most uncommon in my experience I’ll never know. I can’t be the only writer who’s taught courses on writing fiction for women’s magazines to get the answer ‘Oh, I never read them’ to the question ‘When did you last read a story in a woman’s magazine?’

So it’s this - do make sure you follow the serials as they’re published, week for week, before you decide to have a go.

And do have a go! You’ll learn masses about pace and plotting as you struggle to squeeze an episode into the 3400-word mould you’ve been given. You’ll find out how to craft characters who are consistent over four episodes and who can all interact convincingly. You’ll struggle with all sorts of technicalities you won’t be able to foresee until you actually start writing. And your writing will improve enormously from the challenge.

*Ulverscroft only want to see previously published (not self-published or manuscript) full-length work – (for their romance series 25,000 –60,000 words and for their mystery series 30,000 – 70,000 words) rather than the short story length.

**To win a copy of “Leave Over’ why not have a go at the following competition – to be judged by Geri. Write the first two hundred words of Episode One of a crime serial in which your sleuth must make an appearance. Please post your entries beneath this blogpost. Deadline: noon 15 February. Winner to be announced a week later.


I've read one or two of Geri's Casey Clunes serials and she has indeed created a memorable character there. So go on - have a go at the competition and who knows, you might even want to carry on beyond the 200 word mark. Guidelines for Woman's Weekly serials are here.

54 comments:

Rena George said...

Thanks Geri and Kath for this great post about writing serials. It's inspired me to have another go. I've had success with pocket novels but getting that acceptance on a WW serial still eludes me.
I've had several attempts. submitting outlines and sample first episodes to Gaynor Davies, and although she was kind enough to write a detailed response and compliment my writing, the plots weren't strong enough to make the grade. But maybe the time has come to try again.
Congratulations on your Ulverscroft book, Geri. That's wonderful. I'll look forward to reading it.
Rena

Patsy said...

Great advice - thanks.

Karen said...

This couldn't have come at a better time, as I too was asked a little while ago if I'd consider writing a serial for WW. I hadn't. I can do short stories and novels, but have never attempted anything in between.

However, I had an idea pop into my head a couple of weeks ago, and was advised to write part one first for feedback, and oh my - the reality has proved far harder than I could have expected!

It's been a real learning curve, especially the 3,300 word count, as even my novel chapters rarely stretch to that length.

However, I've risen to the challenge and have just submitted part one for feedback.

I do hope I get the go ahead to write the rest as I'm all fired up and raring to go now!

Karen said...

I meant to add, congratulations on the publication of Leave Over :o)

Anonymous said...

Really interesting and informative, thanks Geri.

sam

Pat Posner said...

Great post, Geri. I'm about to have an early night with "Breaking the Rules". I bought this week's WW when I saw there was a new serial starting so it was a coincidence to see this post tonight!
Thanks for asking Geri to guest, Kath
Best
Pat
Having trouble posting this - sorry if it appears twice

Diane Fordham said...

What an interesting post - thank you :-)

beverley said...

Thank you both for a really informative, honest post on writing serials for the women's mag market.

There just always seems to be more to learn, more ways to experiment and develop the craft, and more avenues to explore...

Your wise words and experiences have not gone unheeded.

Thanks again.

Geraldine Ryan said...

My last comment didn't appear for some reason. Just wanted to say Good Luck to Karen and Rena and thanks to everyone else for reading and commenting. Hope you enjoyed Part One of "Breaking The Rules", Pat. I certainly enjoyed writing it, despite the four attempts at Part One!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great advice, thanks Geraldine - I enjoy your stories and serials.

SarahE said...

HI Geri - my first 2 attempts flopped! I'm now going to take both my own advice and yours - and read some serials before trying again. I feel I have let Gaynor down by not producing one. Your post has come at exactly the right time. Many thanks! Sarah x

jaylen watkins said...

Geraldine Ryan is really pretty familiar name in magazine world.

sample questionnaire

Pat Posner said...

Just a note about WW guidelines: The word count for serials is now 3,300 words per episode (3 or 4 parts).

Geri
I really enjoyed Part One of "Breaking the Rules". Great cliff hanger at the end!

Geraldine Ryan said...

Pat, the number of words per serial part seems to go down all the time! How come I've been writing 3400 for the last few I've done? Presumably Gaynor has been shaving one hundred off per episode!

Geraldine Ryan said...

Meant to add, thanks Pat and Rosemary and hope you get back on your horse soon Sarah! It's disappointing when an idea you've spent a long time thinking about doesn't get accepted, I know! I think you have to look at it the same way people who write for films and radio and TV do. They pitch several ideas because they can't guarantee any of them will be picked up. If you can get one out of four taken up you're doing OK.

Pat Posner said...

Hmm, good question, Geri!
Gaynor sent me serial guidelines last July - word count said 3,300.
On the WW page at Good to Know it said 3,800 words. So... I asked there which was right and Clare replied with 3,300 and it was changed to that on the GTK page.
Maybe you get more words cos you're a known name!

Geraldine Ryan said...

I don't think so, Pat!

Lydia said...

Interesting post - thanks Geri and good luck with the book. I've tried unsuccessfully with WW serials but want to have another go this year - so thanks for the tips.

Linda Gruchy said...

Thanks for this. Much appreciated and congrats in the Ulverscroft book.

Kath said...

Thanks for a really interesting post, Geraldine. I loved the Casey Clunes serials and can't wait to read the second instalment of breaking the rules.

Sue Barton said...

How do I post my 200 words please? I am new to blogging and not sure what to do

Geraldine Ryan said...

Sue you can just write your entry below where it says "Leave Your Comment" and post as you would a normal reply.

Carolb said...

Really interesting post and useful advice, thank you Geraldine.

Meg said...

Thank you for this post - so useful. I thought I'd give the competition a go, so here is my 200 words. In case it's not too obvious, the sleuth will be Freya, who runs a seaside guest house.


‘Poppy, the alarm - do something,dear,’ Freya shouted as loudly as she could over the top of the shrieking fire alarm. The noise was making her ears ring and she vainly tried to cover an ear with one hand while turning bacon in the frying pan with the other. The fat spat up at her leaving small burns on the back of her hand. At least, for a second, she was distracted from the toothache.
‘There was no need to shout. Amazingly, I can hear it, mother.’ Persephone, who was always called Poppy, ran in, deftly grabbed a wooden spoon and stretched up to the alarm. There was a blessed silence. She opened the kitchen window to let out the smoke and the November sea fret billowed in.
Freya sighed, put the bacon in the oven to keep warm and began cooking more rashers.
‘Two more full Englishes, Freya.’ Rebecca returned from the dining room and put her order pad and pencil on the table. She looked at her reflection in the door of the microwave and pushed her hair behind her ears.
‘Only four altogether?’ Freya queried.
‘Mrs Grantham wants toast and Mrs Chadwick is having a tiny bowl of cereal. She has to watch her figure, apparently.’

Geraldine Ryan said...

Intriguing, Meg! Come on the rest of you!

Rena George said...

Hi Geri,
This is my competition entry...

Loveday Ross was in high spirits as she ran down the stairs out of the magazine office and into Lemon Street. The July edition of ‘Cornish Folk’ had just been put to bed and her team had done another great job. It was a good feeling knowing that it was with their publishers. Traditionally they all went to the pub on the day the magazine was finished, but this time she wasn’t joining the others. She was so fired up by what she knew would be a great edition that she needed to keep the momentum alive.
“You’re surely not driving down there now?” Keri Godden’s voice had risen in disbelief on realising that her boss was going off on her own - again - to meet with a complete stranger. Keri was Loveday’s PA, occasional feature writer, and one of her best friends. “Couldn’t you have put her off until tomorrow?”
But Loveday shook her head, grinning. “Strike while the iron’s hot,” she laughed. “Besides, I’m intrigued. This woman is a wedding planner with her own 16th century pub tucked away in one of those remote, romantic coves.”
“So she says,” Keri scoffed. “You only have her word for that.”

Geraldine Ryan said...

I really want to know more, Rena!

womagwriter said...

Meg and Rena - both great starts, hope you will go ahead with these serials!

Pat Posner said...

Hi, Geri
Here's my 200 words:

From inside a hollow tree trunk, her hideout for badger watching, Cora Clutterbuck strained her eyes towards the five-barred gate and listened anxiously. From what she’d already overheard, she knew which man was Geoffrey and which was Nev.

Maybe the donkeys sensed that there was something not very nice about them because Bray and Blare, usually sociable (and greedy), wouldn’t go anywhere near the gate.

The top of Geoffrey’s head glowed like a pink balloon in the moonlight. ‘We’ve never had this problem with donkeys before. We’ve offered them carrots whole and carrots sliced up, apples and ginger biscuits. Yesterday we tried waffles, tonight – ’

Nev thumped the gate. ‘I can’t believe I let you talk me into pulling up thistles and putting them in a pile in the field.’

‘There’s a storybook donkey that eats thistles. It was worth trying, Nev.’

‘They probably only eat them when they’re growing in the ground.’

‘You’d better think of something for tomorrow then,’ Geoffrey snapped. ‘We’ve no time to try anything else now. But if we don’t deliver these donkeys on Saturday night, it will be us in the ground. Six foot under. Dead and buried. Never to be seen again.’

Meg said...

May I ask about submissions to WW for a serial? I'm OK with the word count, but is it correct to submit the first episode and a synopsis of the story? Would you need more than this? I don't believe it's actually mentioned in the guidelines.

Alison said...

Thanks for the post. Here's my entry...

When Caroline broke into Edna’s house to replace the envelope of stolen money the last thing she expected to find was a corpse.

She froze, although wedged in the tiny window of the toilet, she couldn’t move much anyway.

The man slumped on the toilet, his legs splayed out as if he had fallen asleep. He wore pyjamas: beige, with racing green stripes.

She repressed a shudder at the dark slash across his throat. “Pull yourself together,” she told herself. “Not the first time you’ve seen a dead man.”

No blood, she thought, glancing around the spotless bathroom. None on his pyjamas either.

She supposed she should have been relieved the scene wasn’t more gruesome, but instead the lack of blood felt like a speck of grit caught in her eye.

And who had killed him? Had it been Edna?

She couldn’t picture her frail, elderly neighbour as a murderer, but she had always felt something wasn’t quite right with the woman. Caroline pictured Edna’s fingers, swollen and knotted with arthritis.

No, the woman could barely pour herself a cup of tea, let alone kill a man.

But then who had? And was that person still in the house?

Maisie said...

I love Geraldine Ryan's serials in Woman's Weekly. Here's my post:

Finding a dead body in her rosebush wasn’t exactly the sort of homecoming Camilla Fitzgerald had envisaged.

“You’ve only been back in Little Chomley for five minutes and you’re already causing trouble.” She heard a gruff voice mutter behind her.

Camilla’s shoulders tensed as she was suddenly assailed by the barrage of memories which that deep husky voice had awakened. It had been twenty years since she’d last heard that voice. Twenty long years where she had thought about the owner of that voice every single bloody day.

Camilla turned round and was greeted by a pair of roguish blue eyes. In his long black overcoat, navy blue suit and battered black shoes, Graham Huxtable was far removed from the reckless leather clad biker she had fallen in love with as a schoolgirl, but that mischievous twinkle was still there – and it still had the power to reduce her legs to jelly.

Camilla swallowed the lump which had risen in her throat and in her plummiest voice said, “Surely, Constable Huxtable you don’t think that this has anything to do with me?”

Graham smiled. “It’s Inspector Huxtable, actually. And the body over there belongs to your ex-husband.”

Julie said...

I really enjoyed this article. Here's my entry -

Dropping her keys on the ground, Lexi Green sighed. She always seemed to be juggling a dozen things at once, whilst trying to get her bookshop closed. It was getting old.
Scrambling around on the ground, she retrieved her errant keys, stood up and tugged the handle to be sure it was locked. Satisfied, she turned and made her way to the back of the building.
The small lane down the side of ‘The Perfect Page’ bookshop led round to a shady car park where Lexi left her little Peugeot. There were no other cars or people in sight. Just her cute red car and the monstrous rubbish bin she’d stupidly parked beside.
Keys tightly in hand this time, Lexi pressed the button on the little gizmo. There was a clicking noise and the lights flashed, the car was unlocked.
It was cold, so Lexi hurried over to the car. She opened the door and went to climb inside when an unpleasant smell assaulted her senses.
Turning, she noticed the industrial sized rubbish bin wasn’t quite closed properly. She took a step closer. Something was obstructing it. Something was sticking out of the side of the bin. Something pink and squishy. Something that looked a lot like a human hand...

Geraldine Ryan said...

Meg, a synopsis and first episode would be enough. I wouldn't make your synopsis too long as I think it's difficult to get a flavour of the writing from the bare bones of the story. Good luck!

Thanks for the entries, girls and for the kind comments from everyone if I've not said thanks before. Some lovely humour mixed with gruesomness! Is that even a word? My spell checker thinks not!

Sue Barton said...

Thanks for this great post. Here are my 200 words:

Her flashing eyes scanned the row of documents quickly, searching earnestly for the correct file, hoping that it was still there. Her deft hands moved gently, but swiftly, across the discoloured pages, separating and searching, noting and disregarding the titles. Then, finding what she was looking for, she extracted it from the shelf, and, blowing the dust off the faded cardboard cover, she held it gently and protectively in her hands as the lump formed in her throat. “Now for the truth”, she whispered to herself. When the dust finally settled she could clearly see the faded embossed emblem on the front of the folder; and she recognised it immediately. She let her long, tapered fingers lovingly trace the irregular bumps, which would have once been bright and golden in colour but were now dull and lacklustre. Then her gaze focused on the words, so faint after all this time that they were just barely legible to the naked eye. She let out a long, unsteady breath, a sigh of utter relief, which whistled between her perfect pearly teeth. It seemed that, at long last, and against all the odds, she had finally fulfilled the quest she had been set.

Anonymous said...

Well done on your success, Geri and well done to all the writers who have posted the beginning of their stories for your competition. Every one of the stories here made me want to read on. They're all great.

JulieSmith said...

Here's my 200 words. :)

The fog was dense in London on a november night in 1920. The horse and carriage drove through the midnight streets. As it passed the large houses the only lights to be seen where those in the basements of the servants quaters. The coach slowly came to a halt. A policeman opened the carriage doors.
"The body's inside sir."
"Its madam actually." A voice inside the carriage replied.
"Beg your pardon madam," the police man mumbled as he held out his hand to assist the woman down the step of the carriage. The police man stared at her. A tall slim girl, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and shiny laced up shoes. Her jet black hair was tied back into a tidy bun on the back of her head and she wore a flat cap. The womans face was made up and she had a flawless beauty. She lit a cigarette as she stood and surveyed the area and the building infront of her, which was a large house with steps leading up to the front door. She followed the sargeant up the steps to the open door, she turned to throw the unfinished cigarette away.

Julie.

womagwriter said...

Ooh, I'm loving these latest entries for the competition! Glad it's Geri who's judging and not me. JulieSmith - I especially love your 1920s female sleuth. Keep 'em coming, folks!

Geraldine Ryan said...

They're great aren't they! I've got some serious competition here! Keep 'em coming, like Womag says.

Otternator said...

Here's my attempt:

My usual routine was rudely interrupted by the presence of a single white piece of paper on the kitchen table. I stopped, jacket half-off, satchel slipping off my shoulder, and picked it up. ‘Michael,’ it read. ‘I have taken what you love most. You have 24 hours to find her before the tank begins to fill with deadly fumes.’ At the bottom, more hastily scrawled, the writer had added an additional line - ‘also, please buy milk.’
I sighed and allowed my satchel to fall to the floor with a muted thud. Stupid flatmate and his stupid obsession with riddles. I refused to let myself be pulled into this. I had managed to resist so far, even during what I now referred to in my head as the Great Toilet Paper Debacle of 2011. But still, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of curiosity. What would I miss most? The teapot, maybe, but I could plainly see it was still sitting innocently next to the toaster. Hmm. The cat? No, I could hear her scratching the arm of the sofa in the next room. It hit me like a punch to the heart “My god,” I croaked, hardly able to believe his audacity. “He’s a dead man if he’s taken my guitar.”

Meg said...

Hope you don't mind me asking another question, Geraldine. I'm sure I've read somewhere that it's better just to write the first episode of a serial, submit it, then see if it's accepted before writing the rest. The reason given was that changes may need to be made as you go along and each episode will have to be accepted, in turn, by the editor. Do you think it's advisable to do this? Or it is better to have finished the whole story before submitting the first episode?

Geraldine Ryan said...

Meg, I never write the whole thing without waiting for feedback as I go along. It would be a huge risk! First of all I test the waters by enquiring if there has been a serial on this theme or in this setting before, then I write a first episode, which I submit and wait for feedback on. I only go forward with each episode when I've had feedback on the previous one. Think about it, you could be spending a couple of months - unpaid! - writing a four-parter only to submit it and be told, oh, I'm sorry but this is too similar to one we published last year.

A brief synopsis before you even start writing is requested, I think, though once you've had a serial accepted Gaynor is always happy to go along with your own preferred writing method. (For instance I'm not very good at writing synopses as I never really know where I'm going till I start writing.) Hope this is helpful.

Thanks everyone for the fab entries. There's still a few days left!

Alice said...

Thank you for an excellent post and a great competiton. Here's my entry:


The ocean had turned angry; grey waves were hitting out against the darkening sky. Elsie Swift buttoned her coat up right to the collar. It was time to head home.

She thought back to the newspaper article ‘We hear of local’s anguish as police close the case.’ Elsie had come here to rest, yet a teenage girl was missing. Someone needed to act.

Retiring to Fibross, a fishing village in North West Scotland was something Elsie had been planning for about twenty years. ‘Space, time and the sea,’ she’d promised herself as she sorted through the tangled labyrinth of other people’s lives as a Social Worker for Manchester Council.

With a fire lit and Angus, a rescue Labrador from Inverness, settled at her feet, Elsie read the article again. ‘Taking a break in her studies, Joanna Phelps went for a stroll along Fibross beach. She was never seen again. A trail which led as far as New York has recently gone cold.’

‘I’m sure the answer lies closer to home’ thought Elsie. ‘And as an outsider here, I might just be able to figure it out.'

Like it or not, she was involved, and had entered that labyrinth yet again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for the great post about writing serials. Here is my entry:

“Where did you find that?” Sandy Green prised open the chubby fingers of her son, Toby and released a dainty cameo brooch. On the back were the engraved initials BS. Someone must have dropped it she thought as Toby had only toddled a few feet from her as she waved goodbye to his sister, Lucy at the school gates.
Could it belong to Belinda Smytheson the rector's wife and chair of the WI? As she turned the buggy to head for home she spotted a handbag by the gate. The brown leather bag had spilled open. Sandy picked up the contents; a small coin purse, a door key and a torn piece of paper showing the words, 'I warned you not to tell.’
"I think we'd better take this to Daddy straight away.” Setting off at a brisk pace she headed towards the high street where her husband, Tony was based as the village bobby. Sandy spotted the rector’s wife at her front door and called out, “Mrs Smytheson, does this bag belongs to you!”
A look of horror spread over the woman’s tearstained face before she slammed the door shut.
“Toby, I do believe Mrs Smytheson needs our help!”

Elaine Everest.

sallyjenkins said...

Thanks for an interesting post and here's my entry:

The door had been forced – fragments of wood lay scattered on the flagstones around Catherine’s trainers. Gingerly she stepped inside. Before her the spiral staircase wound its silent way up the church tower. She pushed down her anorak hood so that her hearing wasn’t impaired and started to climb, stopping every so often to listen. She cocked her head and held the rope hand-rest, which snaked up the outer edge of the spiral, but she heard nothing.
Maybe she should’ve waited for one of the men to arrive before investigating but, as Tower Captain, Catherine felt responsible for whatever had happened here. Besides, if she stood wimp-like at the bottom, the opponents to her captaincy would delight in saying, ‘I told you a 30-year-old woman couldn’t take charge of a ringing chamber.’
The silence was unbroken but the trapdoor above the final step stood open. Stepping into the chamber, Catherine automatically lifted her arm to move the treble bell’s rope out of the way. This time her outstretched hand touched nothing. Looking up she saw that all the ropes had been severed immediately above the green fluffy sallies and these lay on the linoleum floor, chopped savagely to pieces.

Geraldine Ryan said...

One more day left before this competition closes! Thanks for the entries so far - all provide food for thought!

Stevie Carroll said...

There've been some great entries, although I'm not sure mine ever showed up. Blogger sent me a notification that it had, but I can't see it here.

Ah, well, the original post and the other entires have given me lots to think about, so thanks for that.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Stevie, do try to submit it again. There can be occasional blips.

Stevie Carroll said...

Thanks, Geraldine. Here goes...

"If he bitches about the script one more time, I swear I'm going to kill him!” Susan threw her bag across the room, and it hit the sofa with a satisfying thud. Resting one hand on the door frame, she removed her shoes, but resisted the temptation to send them flying after the bag.

“Bad day at the office?” Taj slid his hands around her waist, and nestled his head against her shoulder. “Let's run away together, and forget this petty work nonsense.”

“Want to trade?” Susan clasped his brown fingers in her lily-white ones, and leaned back into his embrace. "I'll keep your programmers in line, and you can listen to Larry's bitching whenever anyone gets more lines than he does.”

“Any news on when they're killing him off yet?”

“That's still an unconfirmed rumour.” Pulling away from her husband, Susan crossed to their much-abused sofa. When Larry finally left the show she'd order a new suite; without that annoyance she'd have no need to take her anger out on defenceless furniture.

“A rumour that's been trending everywhere today.” Taj took two wine glasses out of the cabinet. “You haven't said anything to the press, have you?”

Thanks also for giving me an incentive to revisit a long-stalled story.

Geraldine Ryan said...

The competition is now closed. The winner will be announced over the weekend. Thank you very much for your splendid first paragraphs.

womagwriter said...

I make that 13 entries which is good going! Don't envy Geri having to judge them as I think they're all brilliant.

Thanks to all for supporting this little comp. Results will be posted next Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Kath and Geri for organising the competition. I have been so engrossed in feature writing and my weekly dog column that I had 'lost the plot' with my fiction. Any spare time has been spent on my novel (still a work in progress).
Your comp got me going again!

Elaine Everest

Geraldine Ryan said...

That's great to hear, Elaine! Sometimes you just need a nudge, don't you!

Can I just add a **STOP PRESS**

There was a bit of miscommunication between Womag and me about the date when the winner would be announced. As Womag can only post this coming Wednesday and since a winner always deserves a fanfare and not just a mention at the bottom of a very long post we're going to have to hold back from an announcement until then. Apologies if you were expecting to get the result today!

Sonia Jackson said...

Those are some wise words to consider. Will take this into consideration to create a sound character for a new serial.