Wednesday, 5 May 2021

My, it's May!

May already! Perhaps it's just that I'm getting older making it seem like the months are whizzing by, but I like to think it's because I've been busy. The first of my audio books is now available (here's how I achieved that) I have a new short story collection coming out soon, I've written new stories, had some published in magazines, been preparing for a zoom workshop I'm presenting tomorrow, tended my garden, baked and even managed a couple of short trips away in the campervan. 

That's all happened since my last Insecure Writer's Support Group post! And yes, I have felt a little insecure at times, but I've mostly managed to put that aside and keep going. Somehow I got up the nerve to make a cheeky request for promotion in one of the magazines I write for. I didn't get exactly what I asked for, but was offered a nice alternative! The lessons I've learned from this is to have deadlines so there's not much time for anxiety to strike, and if there's something you want to ask nicely and hope that sometimes you might get lucky.

This months optional IWSG question is – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect?  If so, did it surprise you?

When it comes to beta readers / critique partners then, gosh yes! But also, crikey no! I expect to be surprised, as I know not every sentence will be perfectly clear, not every character's action come across exactly as I intended, not every clue, red herring or line of foreshadowing lead readers precisely in the direction I hoped. That's why we invite feedback on our work, isn't it? I've had some brilliant reactions and suggestions which have helped make my work much better than it would otherwise have been.

I used to be surprised sometimes by the reactions of editors. One might reject a story as predictable, the next accept it praising the great twist. The same thing happens with reviews. The characters which some reviewers found delightful, well rounded and completely believable have been described by one person as two dimensional and not worth caring about. The lesson I've learned there is that, as with everything in life, we can't please everyone. I've disliked books which have won awards or been highly praised, so it would be ridiculous to expect every reader to have the same reaction to my work.

Free to enter writing competitions

This competition is for writers aged 12 and under. They're asked for up to 300 words written to a monthly prompt and there are prizes.

Entrants can be a little older, up to 19, for this one. Entrants are asked to complete the story supplied. UK only.

Reedsy have a weekly competition for pieces written to one of the prompts they supply. You don't need to be a child for this one! There's a $50 prize, plus publication. You do need to create an account and sign up for the prompts emails, but that's free and so is entry.

If you're a woman who has written a comedy novel, or even just made a start on one, then this competition might appeal. Prizes include publication with a cash advance.

Womag news

I've updated my submissions database including the addition of the little I know about Woman and Woman's Own. I've requested full guidelines and submission requirements for both of these and Woman's Weekly. 

Here's some useful information about story lengths for The People's Friend. If you pick the right length it just might help your chances of success.


Lindsay said...

It's interesting to read that you (an experienced and well published author) still get such different reactions from editors.

I had some feedback from a beta reader ages ago who read my novel's main character so differently (& much more negatively) to how I intended. Was it my bad writing or just her take? Maybe a bit of both. But today a critiquer in my group who I know doesn't like me much & has been v. critical, gave feedback where she totally 'got' the heart of my WIP (the same novel) and that made me feel a lot better.

Still haven't cracked PF - as we're now able to email I sent off a sub and got rejected in about 5 hours. Oh dear!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your new audio book and stories coming out. Hope your Zoom presentation goes well. It sounds like you've had a very busy, productive month. Email me if you want a shout out in my Follower News.

Marguerite said...

Good to see you are taking the 'if you don't ask, you don't want' line and it's working!Yes, we can't please all of the people all of the time...,. Sometimes I think this story is all about this and the reader then says, I really liked the way it was all about that - so, is it them misfiring or me? As Lindsay said, maybe a mixture.
You have been busy, Patsy! But it's true, time does go faster when you are older ;)

Anne Higa said...

That is so true that you can't please everyone. Congrats on the successes.

Anne from

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, have you been busy! Awesome you have an audio book now. And you can't please everyone - you'd go nuts trying.

Anonymous said...

I agree - time is flying by, and I don't seem to have accomplished much.

You, on the other hand, have really have a lot going on. Congrats on the audio and your new pubs!

Adrienne Reiter said...

Sounds like you're rocking it! Congrats. I never feel like I get enough done, but then I back track and try to stay positive with the, "Look how far I've come." mantra. It's visiting other writer's blogs like yours that keeps me inspired. Happy IWSG Day.

ados123 said...

Thanks for the competitions, Patsy. Congratulations on your audio book.