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.
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.