Ruth Rendell Short Story Award – Top Three
It’s been a bitter/sweet few weeks for this old farm girl!
I found out a week before my mother passed away (last blog post) that I had been shortlisted in the top three of the Ruth Rendell short story award and was invited to the Hampstead Theatre in London for the awards event. The judge was the lovely and talented Lynda La Plante and the award only occurs every two years, but (naturally) my place was by my mother’s side where I stayed until the end. When I told her I had been shortlisted she was over the moon (she was my biggest fan and absolutely loved Baroness Ruth Rendell).
The story I wrote is called Pocketful of Posies and is the first story I’ve written in four years. I had been suffering a chronic bout of writer’s block (or just pure laziness), but when this one came up I just couldn’t resist putting pen to paper. I think we all need a little nudge sometimes – and this was my nudge! As it turns out I came third and am deeply honoured to be part of Ruth Rendell’s wonderful legacy.
Ever since writing this story I have had two more in my head fighting their way to the surface. So I’m hoping to have two novels written by the end of the year (I said hoping).
My forte is short stories. When I start a novel I want to cut to the chase immediately, no superfluous rubbish, loads of movement and action and then – The End. Unfortunately, this mode of writing isn’t the ideal for novels. I feel like the European tourist when they first land in Australia when I start writing a novel. This land is so BIG, there is far too much SPACE to work in and I feel agoraphobic!
When writing a novel I need to describe a character slowly instead of the short, sharp, punch approach. I need to dig deep into their lives, breathe their air, walk in their footsteps and feel their heartbeat for months on end. By the time I’m finished with a character they become part of my extended family and I often feel like talking about them with friends as if we all know them personally.
I’ve been called an unconventional writer because I actually only write when I feel like writing. This goes against everything we ever read about being a real writer. Apparently we’re supposed to force ourselves to write every day. I can’t do this because I don’t feel like writing every day. I write when the moment takes me and not a moment sooner – but I’m very glad I decided to write this story for such a great competition 🙂
I have another nest of Red Finches ready to take flight so I’m hoping to have some photos for you very soon.
***Have a great week!***