Last week I took a slow boat along a lazy river, well sort of. I went on my first ever barge holiday. I was not really convinced it was for me, but I will try anything once! I am after all a five star girl and I was being asked to adopt a one star outlook – not easy!
That said, I agreed, all be it somewhat reluctantly. I blame wine consumption and a happy disposition! Late one evening 6 of us agreed it would be an excellent holiday and we should all go! I put my fear of confined spaces and dodgy toilets to one side and we all signed on the dotted line sometime last September. The deed was done – money exchanged hands – we were going!
So, how did I get on? Well, 6 go barging was never going to be easy lets face it. 6 people in a confined space for 7 days was I admit an eye opener. Would I do it again? emm…. maybe.
There was something almost magical about travelling at 2 mph silently along the river. Life slowed and became almost timeless. Kingfishers, herons, swans and even a terrapin (I kid you not) were our companions. We would ‘barge’ (I’m not sure if that’s the correct term…) for approximately 4 hours each day then moor up. Spending nights moored in the heart of both Bath and Bristol was inspiring. Stepping off of the boat and being in the centre of those beautiful cities was very special.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better it did! As we ‘cruised'(?) from Bristol to Bath and 4G was briefly restored, my phone pinged. In among the Twitter updates and supermarket offers sat a sparkling new email. A story I had written with a nativity theme had been chosen for an anthology. The publisher was asking for me to review and sign the contract and return it as soon as possible.
Well, as you can imagine I was excited, happy, delighted and shocked in equal measure. Getting a contract printed, signed and returned while on a boat with patchy phone coverage was going to be a challenge.
I have always loved libraries and even more so now. I can not thank the wonderful staff at Bath Central Library enough. They helped me to print & scan my contract so I could send it back via email. We are so fortunate to have access to such valuable resources – not to mention the limitless supply of good books.
I shall leave you with a few pictures of our wonderful home on the water and one of the very friendly Swan that adopted us.
This week I have a piece of flash fiction in AdHoc Fictions ebook. Issue 170, the theme is ‘need’. Try and guess which is mine – sorry, I’m not allowed to tell you! Why not pop on over and take a peak? Read and vote for the piece that you like., it really is that easy! Enjoy.
Now in its seventh year, National Flash Fiction Day is dedicated to the celebration of writing in one of its shortest forms (Flash). Flash fiction is usually considered to be a story under a 1000, 500 or 300 words. Anything less is regarded as ‘micro-fiction’ (100 words) or a ‘minisaga’ (50 words).
The roots of flash fiction go back (literally) centuries. In the 1920’s flash was known as ‘the short short story’.
Flash fiction sits perfectly with our crazy busy lifestyles. A 500-word piece can be easily read on the train, bus – in fact anywhere.
The nuts and bolts of what measures up as a piece of Flash Fiction are difficult to pin down, but I’ll give it a go. For me, the art of a good piece of flash fiction lies in what the author does not say. It’s down to you the reader to grasp the meaning and fill in those spaces between the words. It needs to grab you, keep you wondering.
This year I am lucky enough to have my flash fiction ‘Yellow’ feature on the Flash Flood Journal blog in celebration of Flash Fiction Day. Take a peak here
Tomorrow June 16th is National Flash Fiction Day. As part of the celebrations, I have been fortunate enough to have my flash fiction story ‘Yellow‘ selected for inclusion. I shall be featured alongside some fine authors each with a captivating story to tell. For 24 hours from midnight tonight you can read a myriad of fine tales all 500 words or below. My offering ‘Yellow‘ will be up at 05:00 BST. I would love it if you could set your alarm, give it a read and post a comment (I know a big ask but if you don’t ask and all that…). I am in good company, my friends and fellow authors Jane Lomas and Rosie Canning also have their flash pieces included. Rosie’s story ‘The Swimmer’ will be up sometime between 06:00 – 07:00 and Janes story ‘First Love’ will be up at approx.07:12. Whenever you tune in there will be a story to tickle your literary taste buds. Check out all of the wonderful stories from midnight tonight here
So dear readers, here I sit. I ruminate on the fact that another week has passed and the passion for my craft is still there (despite the time challenges I currently face). Twice this week I have had conversations that went something like this.
‘Oh you’ve published a book how exciting’
‘Eh Thank you’
‘I would love to write a book but I just don’t have the time’
‘Neither do I’
‘Yes, but you are obviously good at it’
‘Eh no, just committed (in more ways than one I fear)’
‘Well I couldn’t do it’
And there my friends is the rub. My debut novel All Tomorrow’s Parties did not happen over night. I do not magically have more time than anyone else, no matter how hard I try to defy the rules of time and space (close your eyes tight shut and really really believe). No the difference is I can’t stop doing it, its an addiction, a passion. It is never hard work. Painful? Yes, especially when you sit blankly in front of a bright white screen and time passes and passes, but hard work? No never.
The good news is that book 2 is well on its way. Now at 25,000 words and going like a very well known Japanese train! I’m trying really hard to write something every day. Some days that can be 3 words other days it can be 3,000 but every day it has to be something -emails to friends and family don’t count:( or emoji’s for that matter. Something that has really helped me of late is writing ‘Flash Fiction’. If you are wondering what Flash Fiction is this article in The Guardian sums it up perfectly. David Gaffney is one of the best at writing very good, very short stories. I’ve now written 3 entries of flash fiction, one of which I’m pleased to say made it to the semi finals of a 300 word competition (yea me). It is helping me hone my limited skills. With a limited word count you have to be as creative as you can with not much room for manoeuvre. It’s a challenge, a bit like figuring out a puzzle but I’m loving it and its helping me. I’ll look to post a few of my flash fiction pieces on my blog over the coming weeks and would love to hear what you think.
I may even set up my own Flash Fiction competition but that may have to wait just a wee while……