Thursday, 21 March 2013

Reducing the Death Count

I just submitted a story that I've been working on for weeks. I have no idea if it's any good or not and will only know if a) the person I've submitted it to says they like it or b) I squirrel it away on the laptop and revisit it nervously in the future. It's a bit of a thoughtful one... a puzzle that doesn't just unravel for the reader; it needs a bit of mental tweaking to get to the heart of it. I like stories that require a tweak to fully reveal themselves.

But I also like stories that fall beautifully open in your hands like an advert-ready Terry's Chocolate Orange. I've been working concurrently on one of those. They are a delightful treat to write, and read. It is for Woman's Weekly who are an utter joy to work with. This type of story is not easy to write - it has to feel true, has to have sincerity, depth and a heart that the reader will relate to, but must be accessible at their point of need. Reading the magazine is their indulgence, perhaps the small portion of time they have carved out of a busy week to relax. Or the five minutes grabbed between meetings / appointments / life demands... so it has to deliver big. I love this challenge.

BUT. Both these stories have a bit of a high death count. Dead mother, dead baby, dead hamster (again), dead girl... The bodies are stacking up. And most of the stories I've written in the last few months seem to have some death element in them. I blame my subconscious mind.

So, my challenge for next week is to write something that has no dead people in it. Only living souls allowed. Wish me luck.


  1. It's when you find yourself bring the undead into one of your stories (or your novel in progress) when you were least expecting it that you want to start worrying!

    1. Ha! True! Or resurrecting characters we all thought were long dead a la Eastenders or neighbours.