Who knew ? Certainly not me. You may have guessed I’ve had feedback on my first piece for Writing Short Fiction. Apart from my habit of distributing commas as though they’re sweets for bribing children, the feedback is actually very good. Possibly the best I’ve had for an assignment and certainly the best I’ve had for the first assignment of a course. Seeing the words “I enjoyed it” and reading that my tutor has understood the character I created is an amazing feeling. Being given concrete examples of how I can improve is fabulous too and it makes me keen to continue. Regardless of my feelings about last year’s assessment, I’m certain that I will learn a great deal this year. I might even get a bit more confident.
A big thing for me to understand has been the concept “write what you know”. It’s something that has haunted me a little through this course. My life is quite narrow. I don’t meet the sheer variety of people that I did when I was working, and I certainly don’t have the range of interactions with others to draw on. “What I know” is my house,my cat and my husband. When I go out, I am so dazzled by the outside world it’s quite overwhelming. And a little terrifying. So how can writing what I know possibly be interesting ? Quite simply, I need to remember this quote from Nathan Englander
“Write what you know isn’t about events. It’s about emotions. Have you known love? jealousy? longing? loss? Did you want that Atari 2600 so bad you might have killed for it? If so, it doesn’t matter whether your story takes place in Long Island or on Mars – if you’re writing what you know, readers will feel it.”
Using my experiences,views and emotions can create a character who is interesting to read about and crucially, feels authentic. Truly understanding this phrase has been a release for me.
I’m starting my next project with excitement, a little more self belief and hopefully fewer commas.
If anyone would like to read my latest complete short story drop me an email using the contact form on the menu. Unfinished work can be found in the tab “A few things I’ve written”.
For those who are kind enough to be my beta readers, have a peep in your inbox, there’s a new tale nestling in there .
I love to get feedback, it helps me see what works and what doesn’t and to understand what people enjoy to read.