What is micro fiction?

If you follow my social media you’ll have seen my delight at being shortlisted for Lightbox Originals‘ 100 word story . Being shortlisted for anything is always exciting and this is no exception – especially because it’s a genre of creative writing that I adore but can find somewhat challenging.

Back to the matter in hand. Put simply, micro fiction is a very, very, very short story. It has a beginning, middle and end like any other story, but unlike any other story it has very few words. This particular competition set a limit of 100 words. Not many at all.

Very happy to be shortlisted for the #100words story competition from Lightbox Originals

Is micro fiction like poetry?

For me it feels like it is. I use rhythm and pace to create atmosphere, and every word has to count – there’s no room for waste. I’m not a chatty sort of soul and I think this is why I enjoy working with so few words.

I’m also aware of a change in my understanding of poetry. Reading more widely has helped me to see that the work I really love is the work that tells a story – takes me somewhere. I’m seeing a change in my recent work moving away from description and introspection towards more imaginative work. I think it’s a sign of personal development (remember all that therapy), as well as the improvement I’ve made as a poet,largely through the excellent prompt a day courses courtesy of Wendy Pratt.

Isn’t that a bit of a big headed thing to say?

It certainly feels like it is; I’m part of the generation that has the phrase “pride before a fall” running through my veins, for whom thinking I am good at anything is worse than being good at nothing.

Despite this I’m sticking my neck out and saying I am a better writer now than I was this time last year. I can see how I’ve progressed – both in poetry and in my paid work as a copywriter. I think that’s ok to say. Actually, I think it’s essential. If I never see that I’ve improved, where is the impetus to continue ?

Reading more and more poetry this year like this gorgeous book from Robert McFarlane

Can you really tell a story in 100 words?

You can tell a story in six. Maybe less. It all relies on understanding that the story is in the reader – they bring their experiences to match with your words. The result may be a quiet ding or a church bell level resonance, but the meeting is there and that’s what makes the story, however many words there are. The skill lies in having something to say that others will warm to, and saying it well. The best writers have an extra bit of magic that I haven’t figured out yet.

When will you know the results?

The results are announced next week. It would be amazing to be placed but, honestly, just entering is a huge achievement never mind getting to the shortlist. Putting work out is always scary, and knowing it’s being judged is extra scary. I’m quite matter of fact about losing and getting rejections these days – it’s a side effect of trying I suppose – but it’s always an absolute joy to gain a glimmer of achievement.

Thanks for reading – I’m much better this week, and hoping I can fully regain some balance to my health soon. Your support means the world!

Stay safe, wash your hands etc.



My illustrated poetry zine inspired by work from artists around the Severn Gorge is available through Etsy or by emailing kathrynannawrites@gmail.com.

You can buy #YesToTigers in my Etsy shop or by emailing kathrynannawrites@gmail.com


I hated Record Breakers. It was incredibly dull (except for the domino challenges), and all that wholesome patience grated on me. It still does, even more so now I know it’s true.

Getting work published takes a long time. The first step is research. Which journal is most likely to like my work? Where’s open for submissions? Who’s judging competition x and have I read enough of their work to know their style and interests? Next, you submit. Follow the guidelines about word count, number of lines, preferred font. Write a good cover letter (not too long, but enough to show you’ve read the journal). Then you wait. And wait. And wait a bit more. I’ve had responses in a week. I’ve waited over six months. Some places accept simultaneous submissions, many don’t – so my work sits and waits too. It’s a frustrating process, but since many indy presses are run by tiny teams or volunteers, it’s understandable. The thrill of having something accepted is wonderful. Even a kind rejection (where they ask to see more work soon) is ok. The waiting is tough, but the best way to get round that is to throw myself into something new.

Cat is waiting to hear about his poem “Why do the mice all run away?”
Attingham park looking moody

I’m looking forward to Autumn now – although I miss the light terribly- it’s a time for squirrelling myself away and writing. Obviously Secret Severn work takes priority, and my goal is to get drafts done by Christmas. I’ll put them away for a while, then revisit and revise in the spring. I’ve got an urge to write stories again too, so I’m hoping to spend time with writing prompts and get some of these floating ideas down on paper. It’s a time of watching the garden fade and prepare itself for next year, reading all the things I’ve not got round to reading, and maybe watching a bit of Record Breakers*.

Thanks for doing such a great job last week, after my slightly awkward plea for interaction with my social media pages. If you’ve chance to do the same again that’s ace – plus I really love talking to you !

Click to read my published poetry or published flash fiction. You can read old drafts and work in progress by following the links on the menu.

*I’m probably not going to watch Record Breakers.


Nope, this isn’t the start of a bleak, windswept poem.Rejection is a part of producing any piece of work. Nothing is perfect first time round, and perception of value is always influenced by the experience and value of the reader. Despite knowing this, the reality of having work rejected is something that new writers seem to find hard to talk about.

Perhaps it’s because it’s tied up with so many emotions, a lot of them rooted in precarious teenage years. Those feelings of being on the outside of the group and never quite knowing which friends to trust are common feelings for many people.For me, they’ve never quite left, and I’m finally starting to embrace them as part of who I am. I’m not sure I’d want to write and create if all I wanted was to be part of the crowd.  Our past experience shapes us, and whilst we can’t ever control what happens,or how others treat us we can try to control our response. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! 

This association with failure and exclusion is what makes the acceptance of rejection as inevitable so difficult, and so rarely mentioned, unless it’s to trot out the legendary number of times Carrie or Harry Potter were rejected*. Putting work out to tender is a big leap. Competitions feel ok,they’re anonymous, and no letter is sent back to me.  It’s pretty easy for me to forget I even entered. Sending to a publication? Very different. It’s that feeling that someone has read my work, sniggered,smirked and decided I can’t join in.

Except,of course, they haven’t done that. All they have done is read it, (possibly), and decided that it’s not suitable for their magazine. They haven’t pronounced me a terrible writer, they haven’t rolled their eyes with disgust that I had the temerity to sully their office with my tat, and they haven’t sent me a raven bearing the missive “Never write again”. The editor of a magazine, or journal is simply looking for something that will excite their readers, and keep the subscriptions flowing. 

One of the best things about studying writing is learning to crave criticism . It is what has helped me to grow and improve. It’s not always easy to hear, and it’s not always well delivered, but being told where I’ve gone wrong, and how to improve is one of the greatest gifts I can be given.

I’m looking forward to getting rejection letters. Even if I’m not accepted into one  gang, I know I had the guts to try, and one day I’ll find the people who are right for me. Being in a position to be able to produce work that other people might enjoy is fantastic, and the bumps along the way are part of learning and understanding.

 If only everything else was so straightforward……..

*Carrie was rejected 30 times. Harry Potter was rejected 12 times, with one publisher recommending JK Rowling attend a writing group to help her development

The best people get rejected, have a read here