Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Ripped to Shreds (I am so happy)

Yes...I do mean it. My short story has been ripped to shreds, and I am thrilled.
Ok, that was the hook...now let's start from the beginning.
I signed up for Jacqui Bennett Mini Course. It basically means, Jacqui critics 4 short stories under 2500 words. To begin, I had to send her any story. Mine was 2600 words, but I did ask permission first. It was returned, not with negative comments as such (in fact she said it did have some originality and good ending), but with "proper" editing. If one word could be used where I used to, that was a red mark. If there was a description where it wasn't needed, it was cut.
Just looking at my short story with all the editing comments has made me realise how much severe editing I need to do. I must admit, I am one of those people who doesn't hang around too long after finishing a story. I do hurry up the sending, when I shouldn't. Let it be a lesson.
For the second assignment I have to write a story based on a scenario I have been given. This is where I have a problem. I am supposed to target one of the regular magazines, which I call "womanly" magazines. They are fine, of course. Their stories are fine too. But they all require happy happy stories, and I just can't think of many good happy/fluffy short story ideas. I tend to come up with the ones that end unhappily. Oh well, it's called a challenge for a reason.
I don't know whether Story 3 and 4 are supposed to be assigned or free, but I look forward to it...sort of...


  1. Good for you, working on the short stories and learning from the experience. I was actually thinking I might start down that path. Let us know how it goes for the rest of them too, and good luck.

  2. Well, you can start from May with our challenge. :)

    I have got ..sort of ..plot for one story. Now, it's time to figure out how to turn into a story. Seriously, I find way easier to come up with book storis than bloody short stories.

  3. Good luck with the others. :)

    My first marked piece from WB was an eye opener. Really helped.


  4. I am so divided on sharing my work with people who will be brutally honest because, on the one hand, how else is it going to get better? On the other hand, though, I might just start crying and give up writing altogether. Nah, I'm just kidding, I'm nowhere near that melodramatic ... I have had to work up to handling constructive criticism, though, and I'm really impressed that you seem to be able to take it in stride : )

  5. Adam, yeah does make you realise just how less you know doesn't it?

    KLo, it irked me for all of two seconds before I read the whole thing. It's not fun to have mistakes pointed out in your work, but I signed up for the course for the purpose of improving my writing and learning things I don't know, so I started with the right mindset, I suppose.

    Saying that, it is precisely the reason why I would not ask anyone but professionals for a critic. It's not that all the novice-writer as readers would be wrong, but it's simply a question of whose judgement should you trust? I think that could mess your head, especially when you get conflicting opinions.

  6. I tend to revise things a lot before I hand things in, always have done. Usually leave it a few days so as to look at it with fresh eyes! I'm still awaiting my feedback from my first WB assignment! I know it's nothing that can be published but I'm still anxious as to what the tutor will say in his/her feedback! Checked out your article on Suite 101...they're great! Melanie x

  7. Melanie, that's a great habit. I am very impatient, so I tend to submit things sooner than I should. That's something, I will try to improve now.

    Thanks for the comment about my articles. Still sort of exploring with the areas there.

    Good luck with your WB assignments