This weekend I dived into the Stirling Publishing competition entries, beginning with the Flash stories. We had over fifty submissions in this category alone, and while I've enjoyed reading all of them, it's very exciting when I find something I love. I've picked out my own favourite among half a dozen that I love and a dozen more that I'm quite fond of. I'm really intrigued to see how my list compares to those of the other editors. We will be compiling a longlist and a shortlist, but we have an external judge, prize-winning novelist Lesley Glaister, to pick the final winners. For the rest of the week, I'll be cracking on with the Micro and Short Fiction submissions, but I don't think I'll manage to get through them all.
I've finished the first draft of a short story called 'Ironstone', inspired by my visit to Dumfries last January. Below is a picture I took of Lag Castle, which, with the fog seeping over the horizon, is wonderfully atmospheric -- perfect for a creepy Halloween-based short story! My story of Ironstone is set much further north, but I'll share a few more details once it's had another couple of drafts. I'm happy with my opening, but for now there isn't enough action, and everything is tied up too neatly with expositional dialogue - but I don't want it falling too far into the realms of cliché, even if it is a bit of a pastiche. I'm hoping that if I power through it I can find somewhere to submit to for Halloween publication (I've left it too late really, but a writer can hope!).