03 January, 2013

Speakeasy

How lovely to be able to start 2013 with some good news! Just before Christmas I was told that I've won the Speakeasy Short Story competition with my tale, Handrails and Parachutes.

2012 was a bit of an odd year for me. I was so caught up with writing my novel, I had little time to produce any quality short stories. Therefore, until November, the year was very dry in terms of encouragement. One shortlist for a short story in January, and winning Txtlit in May... and that was it. After a reasonably successful 2011, I was beginning to fear I'd peaked already! When the novel I'd been writing found an agent, it was all worth it - but it was still really special to win a short story competition for the first time in too long.

Handrails and Parachutes is one of my favourite bits of work. It's a "disturbing psychodrama" (according to the judge - I wouldn't have known how to categorise it!) about Fate and the insanity of living in the moment. I entered it into a different competition earlier in the year and got absolutely nowhere. So I tried to look at it with fresh eyes, realised it wasn't as good as I thought it was, spent a couple of hours re-editing, and here we are! Always worth revisiting stories if you believe in them. It's also a special win for me as Speakeasy was one of the first competitions I ever entered when I started writing, four years ago. In that competition I was highly commended - one of the first bits of encouragement I ever had. I'm particularly pleased that the judge felt my characters were vivid and believable (especially as the plot was a bit strange) - characterisation is something I've been working on a lot this year.

The competition wasn't a big one - about 70 entries - but it's a great confidence-boost that I'm still capable of inventing coherent plots and characters! If you are so minded, you can read the judge's report here - his verdict on my story is in the penultimate paragraph.Thanks to everyone at Speakeasy in Milton Keynes for a well-organised and friendly competition.

16 comments:

  1. Hurray! I love the judges comments on your story. Well done Chloe :)

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    1. Thank-you! The story was quite different from any other I've written (my first psychodrama) so I wasn't sure about it. Reading why you've won something is kind of more special than the actual winning.

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    2. Indeed. I think I read an early draft of Handrails and Parachutes over a year ago now, and even at that early stage was slightly alarmed by the main character!

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  2. Congratulations, Chloe. As you say, it's important not to give up on a piece if it has potential, and to be willing to spend quality time on it. Every success teaches us something valuable about what works in our writing and what we're capable of.

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    1. Andevery failure too, of course! Thanks :) I'll be reading Covenant to see what I can learn from your writing! (I can't read a book anymore without learning something - which I guess is a good thing!)

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    2. This is the point where I recommend you read Covenant and then one of my other novels to see how / whether my writing has changed since my first novel! Yes, failure can teach us plenty as well. And, as you say in your post, today's failure could be tomorrow's success!

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  3. Well done Chloe and Happy New year!

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    1. Thank-you. A very happy new year to you too!

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  4. Congratulations, Chloe. Will the story be available to read online? And good luck for the rest of the year too - should be an exciting one for you!

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  5. Thank-you. The organiser asked for my story so he could put it online, but it's not up yet so I don't know if it's coming or if that idea fell by the wayside! I'll let you know :)

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  6. Many congratulations, Chloe! Fantastic news, and a brilliant start to 2013. As Teresa says, I'm sure this will be a memorable year for you.

    I hope they do put the story online - it sounds great. I don't know if I've ever read a psychodrama...

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    1. I'm not sure if I have either! Thank-you.

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  7. A disturbing psychodrama. That certainly sounds interesting. I'll have to go read the judges comments.

    I want to know too if it goes online, by the way.

    Congratulations!!

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    1. Thanks, Suzi. I'll let you know!

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  8. Yes, I want to read it too! And warmest congrats Chloe Banks! xx

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