Fiona worked with me at Anam Cara Writers and Artists' Retreat last May, on a week-long workshop entitled 'The Short Story - So Much More than it Seems'. We had a great time - the place was abuzz with ideas, writing games, talk about story craft, and writing exercises to practice the theory. There were lots of tips shared, tips that work for me as a writer - with the caveat that of course, they may not work for everyone. But they certainly worked for Fiona.
Fiona sent me this just now: (reproduced here with her kind permission!)
After a few years of entering short story competitions and not getting shortlisted, I've finally made the runner's up list in The Fish Short Story Prize which is a mighty leap forward for me!
I followed your advice among the gems you shared with us at an Anam Cara workshop last year - I started writing Wrong Whisky at the drowsy point just before going to sleep and the story took over, so there's lot to be said for putting pen to paper in a tired/about to fall asleep state, that's when the story was born. I wrote the bulk of it over a few nights in the sleepy state and I had no idea at any point what would happen next. Also I remembered your other advice about getting stories into competitions way before the deadline which I did for once.
So many thanks for the good advice, I'm glad I followed it, and look what happened - I got shortlisted in a highly regarded competition, made it to the runner up list and Wrong Whisky will be published in the anthology (my first short story to be published), so happy days! I would highly recommend drowsy/sleepy writing to other writers.
All the best,
Fiona O'Rourke (Wexford, Ireland)
That's the best thing, for a teacher - to know that something passed on has made a difference. Good stuff, innit! So here's a second pint...
I'm delighted to be running "The Short Story -so much more than it seems" again this year, at Anam Cara Writers' and Artists' Retreat from June 9th to 16th. If you are interested in finding out more, about this or any of the inspirational workshops and retreat possibilities at this wonderful place, check out the Anam Cara website and workshop schedule, Link HERE In the 30 acre grounds are these cascades - the sound of the waterfalls lulls you to sleep at night, and in the day, you can find a nook to make your own, to write in or dream in for as long as you like... it is just blissful.