Q: How does a short story first come to you? Each story has a different process. A person engaged in some sort of action. Maybe sipping coffee in a piazza in Venice.
Or a street covered in broken glass after a football match. I lay in bed and just listened to the sounds of the morning from the window above me. Sometimes I get ideas from the news or radio programmes. Something about the amalgamation of the smells in the kitchen and the stuff I listen to on the radio seem to work.
Every writer has a different process. Could you share how you complete a short story? For example, do you know the ending when you start writing or does it evolve during the writing process? Again it is a different process every time. It could be that I know the ending and I work backwards to find the beginning to the story.
It was a matter of figuring out how to lead the story to the beginning. Then I usually just keep going until it finds the natural end. In Buon Anniversario Amore Mio, I wrote about the protagonist through a writing prompt at a workshop I attend every month. I try to attend every month! The prompt was to write about the place — the setting being the focus of the exercise. I set it in Venice, having just returned from a holiday there. The two characters in the story guided me to the ending they wanted.
It was quite surreal, just following their lead.
Categorie: Short Stories
I believe you share work within a writing group. Would you recommend this to other writers — how has it helped your own writing?
Do you mind sharing how your particular group works? As you know, writing can be isolating, and a lot of times the imposter syndrome gets the better of oneself. A writing group has many benefits. There is of course the social aspect. Deadlines are important too. You have a reason to finish that section of writing because you need it ready for the next meeting. I would definitely recommend it.
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I belong to a Winchester based writing group called the Taverners — because we meet in a cosy pub called the St James Tavern. It is run by Claire Fuller, and there are eleven members. We meet once a month and share a maximum of three thousand words of our work-in-progress a week before the meeting. We read and annotate the feedback on the printouts, and then on the evening we begin with someone. That person reads out a section of their work, and then the others follow with discussion of that work.
Then he or she chooses the first one on their pile and it goes on. And extremely useful. A few of the stories in the collection were discussed in these sessions, and I definitely got some superb feedback which I incorporated into the final versions.
Karin has mentored me in training Charlie not only as an Assistance Dog but a constant companion who alerts me when I am having a relapse before it become full blown! When I go up and down stairs he is always there beside me pushing against the side of my leg to aid my balance and when I sit down he will pull me up again by his special harness, just one command PULL. When we go out into town he is always in Working Mode with his harness on he aids my balance, stops at kerbs so I do not trip up them and when we get to a zebra crossing he will wait until the audible bleeping starts before crossing.
If we go into a restaurant he will reverse under the table which is a very difficult task for a dog because of the shape of their rear legs but he has mastered that and lays down out of the way! We are nowhere near the end of the Journey yet our goal is to fly to the UK with Charlie in the cabin with me which he is entitled to but to achieve this we have to overcome the interpretation of the rules by UK Airlines.
I no longer need a stick when I am out as Charlie is always there supporting and aiding my blance! Much closer to us, more attentive and calmer, we seem to understand each other better!
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After many years of being moved from "home to home" my rescue dog Molly suffered from high stress levels, dog aggression, toy and food aggression, and severe separation anxiety. I contacted Karin for help primarily with the separation anxiety as I couldn't even get a good night's sleep. Over time Molly has become less anxious and stressed and less aggressive. She is incredibly calm nowadays. The changes in Molly have been enormous but over quite a long period of time.
Initially I couldn't leave her for longer than about 30 minutes. This was built up to leaving her with my other dog for up to 5 hours during the day.
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During the night she would not sleep the night through unless she was in my room. Now she sleeps the night through, outside of my room and there is no longer loud frantic barking and whining early in the morning and she often sleeps through even once I am up. Molly was dog aggressive and spent months living in my home separately to my other dog, or muzzled. She was full of bravado when out walking and would get aggressive with any other dog that came too close. Since then, I've welcomed two other dogs into my home and Molly accepted them almost immediately with no aggression after the introductions were done.
She is much more relaxed when out walking and there have been no instances of her having to get separate from the other dogs or muzzled in their presence. Molly's toy aggression has gone completely, however, she is still toy possessive given the chance.