Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Featured on Thresholds

I entered a feature competition run by Thresholds short story blog last year, not expecting anything to happen. It was an exercise to see if I could write an engaging piece about a writer's work. I knew I wouldn't win and, indeed, I didn't make the longlist. But I got an email from the editor saying that she would like to publish my feature on Thresholds. It appeared today: Subtle Brilliance.

It discusses The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and how it has influenced my own writing. Not only is it one of my favourite short stories, but it lingers in my mind in a way that no other story does. I used to think it lingered merely because of its content and Jackson's writing skill, but I came to realise it also had a lot of writing lessons to impart to me.

The main lesson, which I touch upon in the Thresholds piece, is that I tend to psychoanalyse my characters and explain my story. I need to learn to trust the reader to make the connections. As I was reminded in Writing Short Stories , which I discussed in the post I wrote last week, short story readers are intelligent and insightful. They don't need to have their hand held. By not trusting my readers, I'm not trusting my writing.

16 comments:

  1. That's great, H, congrats. I will go and read your piece now. I love Jackson's The Lottery. Wonderfully creepy.

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  2. Well done, Hayley - sounds great. I also was told my article will be published by them but I don't have details yet.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary and congratulations! What's your feature about? :-)

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  3. I over psychoanalyze too! Will the reader get it? Is it believable? Trusting the reader is a huge part of my revisions. Thanks for this!

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    1. I'm glad it's not just me! The ridiculous thing is, I hate it when I read stories where everything is spelt out — I find it patronising :-/

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  4. I just read and enjoyed your feature, Hayley. I'm glad it's been published xx

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  5. A fabulous feature, Hayley. Congratulations on having it published. Great news. x

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  6. Well done on your thresholds publication. Competitions can do us a lot of good even when we don't win, can't they?

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    1. Thanks, Patsy. Previously, the only bonus I got from losing a competition was simply the fact of having completed a story, so this was s surprise!

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  7. Great feature! Well done you - I'm sure you'll have many more to celebrate before long...

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  8. Congratulations Hayley! Writing (and entering) competitions help us work to deadlines and prompts. You never know what nugget of an idea can be formed when penning a short story - the next best selling trilogy perhaps ;-) Well done on your publication x

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