This week I've been continuing to work hard on my fictionfire site and am really pleased with how it's going. I've added Paypal to the courses section - I'd intended to do this anyway but the situation with the postal strikes has really pushed me into action. I'm also having fun doing the 'Quote of the Week' page - I love ferreting out a literary quote and then writing a mini-essay about it. So I hope if you haven't been over to the site yet, you'll take a look at http://www.fictionfire.co.uk/
I entered the Bridport Prize some months back and just this week thought 'I wonder what's happening with that?' so checked out the site only yesterday - it said that winners had already been notified by telephone. Sigh. So it was an absolute delight to receive an email today telling me that my story, 'Mind This', had actually been shortlisted. Of course it would have been nice to have been in the top thirteen prizewinners, but to reach the shortlist when there are thousands of entries is pretty damn good too and has given me a boost! Apparently my name will be posted on the site with the other shortlisted entrants in late November. I'll definitely be having another go next year, although to be honest I don't write short stories all that often these days. They tend to be like the poems I also write - something that just comes to me and is expressed quickly (even though later worked on relentlessly, sometimes over a number of years), whereas novels are a more conscious act of development and construction, slow to brew, rich, complicated, frustrating, rewarding. I do think it's good to pursue different forms of writing - I even wrote a play in August, in my own Scots dialect, and found that a new and somehow liberating experience, even though the constraints of dramatic form might have seemed restrictive. When you find yourself 'stuck' with one particular story or genre, try your hand at something else and maybe it will help to bring back your writing mojo.