Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Sporadic blogger that I am I felt the time has come to write a new one to mark the publication of my new book THE HAPPY HOME FOR BROKEN HEARTS, to celebrate the launch of my new website www.rowancoleman.co.uk and because its almost time to announce the winner of Rowan Coleman's Short Story competition which means I really need to decided between my two favourite today!!

It is hard. Judging the 300 or so entries (with some help from the guest judges) gave me a whole new insight into what it might be like to be on the other side of the publication process. The person reading the submissions and making the decisions.

First of all, there are a lot of truly talented people out there. The standard of stories submitted was generally really high, and I know that every one always says that - but in this case I promise you it was true.

Having said that I also realised that people tend to want to write about the same thing. There were a lot of funerals, quite a lot of prison, and much dwelling on death. There was a large helping of sex and violence and quite a bit of romance. This isn't to say these stories weren't good, two of my most favourite that have got into the top eight were prison and funeral stories. Besides I think people also tend to want to read about the same thing, the human condition - so I didn't hold that against anyone.

And of course its subjective. Its my opinion that counts. That's quite a responsibility. There were some stories that were so well written, but I just couldn't warm to them. I could see the technical skill, the ability, the talent. But they didn't reach me in the way I want my winning story too. Which makes me feel awful, because I don't know any writer who hasn't had the feedback at one time or another that goes something like 'its good, its just not doing it for me.' Its kind of frustrating, to say the least!

So I have two stories sitting on my desk. One will be the winner, one will win second place (the other places are already decided) I have to decide, there are no two ways about it. The question is which?


Jane said...

well that's easy for him to say!

Bluestocking Mum said...

Good luck to that person. I didn't enter the comp but I had to come and mark the occasion that you have blogged!

Best of luck with your new book and I'll check out your new site.

warm wishes

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Alison said...

I read your article in December's Writers' Forum and was struck by how similar your writing style seems to be to my own. You have inspired me to keep going wth a book that is close to my heart but not yet nearly close enough to anyone else's! Love the blog x

Lynette said...

As it appears nothing has been written since August 2010, I am unsure if this blog is still active.

I just read your novel The Accidental Mother. It is the first book of yours i have ever come across and must tell you how much it moved me. I spent at least if not more than half of the time in tears. Beautiful story. Now I am looking to purchase the sequel.

Thank you for such a wonderful book!! Lynette

PS did someone ever win your contest?

Helen Yendall said...

I came third in this competition but never received one half of my prize (£25 of Random Book vouchers), despite a few polite email reminders. Bit disappointed really. And my story is still on Rowan's website so I can't do anything else with it. Any suggestions, any one?

DrStevePaynter said...

Sorry, this isn't a comment on this post, just a word of encouragement to not forget Ruby Parker ... I enjoyed the series although I am far from your target audience.

DrStevePaynter said...

Sorry, this isn't a comment on this post, just a word of encouragement to not forget Ruby Parker ... I enjoyed the series although I am far from your target audience.