I sent in my final story a couple of hours ago so that's it *wipes imaginary dust from hands*
My last score, by the way, was a particularly unimpressive '9' so I slipped back down to 15th place (out of 48). I actually thought 9 was quite generous, considering. It really wasn't one of my best stories. Then again the story the week before got 9 too and I thought that would have scored much higher. But there you go, you never can tell what will resonate with the judges and what won't. It all goes to prove how subjective competition judging can be.
I'm quite pleased with the story I sent it this week. It was inspired by a documentary I watched on TV. There was something about the expression on one woman's face that spoke volumes, particularly when she was obviously trying to repress her emotions. That's when I started to play mindreader - just exactly what was she feeling? And so the germ of a story was laid. Anyway, I noted it down in my notebook (what would I do without it. My memory is appauling) and promptly forgot about it (told you my memory was bad).
Anyway, when the last series of prompts were published for Eurofiction I had a complete and utter blank. No ideas - not a single one. In desperation I flicked through my notebook to see if anything fitted - and that idea did. I think I may have strayed a little too far from the prompt for the judge's liking (we'll see when the scores are published) but, whatever the outcome, I like the story. It's not perfect by any means but I felt emotional while I was writing the ending and that's a good thing. All the stories that have received reasonable critiques in my main writing group (not Slingink) and have placed in competitions are the ones that produced an emotional reaction in me when I was writing them. I think that's the key. If I'm bored when I'm writing the reader will be bored, if I feel blah about the characters and the situation the reader will too. It's finding the stories and the characters that do resonate that's the hard thing. It's easy (well, not that easy) to just write a story but to write a story where you genuinely care about the MC, that's tough (and, for me anyway, it doesn't happen often enough for my liking).
Having said all that I still read through the story and felt slightly frustrated that it wasn't quite as good as I'd imagined. It's an okay story but it's not great. It's not brilliant - it's just okay. I guess that's why we all keep writing - we want to get better, we want to be better writers, we want to write stories that touch people. I'm a long, long way from being where I want to be but sometimes, like today, you feel that tiniest bit more optimistic about getting there (one day).
p.s. Have decided to start adding a few photos to some of my entries. This one was taken in Bruges last year. Copyright me.