Friday, 20 April 2007

My Weekly Mystery Solved (and Cotswold Cheque)

Received a letter from My Weekly yesterday. Yep, they did mistakenly send my manuscript back to me (although they'd accepted it for publication) and thanked me for sending it back.

They weren't able to give me any news on when the story might be published. Appaently they hold them in stock and use them 'according to the season in which they're set and are then chosen to make up a balance within each issues with regard to both length and mood'. Mine could be published in two months or next year! But they are going to send a complimentary copy so I'll know when it's out.

Another apology in the post - Cotswold Writing comp apologised for the mix up and sent me a cheque made out to me instead of the mysterious Miss Turner (jokes in the writing group included - 'change your name to Paige' 'change your name to Tina') so that's good.

Oh - one thing I want to add. MW said they are always on the look-out for light-hearted or humorous tales, 'but we already have a plentiful stock of Christmas-themed ones'. So there you go - little hint for anyone wanting to sub something.

I have a question too - anyone got any hints on writing humorous/light-hearted tales? I have to admit that that kind of story doesn't come easily to me and I have no idea how to set about writing a story that involves conflict but is also light-hearted? Can anyone point me in the direction of any internet articles/postings or any books on the subject?

Oh! That reminds me. In June I'm going to a one day writing seminar in the Cotswolds on 'how to write magical fiction' (aimed at the women's magazine market). I'm really looking forward to it.


Quillers said...

Well done, Miss Paige Turner ;-)

Thanks for the tip about My Weekly, Cally. Womans Weekly are also looking for more fiction, as they're upping their fiction specials from 6 to 8 editions a year.

As for writing light fiction, I'm afraid I've no good tips. When I write comedy it has to come unbidden. I can't sit down and think 'Oh I'll write something funny'. Do remember though that 'conflict' doesn't have to mean something heavy. For example, in my comedy story The Night of the Mange Tout, the conflict was driven by the fact that my MC was a 'hitman' who couldn't actually hurt a fly (which is gradually revealed through the story).

Cally said...

Thanks Sally. Woman's Weekly have got two of my stories - one sent end of Jan, one sent beginning of Feb. Haven't heard back from them yet so am crossing my fingers they've got past the readers and are sitting on the editor's desk (one can but hope!)

Thanks for the example from you story. After I posted the 'how do you write humorously?' post I went on an internet search and ended up at this article:

If you look at your story you can see that got the 'character's conflict with himself' bang on!

I can write 'dry' (slightly acerbic) flashes but a humorous story has evaded me so far. I'll think of it as a new writing challenge!

Quillers said...

Thanks for the link, Cally. That's very interesting. It's an odd thing though that when I sat down to write that story I didn't consciously think 'Okay, I'm going to write about a hitman who couldn't hurt a fly'. I just started writing the story from the basis of him having trouble finding a parking space on the way to the hit (I already had a first line because it was originally for a Writers News comp - it was shortlisted too!), and that suggested his ineptitude, and therefore the rest of the story, including what brought him to that place.

But last night I was reading Ben Bova's The Craft of Writing Sci-fi and he says pretty much the same as the site to which you pointed me. That the character needs to have a problem that involves Emotion A vs. Emotion B. and uses Hamlet as an example. Hamlet's emotions are Revenge V Self-doubt, so I suppose if you make emotion B a direct and absurd contrast to emotion A, that's where your comedy comes in. For example, Rigsby in Rising Damp. His dominant emotions could be said to be His unattractiveness (both physical and personality-wise) V his longing for Miss Jones (who obviously fancies the gorgeous and intelligent black guy)

But even knowing that I can't just sit down and write comedy. I have to be in a particular mood.