Saturday, 5 February 2011

Flash 500

I notice I've gained a few followers in the last couple of weeks. Welcome! At the same time I know I've been a bit remiss in the blogging department. I've been rather despondent. Working hard, without achieving much.

Negativity can be infectious, so I've stayed away until I have more positive news to share. It's a small piece of news at that, but this week I found I was longlisted in the Flash 500 competition for the last quarter of 2010. I didn't progress to the shortlist, but at least I know that in this particular story there must have been something I did right. The next Flash 500 closes at the end of March, with a top prize of £250. Worth entering if you like writing very short fiction.

I should have gone out to stock up the kitchen today, but it's blowing a gale here and I've not yet ventured through the front door. The weather has reminded me of a story I heard years ago when I used to work in Dudley. Dudley is in a part of the West Midlands known as the Black Country on account of its long industrial heritage. There is a place called the Black Country Museum, where restored buildings and staff in period costume recreate aspects of this history. Anyway, parents of a colleague had travelled from Dudley to some seaside resort - most probably Weston-super-Mare. They had dreadful weather and when they saw a local coach firm offering mystery day trips, they signed up. After two hours sitting on a coach they found themselves - yes, you've guessed it - at the Black Country Museum, just a mile from home.

This is exactly the kind of little incident I try to use in short stories now and then, only for fiction editors to comment that it's too far fetched. I have to restrain myself from phoning them up to scream "But it's true!". Have a lovely week, and I hope all your co-incidences are happy ones.

20 comments:

Claudia Del Balso said...

Hi Joanne,
Congrats!Even if it was longlisted, hey, it's still an acknowledgement. You should be proud of that. Writing is not easy, so when someone notices your piece is because it was either original, well-written, edgy, or all of the above.
Cheers!
P.S. don't worry about not keeping up with the blog. We've all had those days ;)

joanne fox said...

Thanks Claudia. Yes, it's just encouraging to know that someone has spotted something worthwhile in that story. x

Laraine Eddington said...

The Black Country Museum sounds something like Beamish, which we visited. Is it? Congrats on the acknowledgement. Even small things are encouraging.

joanne fox said...

Oh yes - it is like Beamish! You surprise me with your knowledge Laraine - first you know about Classic FM's Hall of Fame, and now I find you well versed in our range of tourist attractions!

Old Kitty said...

LOL!!!!! Oh that is so funny!!! The poor parents of your colleague!! LOL!! You can't make these things up can you really!! LOL!!

Aren't you longlisted too for the 100Stories for Queensland?! Yes you are!!!! I saw your name!! Joanne Fox!! Tis you!! :-)

Well done with the flash500 though!!! I did send one off to them for the March 2010 deadline and didn't even get so much as a piece of dry toast and a cup of sweet tea. LOL!!! So yay for you!!!

Have a great safe day - it's so windy!!! Take care
x

Christine said...

Congratulations on being longlisted! Something like that can be all that is needed to give you a much-needed boost.

Good tale about the trip to the museum.

Morton S Gray said...

I used to go shopping in Dudley every Saturday in my teens. It's not what it used to be! Love the Black Country Museum being a Black Country lass myself. Blist's Hill is Shropshire's equivalent. Really enjoyed Beamish too. Mx

joanne fox said...

Yes Old Kitty, I am longlisted for Queensland, but was waiting for further news about it before I posted anything here. Well done you too!

Christine, sometimes that little boost is all you need. Coming to find you on your new blog...

Morton, Dudley market used to be good, but I haven't been back there for years.

Janel said...

Congrats on being longlisted! Getting recognition for how good your writing is goes a long way in driving away the negativity. Here's to a happy and prosperous February!

Joanna said...

Well done Joanne for the longlisting and for a lovely post. I really enjoyed the Black Country Museum story, especially imagining the expressions on their faces as it dawned on them where they were!

I agree that it is frustrating to have a perfect idea for a story based on real-life events, but have to hold back because it would be too incredible for readers to relate to. When I tell people how my husband, at the age of fifty, discovered via the Internet that he was adopted by his own uncle and had always thought his cousin was his sister, plus many more convoluted twists to the tale, they always say I should make a story out of it. But I couldn't because it's too far-fetched to ring true.

I'm so pleased you feel more positive. Those low days can drag on sometimes, not helped by the perma-grey skies and short days. My husband feels it too, especially driving to and from work in the dark and feeling as if he never sees daylight all week. I can imagine Spring suits you better, when you can be outside more and involved in more gardening again. My mother is itching to get back to it.

I'll be glad when the winds wear themselves out!

joanne fox said...

Thank you Janel, and happy February to you too.

Joanna, that's an amazing story about your husband's adoption. Shame that you cannot use it, although maybe there is just one small aspect of the tale that would be enough to base a story on. And you're right that I'm starting to feel a bit hemmed in, being stuck indoors so much of the time. Roll on Spring. x

Teresa Ashby said...

Congratulations on the longlisting, Joanne.
I did laugh about the Black Country Museum - and I so identify with that "too far fetched" comment. I've had that so many times when writing up a true event as fiction. And I know the feeling well of wanting to say "But it's true!!!"

joanne fox said...

Glad it's not just me Teresa! x

Suzanne Jones said...

Congratulations on making the list, Joanne, great news.

And thank you for the link.

XX

penandpaints said...

Well done for being longlisted. It's all good encouragment. I meant to enter, but missed the last deadline, so will try to remember the March one!

I loved your true 'far fetched' story, funny!

It has been so windy lately hasn't it, not to mention flippin' freezing!

Not to worry, Spring is around the corner!

bazza said...

Joanne, remember that Vincent van Gogh never sold a painting in his life and yet he still kept on producing his work according to his own belief in himself. I am not suggesting that you won't ever sell another work but, instead, that it's more important that you keep believing in what you do!
Incidentally, I know Dudley as my brother-in-law came from Pensnett in Brierly Hill.
Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Amanda said...

Congratulations on being longlisted, Joanne! And I love the tale of the mystery trip - and I do think it would make a great story!

Jarmara Falconer said...

Hey, if you tell us about the rejections as well as the successes it makes everyone understand how greater the achievements are. So Well done you for being longlisted.

Emma B said...

Well done on being longlisted and thank you for sharing

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Belated congrats on being long-listed, Joanne. And apologies - I just discovered your blog wasn't on my 'blog list' although I'd been a follower. Now I'll catch all your posts in future!