Longhand chaos begone

Another thing you can use to help organise your work as a writer is a simple spreadsheet with a list of all your submissions. Setup columns for date, submitted to, title, pen name (if you use), result due date, fee, result, etc. Update every time you submit something or get a response. This will save you from sending the same thing to the same place again and suchlike.

S. J. Moran

Now that I’m a full time writer, I regret the years I spent writing everything longhand in notebooks, while doing the day job, which was computer programming. The first thing I’ve had to do while trying to get myself organised is to transcribe everything into computer format, where I can work with it, to “clear the decks” as they say. My mind tends towards chaos, as you would know if you saw how many different writing projects are jumbled and intertwined in the pages of my notebooks. One thing that can help to overcome one’s natural chaotic nature, is to make use of technology to the full, and let it deal with that part of the problem. I bought myself a copy of Scrivener desktop app a long time ago, for this very purpose, and I’m now using it for everything, and it’s great. Instead of having separate files in…

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The Irish Times: Caoilinn Hughes take first and third places judged by Kevin Barry

The author Kevin Barry chose not one but two of Caoilinn Hughes’ stories as his prizewinners in this year’s Moth Short Story Prize, which he judged anonymously. Psychobabble takes first prize, and is, according to Barry, “a story that walks a difficult road in terms of its tone or note – it’s a dark situation dealt with not lightly but with an effervescence in the line, in the sentence-making, and it’s this vivacity that elevates the piece above the rest. It’s both poignant and very funny, emotional yet sardonic. The writer has great control.”

via Debut novelist Caoilinn Hughes comes first (and third!) in The Moth Short Story Prize

Follow the links to read Kevin Barry’s comments in full and the three prizewinning stories in The Irish Times online.

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 | PenguinRandomHouse.com

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 contains twenty prize-winning stories chosen from thousands published in literary magazines over the previous year. The winning stories come from a mix of established writers and emerging voices, and are uniformly breathtaking.

via The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 | PenguinRandomHouse.com

nss3 back cover detailLooks like the O. Henry Prize anthology includes a new short story by Jo Lloyd, whose story “Work” took the Willesden Herald short story competition first prize in 2009, as judged by Rana Dasgupta. You can read it in New Short Stories 3. The mesmerising opening line from “Work” is also featured on the back cover of the book (see image).

Word counts that get through? Various

When the short story competition was running, someone asked about the word counts for stories that get through. I started to write this response and I’ve only finished today, so it’s a bit late as the competition is no more. Still, I went to the trouble to get these stats, so here goes.

The word counts for all past first prize winners of the Willesden Herald short story competition were: 2977, 2261, 6362, 4483, 7658*, 4960, 3637, 3033, 7448, 5837 and 1381.

The word count for each of the stories in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 9: 4670, 4455, 6708, 5837, 1693, 6920, 2972, 6455, 3749 and 2260.

For our Short Story of the Month feature, we’re looking for stories in the range 1500 to 4500. For your info, if you’re a writer reading this in September 2018, the deadline for October’s selection is Friday 21 September. It’s always the second-last Friday of every month.

* The limit was 8000 that year, 7500 in other years. There was never a minimum.

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley – Pandora’s Looking-Glass

“The first novel from Kent-based American author, Peggy Riley, Amity and Sorrow is a mesmerising exploration of the tension between the familiar and the unknown, of extremes of faith and the lengths to which people can be caught up in the fantasies of others.”

via The Red Dirt Road as a dark Wizard of Oz: Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley – Pandora’s Looking-Glass

Peggy Riley’s poetic short story “Pearl” was included in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 4.

Spelk: The Burnt Moth by Gerard McKeown

If that evocative and insightful flash struck home, you can read more by Gerard McKeown, his prizewinning 2017 short story “A History of Fire” in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 10.

David Means in conversation with Sinéad Gleeson

David Means reading and interview in the Firkin Crane as part of the Cork International Short Story Festival 2017, moderated by Sinéad Gleeson

Link: Cork International Short Story Festival, September 12-15 2018

Introduction 00:00 – 01:13
Reading 01:13 – 21:40
Discussion 21:40 – 51:22

You can read the rest of “Fistfight, Sacramento, August 1950” by David Means online here in Harper’s magazine.

David Means was the judge for our short story competition in 2013. You can read the prizewinning stories in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7.

Granta | Sheila Heti and Tao Lin discuss writing

A conversation about their experiences writing books under contract and dealing with editors, agents etc. Tao Lin’s story “Sasquatch” was short-listed for the Willesden Herald prize in our first year (2005/6).