Prune-Ella gets second equal!

Or thirteenth equal depending on your glass-half-full-glass-half-empty perspective. The winner was more than worthy, a tight tale with lovely pace and rhythm, and only the requisite number of ‘I’s. Competition over, Prune-Ella is now out in the wild via the Nano Fiction page.

Meanwhile, one of my other stories, submitted to the critiquing zoo queue, has had some quite mixed comments. To broadly simplify; half seemed baffled by the concept, didn’t quite see a plot, and wanted parts that I thought were the crucially speculative elements, more spelled out. The other half loved it, got the plot, and bought into the speculation. Both views are obviously valid as these are writers reading as such and very generously giving their time to help others, but why the huge disparity? Well, it wasn’t a massive sample size and so I’m not going to dig out my Idiots’ Guide to Statistics but it breaks down along gender lines; male (puzzled) and female (not puzzled).

I had never thought of myself as writing ‘for’ a particular audience, unless you consider the academic community to be one such. That world has its rules and, to be published, you have to follow them but on the whole, and unless your research was so tedious it requires a little creative post-production work, you don’t have to consider your readers’ tastes in literature. I’m beginning to wonder though, if my fiction is largely aimed at women and, that being the case, what women and where? I sidled up to the speculative and SF genres in my youth, cutting my teeth on a childrens’ adventure series involving kids whose names began with the same letter as their space station and moving rapidly on to Isaac Asimov’s epic Foundation Trilogy. All my favourite authors since have been male and I thought women couldn’t write SF until Elizabeth Moon popped up with her strong female characters, intricate plots, and no-messing tech talk.  I’d also taken little sorties into dragon country with Anne McCaffrey and subsequently found myself on living space ships with histories and relationships all of their own. I like these authors. They give me believable future or alternative worlds, they deliver convincing technology, and they write with depth and texture. But do they write for women? What is it about these authors that makes me feel more at home in their books than I do in many of the gripping, character-driven tales of my preferred male writers?

And can I do it too?


Let battle commence!

The CC ‘I-less’ writing challenge has closed and Prune-Ella is up against 13 others for the grand title of – well, nothing at all really. I must say though, if Prune-Ella did her stuff and flounced the opposition, I would be ridiculously pleased and need restraining from making postcards to send to people I hardly know.

Also completed today was the last tutorial of the OU course which leaves just the final assignment due at the end of the month. I have a half formed offering that reads ok but doesn’t grab me. Do I work on it and make it sizzle or start again with a different and more gripping plot? I think it might depend on how far I get setting up my new phone this weekend. Unlike most gadgets that come with a booklet resembling a Master’s in computing and programming, this came with barely a leaflet and so I couldn’t even find the SIM hatch. If the rest of it is equally baffling, that lame duck tale might be all there is! snowdrop image

There are new jottings on the Nano Fiction page. Please feel free to nip across and take a shufti. You could even leave a comment if you felt so moved. Go on, spoil yourself!

Prune-Ella, Queen of the Dessert

Yes! Finished the exercise and submitted it to CC for what will probably be a right royal chewing! I’m not even sure if I followed the rules or not as appreciation of parts of speech and flying participles (or was that buttresses?) was obstinately non-stick at school, predating teflon by some considerable margin. I’ve always written rather more by feel than by knowledgable construction and so can come unstuck, to pursue the metaphor (or is it an analogy? You see my problem?), when push invariably comes to shove. Anyway, all that can come of this enterprise is deep humiliation or the satisfaction of not drawing attention to myself as I have no doubt that the other contributors will have delivered on both accuracy and wit. I did come in bang on the word count though, which is an achievement in itself as my capability with English grammar outshone my mathematical naus by many many astronomical units. And if they’re not called Angsts then they should be!

I’ll put Prune-Ella on the nano page once the fur and feathers have stopped flying and the bleeding is under control. I made a wordle though….  word art image