Have I mentioned I have started my MA in Writing? I think so, well I entered a short story competition recently – 2000 words of tension and drama! 2000 words which only took one evening to write, but took 4 weeks to re-read, edit, change, stick in a drawer for a week and then re-read, re-edit, and ask a MA colleague to proof-read. Lastly I got my husband to read.
Part of my course was to try other genre’s. I always loved Marian Keyes, and for years people told me I was as funny as her – okay my sister mainly and I suppose my hubby when I poked him in the ribs.
Well ‘I aspired’ to be like Marian Keyes. But for my course I had to read widely – and one author on the reading list was Stephen King. I would have run from him like the plague a few months ago – but after reading his book “On Writing”, I have become a huge fan of the way he can build tension and quicken pace.
Did I mention I grew up in Northern Ireland in ‘The Troubles’ – so when I need tension, I simply dig into the reservoir of vicarious terrorism that was my childhood.
If Frank Mc Court, thought that to have a poor, catholic, Irish childhood was the best – he should have tried a ‘poor, catholic, Irish childhood in ‘The Troubles’ – sorry Frank I think I have trumphed you there! (I love Mr Mc Court [RIP] ).
So now I have started to write dark, macabre stories of kidnapping, shootings and car bombs! I was never ‘involved’ in anything, but like everyone in the 80’s I knew someone who was. I knew of ‘hard-men’, and I also knew innocent teenagers who got sucked into the madness.
So now that I have tapped into this macabre and violent writing, my (UK-born) husband is looking at me in a completely new light. He reads my stories and glances up at me, asking how I knew so much about terrorism – am I sure I was not ‘involved’! I try to tell him that everyone who grew up there has stories similar to me. He is not convinced!
As I showed him my short story for the latest competition – he asked if I could use language like that? I said well, that’s the way men like that talk. He had goose-bumps on his arms as he got to the twist in the tail. He now won’t read any of my ‘tension’ short stories late in the evening and has taken to sleeping with the light on.
He has convinced me my latest entry is too violent to get published. Lets see what Penguin Ireland say – ‘collective positivity’ @BirdontheGreen