Thursday, 23 August 2012

Prevarication and short stories.....

You may remember I am supposed to be writing a review essay but I have found myself prevaricating over the last few days. All my pencils are sharpened, every shirt is ironed within an inch of its life and my CD collection is now in alphabetical order. Anything to avoid getting down to this essay....bad Vanessa!

But another form of my prevaricating has been very productive. A few months ago I wrote my first adult short story for a while. I had left it alone whilst I got on with finishing Trafficking. However, I have been back to it and tinkered with it loads and am now very pleased with the outcome. It was very interesting writing something for adults making a total change from writing for children. .

The story is based on an image I had years ago that I wanted to use for a story - just a little black dress. It has since morphed and evolved until it became its latest version entitled 'Dance Under a Perigee Moon.' It has been a joy to write and has elements of family history in that I wanted to keep alive. It has also been a really useful way to keep my creative brain working. It has left it open for new ideas and thoughts as I start thinking about my next novel. I am on the constant look out for images as that is often the trigger for my stories. Trafficking, for example and which I may have already mentioned, was inspired by a photo of a terrified girl from Afghanistan.

The short story is a format I haven't used for a while and I was certain I had lost the 'touch' until I found Vanessa Gebbie's excellent book Short Circuit: A guide to the art of the short story.  This is an edited collection of essays by published short story writers and it is invaluable. I have found it useful because I tend to consider that each chapter in a book is a short story in itself so have been able to apply some of the guidance in Short Circuit to all areas of my writing. I highly recommend getting this book if you haven't already.

'Dance Under a Perigee Moon' is virtually ready to submit therefore the next bit of prevarication will be looking for a suitable place to send it....I will get this essay done soon...promise! In the meantime I will be looking for the crack that lets the light in (and maybe the essay)


  1. Well done you, and good luck with the story. I love the title! I always think I should/want to write short stories but I find them a real struggle. Perhaps I'll get that book!

    1. Sue I haven't written them for a long time and it was getting that book that inspired me to try again. Well worth a look. Wish you were nearer I would lend you mine!