Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Funny Old Game

Last Wednesday was Manuscript Meeting night at Nottingham Writers' Club. This is where people can read out a short piece and get feedback from the other members who have a wide variety of knowledge and experience. Two efforts stood out for me.

One fellow read out his entry which had come second in one of last year's club competitions - a short story suitable for radio. This was a tale about a gambler who starts out winning at the casino and has beautiful girls hanging on each arm but then ends up having to sell his furniture and lock himself in his flat to escape his creditors. The description of the atmosphere at the gaming house and the final tension when the debt collector is hammering on his door was excellent and I couldn't find much fault with his effort. The reason that I'm telling you this is that my own entry actually won this competition. I think my friend may have been a little unlucky and, on another day, the placings could quite easily have been reversed.

The other piece that excelled was read by a newcomer who has written a series of short stories all set in the same fictional seaside town. As I listened to him narrate one of these tales I could imagine this one also being being read out on the radio. It was a sinister story with bizarre characters and snappy dialogue. The whole room was blown away by this brilliant work of fiction but were surprised to learn that he has no intention of being published. All we could do was persuade, advise and beg him not to let it go unheard but he seemed unmoved and quite happy just to write for his own (and our) pleasure.

So how do I feel after listening to one story that I thought deserved a better fate than runner-up to my own and another from a chap that seemed so cavalier about his undoubted talent? Bemused. Humble. A bit insecure. Just goes to show what a funny old business this writing lark is.

8 comments:

  1. Well done on winning! As for humble and insecure, I guess that's how most of us (writers) feel nearly all the time!

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  2. Well done, Keith :-) (And I agree with what Frances said)!

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  3. Agree with you Keith, and Frances too.

    A different competition judge on a different day may have come to a different decision, and as writers we need to remember that, and take heart.

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  4. Thanks for the comments, everybody. Very subjective isn't it? As I'm coming up to my first ever stint as an adjudicator I'm becoming aware that not everyone will agree with me.

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  5. Congrats to you for winning that competition, and I think you should feel darned good about it, especially since you have such high regard for the runner-up's writing. I mean, where would the joy be in winning over something that's merely mediocre?

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  6. Congratulations for winning yet another writing group competition Keith. Having read your writing and given you a 1st in a competition I was judging, I'm sure your entry was a worthy winner. Writers all suffer from self-doubt and insecurity occasionally. Keep writing! : )

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  7. Congrats to you. Well done! :-)

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  8. Thanks, Susan. I never thought of it like that.

    Thanks, Angela. You never know what some judges prefer do you?

    Thanks, Diane.

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