I've had a few e-mail conversations just lately with People's Friend editor Shirley Blair (name dropper). The editorial team seem to like my stories at the moment and Shirley has been very helpful in guiding me along the right lines to meet their requirements. Sometimes I submit a story that appeals to her but I might have a problem with POV or the ages of the characters. Sometimes she asks for a little more background information on the characters. It has made me put more thought into my work and hopefully I won't have to do so much editing in future.
In addition it has made me think about the type of stories I write. I hadn't really put much thought into it up until now. An idea would just present itself and I would try and concoct a story from it. But now I realise that there is a pattern to what I have been submitting so I've tried to list down the main points of what I've been trying to accomplish:
To write stories that are captivating, stimulating and entertaining.
To create characters that are interesting, appealing and resourceful.
To produce situations that are unusual and challenging.
To evoke emotions across the whole spectrum of human feeling.
To introduce locations that are unique, uncommon or exotic.
To arouse memories by use of nostalgia, past events and social history.
To devise plots that conclude with a twist, a lesson or a feel-good spirit.
No doubt you could all modify or add to this list to suit your own personal objectives. Perhaps some of you already have a similar list in your heads but haven't actually written it down.
PS Most of you may be aware that People's Friend are running a series of writers' workshops over the coming months. Shirley informs me that they are open to published writers as well as beginners so, work permitting, I'm intending to go to the York event in October. It's worth considering if you want to keep up to date with their requirements and improve your technique.
PPS My next story will be in The People's Friend Special No.111 on sale August 26th.
PPPS Couldn't resist posting these photos of my grandchildren:
This is Orla