I was delighted to receive the news recently, and the certificate this week, that my short story Maiden Voyage was selected for praise in The Sherbourne Literary Festival. Over 80 entries, with 3 prizes and 3 highly commended. How cool is that?

This was the feedback:

Judge Carole Matthews wrote: “I loved the descriptions and your style of writing. Excellent.”

My story, Maiden Voyage, has been around for a couple of years. It was an experiment in ‘voice’, using the unusual ‘you’ for the first person narrative. I first had comment/correction at TLC because the voice got muddled, but it was during The Writing Retreat that I refined the story again. I realised the story structure was wrong. Having had quite a lot of polishing, this 1,200 word story has earned me a commendation, and I’m thrilled. I have a couple of nuggets in my mind for the next short stories. Those are just percolating away, although I should probably allow them space on paper soon, so that the editing can happen before I want to try again for another competition.

It really does make me think about the process of editing, and how much effort and attention that’s going to take on the novel! I’m still chugging out the words, so we’re some way off that. Probably 2016. More thoughts on that will come, as I prepare for my second Writing Retreat.