Back in the blogges-sphere then now that my latest MA submission has left the building. This one has been the hardest so far. A critical reflection/literary essay on a piece of work that has impacted my own writing. Not creative writing at all, more academic discourse, and very brain wearing to boot. This is the piece of work that I’ve found the most challenging and the most eye opening. My work under discussion was a collection of short stories called Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin which, when I first read it in 2016, took my breath away. I’ve read and re-read it since, taken inspiration from it, borrowed techniques from it, such as telling stories in two narrative voices, and become cowed by it because its so flaming good it makes you wonder why you’re bothering…but it wasn’t until I wrote this essay that I actually ‘saw’ some of the techniques at work and really understood what was going on. I think its called deconstructing something and I would recommend it to aspiring writers. Its weird what’s hiding right under your nose until you really lean in and look.

Whist I was doing this essay, I researched McLaughlin and was very gratified to find out that she is both an instinctive writer who starts with an image or an idea and just starts writing and sees where the story takes her (like me), who then will do up to fifty drafts to sort of chip the story out of the stone until its fine and sharp and startling ( a bit like me though fifty drafts is more like 20 for me). She also has a band of writer friends who beta read for her, so she gets her disclosure just right. Researching her made me feel a writerly connection with her style and method, she too came to writing later on in life so I take great inspiration from her as a role model.

Very weirdly, when I was doing my research (which felt a bit like online stalking), I looked at her webpage and twitter profile etc., and I found another connection between us. In 2011, she was a prize winner in theĀ  InkTears Short Story Competition where she got Highly commended. Just as I was doing all this research I won the very same award.

I’m so proper pleased with this, and my story, A Walk in the Park will be published by them in summer. Here’s the link to the announcement. http://www.inktears.com/contests-i/#winners-ss




Ah the first day of the month in which spring shall, well…spring…and I’m at home due to a snow day. The ring village where I live is sheet ice and the temperature outside is -4 which is actually two degrees warmer than yesterday…and I am so not complaining. This simply all goes to reinforce my theory that The Open University is the best place to study when you live in the middle of nowhere. Here is the pastoral idyll beyond the confines of my writing shed and my stove on full draw, and me with my happy face on, in my warmest dressing gown just about to start serious full-on research for my Tutor Marked Assessment 3, re-reading the amazing Dinosaurs on Other Planets, by Danielle McLaughlin. On-line study is so the new going to lectures. Its the way forward.