Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Other writers' kindness
It was just a bit of a long shot, I thought - posting on this blog about the fact that I hadn't received the copy of 'The Weekly News' with my story in it. I was hoping someone would know how I might be able to get a back issue (and they did - thank you Bernadette!), but I certainly didn't expect Suzanne at http://suzanne-sj.blogspot.com/to come up with a copy of the very issue I needed, and to post it off to me so that I've received it already! It was such thoughtful thing to do, and I'm really grateful to have my copy of the story now. 'An Italian Wedding' was inspired by hearing about my friend's son's wedding - in a castle in Italy - and the fact that the castle was reputed to be haunted. I'd revised the story a couple of times after it was rejected by other magazines, and cut it quite a bit, so it was very gratifying that it ended up good enough to sell. I shouldn't have been surprised at the helpful responses to my query on the blog, or at Suzanne's kindness. Every time I give a talk about writing, I always tell people how generous and supportive I've found the writing community in general to be to each other. There's always a murmuring of surprise at this, and a few raised eyebrows. I guess a lot of people imagine that we're all jealous of each other's successes and are fiercely guarding our own 'territories'. If I'm honest, this is slightly what I expected when I first joined the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) when my first novel was published. I was a little in awe of the more successful novelists and 'famous names' on their internet forum, and sure they wouldn't waste their time talking to me or take any notice of me. I couldn't have been more wrong. Over the years I've had such an amazing amount of encouragement and advice from so many people: from the RNA, to other local writers in Essex, from other bloggers, to writing 'friends' on Facebook. One of the first writing blogs I ever read was http://womagwriter.blogspot.com/ where Kath has always so generously shared her advice and information for short story writers, including the latest requirements for all the magazine markets and any pertinent news about them. I think most of us have consulted her blog at some time or another and benefited from her postings. It took me a while to wake up to the fact that none of this should really surprise me. After all, it gives me a lot of pleasure myself, as a slightly-successful writer, to help new writers wherever I can with bits of my own advice and experience, such as it is. And if I don't find it irksome to do so (far from it - I'm flattered to be asked!), why would those far-more-successful writers feel any differently? So this is just a big pat on the back to all of us, for being (on the whole!) such a friendly, generous, mutually encouraging bunch of people, and thereby giving such a surprise to the audiences at my talks!