Rose Foster meets Ronnie Lyndon when she begins a master's degree in Cambridge. A relationship blossoms. Rose is still reeling from the death of a beloved aunt. Is life now on the up? Just when she thinks it might be, Rose is plunged into a terrifying situation.
(3) Point of View
Is this the biggest bugbear of the lot? Are you irritated, like me, by readers who raise an eyebrow at any change of viewpoint? By those who say, “I was just getting interested in Kate when Hugh poked his nose in”? Or worse: “The whole thing should be told from Harry’s viewpoint”? Perhaps you feel like retorting, as Ian McEwan did to Philip Roth in another context, “But that’s the novel you would write; it’s not the novel I want to write.”
(2) Show don’t tell
I’ve been thoroughly irritated by this advice ever since an agent accused me of ignoring it. It seems to me a neat formula trotted out blithely. So I want to examine and challenge it. First, is the distinction between showing and telling as clear as this maxim suggests? We might concede that we see a kind of distinction here, but is it easily spotted? Showing is surely a form of telling and vice versa; the two blend almost imperceptibly. Open any piece of fiction and I guarantee you will find long passages where the line between showing and telling is blurred almost to the point of invisibility.
‘Revenge’ – our latest short story collection has been assembled by Siobhan Carew, our Secretary, and Thure Etzold, our Website Controller. It is available on Amazon as an e-book priced at £2.99 or a paperback.
(1) Write about what you know
I’ve long thought of writing a series of pieces for the newsletter on contentious issues in writing. So I’ll begin with the above. For me, the problem here is the suggestion that we should confine ourselves to writing about what we’ve actually experienced. But surely much of what we “know” comes to us through our imagination. If we were to confine ourselves to the former there would be no historical fiction, no fantasy and a huge reduction in crime fiction. The loss of the first might suit some, but would be unfair to the likes of Hilary Mantel, Marguerite Yourcenar, Guiseppe de Lampedusa, while the lopping of crime fiction, which might bring some benefits, could rob us of fine novels by P.D. James, Raymond Chandler and Dostoevsky. I’ve no idea what these writers “knew”, but I’m willing to bet that many crime novelists have never so much as seen a corpse, much less committed or investigated a murder.
From our juror of this year's competition, Ingrid Jendrzejewski: "First of all, huge congratulations go out to everyone who submitted a story to this year's Cambridge Writers' Short Story Competition. The overall quality was exceedingly high – much higher, on average, than most other competitions I've judged. I found something to admire in every single story submitted, and I found it incredibly difficult to pare down my longlist to only three prize-winners and three commended stories. I suspect this is partly down to the wonderful community that Cambridge Writers fosters!
Simon L’etoile: Black Widow & Me is the story of a fictional rock band from the 1980s. It is told as a memoir, through the eyes of the lead singer, Simon L’etoile. Following the band and its members through touring and recording, to great success when they play festivals and have chart hits – but then hit the rocks with a bang!