First thing this morning I sent in my entry for the final round in the Whittaker competition. It’s been a lot of fun, this one, with some quite challenging prompts to work with. For the record, here are the ones that I went for (out of a choice of three for each round):
the phone rang at 4 a.m.
stained ground beside Forsbury Chapel
going down an angle so sharp it makes Pythagoras puke
the middle of nowhere sings
nicotine-stained walls and a broken air conditioner
Do you take American Express?
he was always such a quiet boy
on Friday, a duck fell from the sky
See what I mean? That’s the sort of stuff that’s guaranteed to send you off into all sorts of odd directions. Anyway, one piece (“Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions”) has already been published, and one other is currently in competition. The rest will be out there just as soon as I’ve hacked them around a bit. Oh, and I’m currently in fifth place. Can’t see much chance of getting any higher, as I had a couple of duff rounds. You can sit one round out, because only your best eight count, but two’s gonna bring you down. Still, like I said way back when this started (before this blog had even got going) the most important function of a comp like the Whittaker is to force you to generate stuff, and winning it is a secondary issue. (Of course, if I was leading the comp at this point, it is possible that I might have a different opinion.)
And speaking of comps like the Whittaker, its spritual parent, Eurofiction, has just started up again on the SlingInk site. The first prompts went up on Wednesday. So off we go again.
BTW, I spent the rest of today writing stuff for the Grail charity writeathon. Great fun, and lots of interesting ideas bubbling around. I eventually came up with eleven pieces altogether: 8 stories, 2 poems and 1 piece of non-fiction. I’m fairly happy with this, although one of the people there managed to do 35 pieces altogether. I suspect that she is actually an alien with more than one brain. And, of course, the donation page is still open here.