A stranger to fiction no more

One of the most common questions I am asked about my writing is if it’s fiction or non-fiction. Out of the 169 posts I’ve shared, there are exactly two (this one, and this one) which did not happen exactly as written, although both were inspired by real events.

Writing fiction, as I am sure I have said before, is difficult for me. I used to blame an innate lack of imagination but I think it’s actually a learned behaviour. I’ve spent my whole career as a corporate writer, and journalist, neither sectors that encourage “making it up”.

Still, I persevere because I would like to write long-form fiction some day. Who doesn’t or hasn’t had the dream of writing a book, becoming a famous writer and living the tortured writer’s life complete with a menagerie of dogs and wine and an incomprehensibly messy desk?

So it was with some delight that yesterday I found out that a short story I submitted last month was longlisted out of thousands of entries by the Australian Writers Centre. I’ve written about this competition before, way back in July 2019, so it’s been a long time between entries and I wasn’t very hopeful.

And evidently I was so sure I would not win or make either short or long list, that it seems I deleted my story after submitting it. If my name wasn’t currently published on the website, I wouldn’t believe it. I have searched my laptop, my recent docs, my recovered unsaved files, and turned up nothing. So sadly, I can’t even share the story with you.

It’s not like I’ve won anything but bragging rights, but it means a lot to me that I might, just maybe, have a tiny bit of that special something that means I can turn out words that people want to read for pleasure.

For those interested, Furious Fiction is open worldwide every quarter to anyone aged 17 and older. You have 55 hours to write a story of no more than 500 words that address a changing set of criteria. For September 2022 it was:

  1. The first sentence must contain the word FIFTY.
  2. The story must include a four-legged animal.
  3. The story must include the words EMERGENCY, BRUSH and BOARD.

Being longlisted is maybe the push I need to keep trying my hand at fiction. Perhaps in those stories, the sex is even better than real life 😉

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