Happy 2016!

I wonder how many of us have made New Year Resolutions? I’m guessing that for you writers it’s to write more, or more regularly, or in different genres or for different outlets. For aspiring writers I hope it’s to be sure to write and not just talk about it!

Me? Mine is to be tougher and expect more. That means that the fiction team are going to become even pickier, asking for more rewrites when a story is good but has the potential to be great. Instead of liking stories, we want to love them! We’re going to be pushing you writers to be the best that you can be.

And what will we be looking for amongst all these brilliant stories? Perhaps it was due to a shortage of writing time in the run up to Christmas, but we’ve not been getting as many longer stories as usual. You know, the ones of 3000 3500 words. We use 2 x 3000-word every week in the weekly, and 4 x 3000 in each three-weekly special, so demand is high. On the other hand, you have responded wonderfully to my appeal for 2000-word stories, and a plentiful supply of them is coming in. Please don’t stop!

We’re seeing some satisfyingly different ideas coming through, too, which is rewarding. It tells me that our message is getting across. I read one this morning with such an unusual academic backdrop that it was only in hindsight I realised the story itself was a conventional love triangle. Clever writing and creative thinking: they can make such a difference.

I’ll mention our workshops again, just while the booking form is still available in this week’s issue. But I’m also interested to hear from you. This round covers London, York, Glasgow and Dundee, but when I start planning more for autumn, where else would you like to see us hold them?