Story Starter: Fag Ends

Something a bit different as a Story Starter image this week. More specific. And slightly disgusting, actually. I hate it when people just leave a mess behind themselves like this.

But let’s look past that prejudice. When I saw this mess in the car park, it didn’t look like the usual thing of the driver emptying out his ashtray. (A gross habit.)  Having a head full of stories and fiction, I thought it looked like a stake-out….You know, the guy – or girl – in the car, binoculars, camera, flask of coffee, a litter of sandwich wrappers…. Keeping watch. Chain smoking. Chewing gum. Perhaps nicotine gum? And it’s not working?

It’s probably not that, of course. Maybe it was a couple who’d arranged to meet at the car and one was late. Or they were meeting at the car and one was particularly nervous. Maybe the driver was going somewhere special: a graduation, a wedding, to see the bank manager…

Our reading progress

I’ll finish there and use a few words just to let you know where we’re at in manuscript reading terms. We’re slap bang in holiday season just now, which inevitably has an impact on our reading progress. I’m reading March subs on my own pile. I reckon I’m in April on the team’s pile, a little bit slower on serials that aren’t actually scheduled or in their later instalments yet. It’s all a question of prioritising.

And going back to the subject of short stories, we are receiving more than ever. There’s no doubt that the changes at Woman’s Weekly are having an effect on us, too. (And I’ll come back to that in a later post.) So do bear with us, please. We’re all reading as fast as we can. And I’m sure you don’t begrudge us our well-earned breaks. The thing about the holiday season, though, is that you all have breaks, too, which generally gives us the chance to catch up a bit. Enjoy!

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.