Have you ever thought that writing is like knitting?
Think about it. I knitted these gloves last weekend. See – patterned. My knitting project before them was two pairs of fingerless mittens in rib and stocking stitch on four pins. Before that, lots of garter stitch squares to make up into cat blankets for my nephew cat Angelo. (I’m trying to use up a huge bag of odd balls of yarn usefully.)
Now, if I had been a beginner knitter, that would represent clear progress. Garter stitch with no shaping, to stocking stitch with shaping and extra pins – and then the gloves: stocking stitch, shaping and that cable pattern, and a bit fiddly to sew up. A little bit more ambitious with every project.
Writing can be like that. You might start with a page story of just 1000 words. If that works, you might go for 1200 next. Flushed with success you’ll aim for 2000, then 3000 words or 4000. You’ll try more challenging themes and storylines, and be chuffed as you complete each one.
And then, once you’re feeling both competent and confident, you’ll really stretch your wings, perhaps, and think about writing a serial.
What I want to get you thinking about is holding on to that sense of ambition.
So we’ve published your three-instalment serial – as we have with lots of writers since we ran our competition back in – gosh, when was that? 2015?
It has been really rewarding to see all the new writers coming forward with ideas.
But let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s not be complacent. Now that you’ve cracked the three-instalment format, why not think bigger? Set yourself a new challenge. Could your next story be a wee bit more complex to offer a satisfying read over five instalments? Or seven?
See? Writing is like knitting. Last week: gloves. Next week: maybe a sweater?
The Fiction Team’s Alan has some helpful tips for you about writing serials.