Different mediums for short fiction

Published storiesThis week I received two rather exciting packages in the post, each one containing a small bundle of words. The first to arrive, ’16 Single Sentence Stories’, is a gorgeous little book that does what it says on the tin, and one of the 16 single sentence stories is by me!

I’ve so happy to have my tale ‘A Hushed Space’ included in this very original mini-anthology, and to see my words illustrated by artist K. Sekelsky. ’16 Single Sentence Stories’ is available to buy from http://thechairparade.com/OneSentenceStories/.

The second is issue two of new literary title The Germ Magazine, and features my story ‘Little Blessings’. It’s available to buy from www.germ-magazine.com/issues.html

In other news, my very strange, very short story ‘The Bid’ was published by an online magazine called Cease, Cows. Take a look if you have a mo (or should that be a moo?)! ceasecows.com/2013/07/17/the-bid-by-judy-darley/

It’s always to good to get your work out there, and when that culminates in seeing your words in print, it’s thoroughly satisfying, not to mention motivating!

What’s in a name?

Ovum screen shotOn Sunday I posted Ovum, very short story about a couple finding a mysterious egg on their doorstep and having two very different reactions to their discovery.

The story popped fully formed into my head (though it may not yet be completely finished), but the characters’ names eluded me at first, partly because I couldn’t decide their genders: should the one who wants to mother the egg be the male to turn gender biases on their head or would that be too obvious? In the end I realised I wanted to the reader to address their own prejudices a little, and so gave each character a gender-neutral name, to allow the reader to make up their own mind.

Because what’s in a name is quite a lot. It creates expectations, leads to ideas about a person that they may be unable to, or may not want to, live up to. If you name a character Daisy or Lilly, your readers may expect someone delicate and flowery. However, giving a really tough, forthright character that kind of name works because you are turning any presumptions on their head (the 1990s TV series Drop The Dead Donkey had a character called Joy who neatly subverted expectations by being anything but joyful).

I went to a party a while ago where I met a woman who introduced herself as Bob, and I immediately had the idea she was someone bold, someone to be reckoned with, possibly someone with a wry, intelligent sense of humour.

At the same party a group of people I’d never met before told me my name doesn’t suit me. It’s not the first time it’s been said, and in a way I agree, but it’s the name I grew up with and as someone who didn’t even change her surname when she got married, changing my given name could be a reach too far.

The group of people came up with an alternative name for me: Patricia – pronounced Patris-siahhh. Make of that what you will.

Weekends are for creativity

Bird cr Judy DarleyIt’s been a great, creative weekend. On Friday a fully formed very surreal short story burst into my brain as I was running and made its way out onto the screen and into its first submission by the end of Saturday. To me that’s a good day’s writing!

I finally made my hubla’s birthday and Valentine’s Day cards, and my mum’s (70th!) birthday card, complete with a poem my dad asked me to write as part of her upcoming birthday celebrations.

I received the contract for the piece I sold to ‘ONE SENTENCE STORIES’ anthology – a project that I’m really excited about. My sentence is 110 words long, making it a rather lengthy sentence (hurrah for punctuation) but an extremely short story of love and heartbreak in a library.

And then my short story ‘On The Ledge’ was published as the story of the day at Fiction 365 on Saturday, giving me a warm glow all weekend long. Click here to read my story. It begins with the lines “I suppose, in a way, the dead pigeon did exactly what I couldn’t do for myself, and for that I’ll always be grateful.”

I’d love to know what you think of it!