Writing is a solitary business, on the whole. You sit at a desk, slip into creative mode, and then lock out the rest of the world while you spend time in your own imaginary kingdom. It’s exciting when you’re in full flow, and your characters can keep you company and entertain you, but it can be a touch lonely sometimes, too.
It can get even lonelier if you’re a short story writer. Let’s eavesdrop on one now:
Friend: ‘I hear you’re writing. That’s great! What are you working on?’
Writer: ‘Short stories.’
Friend: ‘Oh… short stories. That’s nice. Ever thought about writing a novel?’
See what I mean?
So imagine my excitement when I heard about an event, taking place in my hometown, which will solve both these problems: the London Short Story Festival. Someone’s already dubbed it ‘Glastonbury for Short Stories’, and that’s pretty much what it is: an entire weekend of events entirely devoted to my beloved form. It’s a chance to learn about, hear, write and share short stories with like-minded crazy people.
And they’ll be workshops with some seriously good writers. I’m doing one with Clare Wigfall on creating characters, and another with Claire Keegan on How Fiction Works. Hopefully some of their magic may rub off on me. I’m going to a few talks, too, as well as breathing in the general air of short storyness that will pervade the building (which, by the way, is Waterstones in Piccadilly, one of my favourite haunts).
It’ll make me feel less like a loon locked in the attic and more like a member of a growing clan, armed as we are with small tales and big ideas. Here’s the website for the festival, which runs from June 20-22: http://www.lssf.co.uk
If you see me, say hello. Or just write ‘Hello’ in your notebook and hold it up. I’ll understand.
*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT* If you’ve got a spare few minutes, give one of my short stories a go. Click on the STORIES tab, or here, and take your pick.