Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Ode Less travelled

Though I've published five novels and won a poetry prize, I'd call myself a short-story writer more than any other kind of writer. I think I know my theory when discussing shorts and I do OK as a teacher, but when I write "poetry" it's seat of the pants stuff for me, pure instinct. If it happens, great, but if I "work" a poem I'm as likely to screw it up as make it better.

I recently got hold of Stephen Fry's book on poetry and I'm crawling through it, squeezing in a few pages bewteen teaching, critiquing, and writing shorts.

A Shot from the BT Tower, London

I like Stephen Fry's attitude, and he writes well on the subject. In a perverse way I like reading as a neophyte and actually having to understand fresh stuff. I'll keep you updated on the book.

I have a few poems out there circulating, but if I'm good at any of the word-arts I definitely think shorts are my forte. But if you're less good at one aspect of the art-group, WORK on it. Being a better poet sharpens your short-story skills, being a better shorts writer makes you a better novelist. Never stop working, never stop learning.


Just heard I managed last twelve in Night Train's "Yates" competition. Apart from a last 25 placing at Glimmer Train I've still to do well in US Comps though I've won and placed third in Canada. You can see the third placed story in my blog entry Flash Fiction. Seems there's something about my style that doesn't quite gel with US Editors. Another market to crack!

More Boot Camp News.

Colin Upton wins First Place at Slingink's "Euro" Competition. Details to follow.

As we closed 2005 early these two "hits" count for 2006, so a great start for us in trying to beat 2005's incredible 26 First Prizes. Even with that great start it's going to be very tough.



Anonymous said...

Hi Alex

I'm enjoying the Stephen Fry book - although it is definitely one for dipping into rather than reading from cover to cover.

Going to disagree with you about 'working' on poems. Mine definitely improve if I leave them for a few months and then come back and work on them afresh.

Alex Keegan said...

Hi Caroline

Thanks for dropping in.

I certainly don't mean we SHOULDN'T edit poems. I mean that I am as likely to make a poem worse as I am to make it better. With a short story I can spot a fix from 5,000 yards at midnight, in fog, blindfolded, but with poetry, I have so-ooooooo much to learn. I DO write the occasional good one, have four coming out in Wales in 2006, but my "knowledge" in this field is not a patch on my short-story expertise.