The Literary Festival in Budleigh Salterton gets bigger and more popular each year. CWC member, Margaret Barnes went along to some of the sessions this year. Today, she tells us about one of the events she attended. And at the end, she has some news of her own too.
Keeping it Short
“Most writers agree that writing short stories is one of the most difficult writing forms. Two writers, Kirsty Gunn and Chris Power were to talk about how they make their stories complete and compact whilst drawing you into the tale. I was hoping to get some clues as to how to write short stories, a form I am not happy with. Instead both writers talked about their latest books.
Kirsty Gunn has written both short stories and novels. Her latest being a novel, Caroline’s Bikini. She said she found no difference between writing the short form or a novel – she used the same method, writing one short story after another. In Caroline’s Bikini, which is a book about writing a book, she keeps avoiding the action, leading the writer on to expect something to happen. She was interested in real lives and how imagination can transform everyday life. Fiction gives us the ‘a world on a page’ and allows the reader to get behind the reticence human beings display. She read a few pages from her novel which has footnotes to actively engage the reader
Chris Power’s book of short stories, Mothers, began with an anecdote his mother-in-law had related and when he began to think about mothers he found the real people more complex than the traditional image. The stories all concern mental health which he examined with a ‘cold eye.’ There are three stories about the same character at different stages of her life. He hadn’t considered them as a novel.
So I didn’t learn much about how to write short stories and it didn’t turn me into a fan of them either, but I bought Caroline’s Bikini and discovered another writer whose book I loved. “
Margaret’s New Book
Congratulations to Margaret on the launch of her exciting new novel, Reluctant Consent. A follow-up to her first book, Crucial Evidence, which has recently been re-launched with a stunning new cover, it brings us once again into the overlapping worlds of barrister, Cassie Hardman, and detective, Alexis Seymour, and tackles some tough issues including rape and racially-motivated murder.