Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Monthly Archives: November 2012

5 Minute Fiction Christmas competition

I have won 1st prize in the 5 Minute Fiction Christmas competition.  My story will appear on the website on 1 December.



The Fiction Desk new collection: ‘Crying Just Like Anybody’.

On 20 November, The Fiction Desk releases its new short fiction collection, entitled ‘Crying Just Like Anybody’.  This includes a story by me called ‘Can We Have You All Sitting Down, Please?’  Some of you will see a resemblance to Raymond Carver in this title.  


 This is the third printed book my work has appeared in.  It took me five attempts to get a story accepted by this outlet, which I don’t think is too bad.  I don’t know any of the other contributors to this collection, other than through a few messages on Twitter.  When ‘Slow Dance With A Skeleton’ won 2nd prize in the Grist Short Fiction competition in 2011, there was a launch party at the Huddersfield Literary Festival.  This time there is no launch party, but I would expect that the collection, which will also be available to download in Kindle format, will reach a wider audience than the Grist collection did. 

‘Slow Dance With A Skeleton’ and ‘Can We Have You All Sitting Down, Please?’ are very different stories.  I don’t just mean that the characters, setting and plot are different.  I mean that the way I came up with the ideas and wrote them are different.  SDWAS gained its title from a chance remark made by my son, Jared, as we were preparing a room for a Hallowe’en party.  It struck me instantly as the title of something, but I did not know what.  I kept it in my notebook and it started to crystallise during a creative writing course I took with the Open University.  The story is a very selective re-telling of relationship events, most of which actually happened.  I just re-arranged them in order to make a story.  CWHYASDP is entirely fictional.  In technique and style, I think it is the better of the two.  SDWAS covers much too long a span of time for a short story.   The main part of  CWHYASDP is over in less than an hour.  It is partly an attempt to emulate Raymond Carver, and to “get out quickly” from a story.