There it is, my two-hundred word pen portrait of a widow, on page 42 of Mslexia (March 2014 edition). It doesn’t state that it is what it is, but I can assure you, Dear Reader, that that was the brief I wrote to. Of course, vain creature that I am, my piece was the first thing I looked at when I opened the magazine, but then I spotted my tenses in the last line and winced. They say you should read your work aloud. Oh yes, Dear Reader, do do read your work aloud. Or, as a compromise, display it in another font and font size and see how it looks with different line endings. Another ruse might be to check your work by reading it in print… Have I got something wrong here?
Maybe I’m looking at it through rose-tinted glasses, but there was a lot of good stuff in Mslexia this month: about writing as therapy, NanoWriMo, writing synopses, creative writing MAs, promoting your blog, writing a best-seller… as well as the inevitable article on self-publishing. I had subscribed to ‘Writers’ Forum’ for many years and have learned a great deal, but I stopped about a year ago for reasons which can only be described as ‘mixed up’. I was having a bad writing period and, desperate as I was to improve, I couldn’t bear to read other writers’ advice, because it made me feel worse. Each ‘how to’ article made me realise how far my own stories fell short. However, a year on, it was refreshing to read the writer stuff. I’m ready to learn again.