This was my sixth attendance at the annual seminar run by Falkirk Writers Circle for authors from all over southern and central Scotland. Each year usually sees competitions for short story, article and poem with a special additional category. This time it was flash fiction.
One thing that writers must overcome is fear of speaking in public. If you do achieve success in being published, you are likely to be required to promote your own work. The chances are you will have to do book signings or readings in various locations and give talks to all sorts of audiences.
Of course being a good writer doesn't make you a good speaker, so it is very helpful to those who are inexperienced in the latter skill to have practice in reading to an audience of other writers who are going to understand.
To an audience it can be remarkably difficult to follow a story read out by an author who has not yet mastered the art of reading aloud, so it is also helpful that the judges are given time to explain their rankings and what they are looking for in the various competitions.
For some reason I specialise in submitting entries that would have suited last year's judges. All too often I find myself on a track with which this year's judges do not sympathise. I have however a fairly good idea of what I do well, so I have decided to do that every year regardless of who happens to be judging.
Last year that produced a surprising first place in the short story competition with a very experimental story. This year my best result was a perhaps even more astonishing second place in the flash fiction competition judged by Silvie Taylor. I must confess I had thought the classical puns in this little story were far too outrageous for such a competition, so I was very pleased with the result.