Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Normal service will resume …

with 3 comments


I had intended to write that, after weeks of feeling as if my head’s not been on my shoulders, life and writing are returning to normal. My muse has peeked out from the recesses of my mind, and descriptive imagery has flitted across my consciousness instead of just lists of things to do. I had planned to pick up the flash fiction baton once again, but I’m not sure I can yet do two things once.

Clearing my late aunt’s house, organising the funeral, liaising with bank, estate agent and family, has taken more of a toll than I had imagined. When I went on holiday in the summer, I itched to be writing, fought not to check flash fiction challenges and read blogs. Over the last couple of months, there has been no time, and I have lost my drive and inclination. The quick-firing neurons that dash off flash fiction stories have turned tail and disappeared. Over the last few weeks I have looked at the prompts, and even scribbled down a few lines, but nothing has fallen into place. If I came up with a story, it wasn’t finished before the challenge deadline.

While my writing has faltered, I have been reading. Following various sources of advice, I have looked for books similar to mine, found agents’ websites, and read books of the authors they represent. Reading for work rather than pleasure has been a release, enabling me to see the author behind the words; where they use a particular word or technique frequently. I gave up on one book when the writer used, ‘It was as if X had read his mind,’ to circumvent character dialogue twice in the first 20 pages. I noticed the plodding, over-bearing language of one historical novel, the continual repetition of another, as if the reader had the memory-span of a goldfish. I cringed at character dialogue designed to let the reader know a character was away at school that was written in such a way it informed the mother who had sent him there. And I got caught up and rushed through a contemporary crime novel, only to groan five minutes after I’d finished. I may be wrong, but are people really imprisoned on confession-only evidence these days? Would only one policeman know that the forensic evidence pointed to self-inflicted stab wounds while everyone else thought otherwise? I just need to adopt the same critical eyes and editorial mindset when I read back over my own WIPs.

I had so many plans at the end of the summer  but all deadlines have been passed. On the positive side, my recent reading has shown me how to end Pippa’s story. Beta-readers were concerned the book ended with a funeral. I have added an extra page or two so the reader can enjoy a happy ending, knowing life goes on. Over the next month, I plan to draft a ‘letter to agents’ and seek comment and advice on that from a friend’s mother, a published writer of many tomes. I will read and edit Pippa and polish it ready to send out come January.

A Year in 200 Words has suffered with me writing 200-words/ day for only two weeks out of the last two months. Still, I have 271 200-word entries and enough emotion and character development to work with in the future. And I have three weeks of December left to write about my character’s impending wedding.

My plan to publish my short stories has gone by-the-by. I might return to it, but for now I do not have the time or energy to commit to self-publishing and marketing. Maybe once the agent-ready draft of Pippa has been sent and is being read and rejected, I might revisit my short stories.

And I hope, slowly, to return to the blogosphere. I have an email account for my writing, separate from the one that copes with day-to-day correspondence. It has been neglected. My blog reading and commenting has been non-existent. Do I yet have the headspace to be able to focus on getting my work published traditionally, AND take up once more the pleasure and challenge of flash fiction? Watch this space.


Written by Sarah Ann

December 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Did I know that your Aunt passed? If not my sincere condolences darling – you have been busy haven’t you. To answer your question..yes I think you do 🙂 xx


    December 7, 2013 at 3:38 am

    • Hi Jenny, Thanks for the answer – no pressure then. And thank you for the condolences. I really must start reading and see how you’re getting on with your celebrating. Celebranting? You know what I mean. Hope it’s going well. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      December 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      • yes I do know what you mean – I have conducted 4 now and quite chuffed with the outcomes. Hope you are doing okay lovely x


        December 10, 2013 at 12:25 am

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