2 Years Rewriting Short Story

close up of September Quadrant magazine cover

My short story On Valentine’s Day appears in the September Quadrant available now in newsagents and good book stores. It took two years of rewriting before the story was accepted for publication. In Friday’s mail I received my contributor’s copy and a generous cheque. My name is on the front cover. Always a thrill. It took many years of my stories appearing in Quadrant before my name made it to the cover 🙂

The first paragraph of On Valentine’s Day reads:

You had to get out of them occasionally, those Australian country towns with the funny names:  Wagga Wagga, Wee Waa, Woy Woy. Once, after a devastating week wiped out more than $4 trillion from the global stock exchanges, one of the local papers boasted a banner headline:  WAGGA WAGGA WOMAN WEDS WOY WOY TOY BOY. You had to make an effort from time to time to get out, even if it meant flying all the way across the Nullarbor to go to a Valentine’s Day party.

 

My critique group will recognize the first paragraph. We meet weekly at the New South Wales Writers Centre to give and receive feedback on two pages of our writing. I brought sections of the 4,000 word On Valentine’s Day many times to the Women Writers Network at the Centre. Two dear friends also read the  story and commented. Very much appreciated. More than once my two friends read the whole of On Valentine’s Day and offered constructive criticism. I couldn’t have got the story to a publishable standard without my writing group and my two friends. Lucky me.

Quadrant is a highly regarded literary magazine: http://quadrant.org.au/september-quadrant-now-sale/

Quadrant blue magazine cover

I can’t emphasize enough how useful it is to have a weekly writing group. I work to that deadline. We take a couple of pages each and have 12 minutes to read and receive feedback. I think of it as ‘off Broadway’ and ‘on Broadway’.  Famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Woody Allen say they test their material out on an ‘off Broadway’ audience before performing ‘on Broadway’.

picture of the New South Wales Writers Centre with trees in foreground
New South Wales Writers Centre

What about you? Are you in a writing group? Do you find it useful?

9 thoughts on “2 Years Rewriting Short Story

  1. Congratulations, Libby!! 🌼🌸 A very esteemed publication and you’ve done brilliantly with your story. Your writing group sounds wonderful and so supportive – with valuable critical and considered comments that have helped you so much. I am a member of a lovely writing group with some great characters and varied writing ability. Alas it has become more of a social occasion and listening to pieces rather than actual critiquing…still I have an enjoyable time. Oh, I love the start to your story and such terrific place names!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Annika. your congratulations are much appreciated. yes, i am lucky to have a writing group that is able to give constructive feedback. writing and critiquing are such different skills of course. not everyone is able to see and then articulate what is not working in a piece of writing. we have 14 in our group, and it is only one or two, or two or three who have the confidence, experience and ability to give useful feedback, or any feedback at all! we only need one person who relates to our work to help us. i do my best to help others too, but am always aware of being very careful of what i say. us writers are such sensitive creatures. thanks for the comment. Libby

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think face-to-face meeting is important? Or is there value in joining an online group (if such a thing exists). I have never been involved in either. And how important is it to find people whose aims and writing style is compatible with your own?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. no, i don’t think face to face is necessary. whatever works for you. but, as you know, writing is subjective, so you have to be careful who you listen to. i think the compatibility comes in only in regard to whether your readers relate to your writing. in my experience, it doesn’t matter who they are or what kind of writing they produce, it’s if they are sympathetic to my work and can understand what i’m trying to say. thanks for responding to my post. let me know how you go, if you do take that step and join a feedback group.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Libby. I suppose, in the end, it boils down to a matter of trial and error; and having courage and perseverance; and being thick-skinned. In fact, the same qualities one needs to pursue publication.

        Liked by 1 person

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