To the review. As I say, some OK, some not. Some lovely, generous approval, of stories like Closed Doors, for example. And the title story of which she says,
There are some stories that are soul-grippingly good. Particularly class acts included the title story itself, “Words from a Glass Bubble”, which is a fascinating tale about the strangeness of religion and loss and how every human peculiarity can be used to produce a positive and satisfying result. Characterisation here is both intricate and clear – a special pleasure.
Poor old ‘Tommo’, among others, (see post below) comes in for less good comment.
On the negative side, some of the stories teeter dangerously towards shades of the melodramatic – parts of the already very dramatic “I Can Squash the King, Tommo” seem rather overwritten and the end particularly took me out of the world the author wanted me to stay in at a point in the text when I should have been fully immersed in the tale.
But the most interesting (and puzzling) assertion is that I ‘write for competitions’. I am not sure where that comes from. I have never said it, only done it once myself, and indeed, when I teach, I tell writers not to! My single exception is the flash on ‘lust’ for Small Wonder Festival slam back in 2006. It is on the Small Wonder Website.
This is what she says:
It also struck me as I was reading that some of the stories, especially those in the first half of the collection, had that particular feel of being competition entries that had not been edited rigorously enough to feel entirely at ease at finding themselves in a working collection – I’m not sure I can fully explain what I mean by that concept (and yes, shame on me for that evident failing). Something perhaps about the smoothness, the turn of phrase or the ideas expressed …? I could be wrong here (heaven knows, that happens often enough) but surely there is a difference between a story written for a competition and a story written because it demands to be written, and the writer’s life would be incomplete without it. It may be to do with the passion that every tale should have, and some of these here have a lighter scattering of that vital element than they should.
I would love to be able to ask her, how should one edit a story that happens to have won a comp, for a collection? What does she mean? Make it worse, somehow? I guess I will never know!
The whole Review on Vulpes Libris, HERE.
Anne Brooke blogs HERE and her bio is as follows.
Anne Brooke has been writing for eighteen years and is the author of seven novels, numerous short stories and poems. She was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award in 2006, longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Award in 2005, and shortlisted for the Royal Literary Fund Awards in 2004 and the Asham Award for Women Writers in 2003. In addition, she has twice been the winner of the DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Award. Her GLBT romantic thriller, The Bones of Summer, is available at Dreamspinner Press. Her crime thriller, Maloney's Law, is published by PD Publishing and available from Amazon in the UK and US. In addition, another crime thriller, A Dangerous Man, is also available from Flame Books. Her psychological crime novel, Thorn in the Flesh, and her romantic comedy novel, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice, are both published as eBooks from Bristlecone Pine Press, and are also available as paperbacks from Goldenford Publishers. Her latest poetry collection is A Stranger's Table, which includes poems about mysteries, boats and women. This is available via her website.
Footnote: I was disppointed to see that Anne used the review to bash Salt for their recent Just One Book Campaign. I am not convinced that is strictly relevant to my work!