Blackberry Crumble – the path to publication

Today my (long) short story ‘Blackberry Crumble’ is launched on Kindle as part of ‘Off the KUF Volume 1’, an anthology produced for and on behalf of the Kindle Users Forum: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GDLGTCS/ and http://www.amazon.com/Off-KUF-Volume-Fiction-Kindle-ebook/dp/B00GDLGTCS

To mark the occasion, I thought I would write a little about the processes of writing and editing that led up to publication of the story.

Calling the way I wrote ‘Blackberry Crumble’ a process is not entirely accurate. In fact, it was just about as organised as the rest of my life tends to be. It wasn’t intended to be a short story in the first place but a short play with songs, which I originally wrote a few years ago and which I vaguely hoped might be performed somewhere one day. I think with hindsight this was always extremely unlikely to happen as I would never have been able to persuade a theatre group to attempt it, with its cast of singing and dancing senior citizens and its rather demanding set requirements involving the café and the street just outside. The props team would probably have taken out a contract on me because of the amount of food and drink required on stage, and the songs might very well have proved impossible to sing. But when I was reviewing the unpublished material on my computer I realised I might be able to convert it into a short story.

Obviously I was able to use much of the dialogue from the original play, although to my alarm the word count grew almost exponentially as I went along – partly because you can’t have long sections in a story with just dialogue, unless you’re Hemingway, that is. Lesser writers don’t have the confidence to assume readers will know which character is talking! Then there were the actions, which had to be filled out from basic stage directions – ‘exit stage left’, for example, had to be translated into something like ‘Linda marched back into the kitchen’ or ‘Ben rushed upstairs, desperate to get away’ or ‘Logan hustled Senga out of the cafe without another word’.

Then there was the editing process. I had never worked with an editor before so I was quite nervous about this. Would David, who did the editing, want large chunks rewritten, or would he ask for so many changes that the whole sense of the story would be destroyed? Fortunately neither of these things happened. Most of the edits were aimed at making sure all the stories in the anthology had the same style of punctuation and layout, and only a few affected the storyline itself.  I could see that these were improvements so I immediately agreed to them. This part didn’t take very long, but with 30 contributions from 25 writers to get through, David with his small and highly-skilled team of assistants put in a huge amount of work overall.

With a cover designed by another member of Kindle Users Forum, Katie, we’re all ready to go! I’m confident that this anthology represents excellent value for money, and that it will introduce everyone to writers they haven’t come across before.  I hope if you do treat yourself to this you will thoroughly enjoy it.

PS Here’s an alternative link that will take you to your ‘own’ Amazon store: http://authl.it/B00GDLGTCS?d

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