Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Not no-man’s-land

I was standing at my bedroom window lamenting the state of my garden with this incessant rain when, in true ‘compare and contrast’ mode, I studied the neighbours’ lawns. Of the three degrees one side sported thigh-high grass wrapped around garden furniture, a giant trampoline and a dozen or so footballs. On the other someone had managed to nip out between showers and give the lawn a lop-sided Mohican. And in the middle?

The middle is in-between, neither rampant nor manicured but showing steady growth and promising success. Not much of an analogy but this is how I see my writing at present: I’m past the starting gate.

When I first attended Leicester Writing School’s critique classes I tried to interpret tutors’ comments. At the time I wanted to target women’s magazines (still trying!) but, although I religiously followed guidelines, got nowhere. In retrospect there were too many tutors addressing different genres.  All had something to give, but they also had a common denominator of ‘good phrase’ or ‘not quite there...’ I would have preferred less ‘tentative’ and more ‘definitive.’ Don’t get me wrong, I learned much.

So why am I happy to be in the middle? It’s all due to Phoenix Writers.

Well, look what you’ve done to me: you’ve made independent editors publish my work and propel me into the middle distance. Neither here nor there? Oh, I’m ‘there’ all right. And I assign all bragging rights to my fellow writers, to the band of serious scribblers who work hard at their craft and are unstinting in their support. We’ve done it with knobs on! (All right, so it’s a cliché!).

Because Phoenix Writers don’t do ‘tentative.’ Because the critique is solid. And because of the group I’ve learned to listen: I hear what isn’t said, good, bad or throw-away.

Unfortunately this has also ruined my coffee-shop experience as covert eavesdropping catches every whisper, expletive and queue commentary.

I shall file that under ‘recycling’!

Krys Wysocki


  1. So pleased to hear your writing is advancing, Krys. A lovely analogy to the gardens and a nicely written piece. Good luck with all your writing endeavours.

    1. Thank you, Liz. There are times when my 'endeavours' succumb to expletives! Thank goodness for writing groups.

  2. Krys, What is it they say, 'you only get out, what you put in' and you do knuckle down to it. And you submit! I really need to take a leaf out of your book.

    Excuse the cliches. ;-)

  3. Thanks, Maria.
    Where would cliches be if they never had an airing?