‘Send us 10 minutes of your best writing’
That was the call from the lovely people at the City of Literature Trust, back in May.
Who’d have thought 10 minutes could turn into so many riches.
I didn’t have anything short enough, but despite being unsure whether I could do it, I decided to have a go at editing The Priest and the Snow Bear down from 2,000 to 1,500 words.
I was overjoyed when my story was selected. At last, someone who’d judged my writing anonymously thought it was good enough. Good enough to be read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Along with the 16 others – one of us for each day of the festival – I was invited to a social, took part in a half-day voice coaching masterclass (see Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! post) and had the beginning of my story recorded. You can listen, and read the whole story, here.
During the festival we were all invited to a party. In the Party Pavilion in Charlotte Square, no less. We met Story Shoppers – that’s what we’re called – from previous years. Some of them are published now.
At last the day came and I read my story. I got to spend the day in the Authors’ Yurt. My name was on the screen in the entrance tent and on the board outside the Spiegeltent:
Lots of people came to hear me read – lots of people who’ve been supporting me over the past few years as my writing has become so much more than a hobby.
That’s not the end of it, though. No-one wanted it to be over, so quite a few of us turned up to listen to the final Story Shopper and hang out in the Spiegeltent one last time. One of our number has invited everyone round to her flat next week. And we’ll all be invited to next year’s Story Shop party.
I mentioned riches at the start of this post, and here they are:
- editing was fun, and my story survived the cuts
- working out how to read my work, then rehearsing, made a huge difference. And it was fun, too
- I liked having an audience, and enjoyed reading enormously
- community and support are incredibly important – thank you, thank you, thank you everyone
Those 10 tiny minutes are allowing me to time travel to the future – with new contacts, new ideas and renewed confidence. Who knows what they’ve started, or where they’ll lead.