Writing Challenge


I’ve been a member of the Writer’s Carnival for a while now, but mostly I’ve just been a lurker.
I must confess I haven’t always followed the email links to check out what’s going on, especially when I’ve been busy.
Now I’ve determined that – since I can’t afford to join SCBWI – I ought to become more active on sites like this; not just to increase my ‘online presence’, but also to give me much needed practice in my craft.
So when I got the email about this Wednesday’s challenge, I made sure to check it out.
The brief:
To write a flash fiction story, no more than 200 words, that involves winter nights in ancient times.
The top three entries will be paid and published in the January 2015 issue of Reader’s Carnival, with the top entry getting the writer’s name on the cover!
Now most people who know me will assume that I’m attracted by the ‘getting paid’ part, since money is so tight at the moment. I can’t deny that it would be most welcome, though I don’t know what the fee is and assume it is a modest amount.
Yet for me at this point success in this endeavor would have a far more significant impact.
To be able to say that I have something published – even a little drabble like this – and that it was voted by my peers would be very helpful when making my pitches to literary agents. It would be something to encourage them to take me more seriously. Although I am trying to break into the children’s picture book market and this isn’t relevant in terms of content, I believe it could still be a step in the right direction. Not to mention being a boost to my ego!
I have no idea if I stand any chance at all. My little offering is not exactly Booker Prize material. Yet I think it compares favourably with at least a couple of the other entries. I have been given positive feedback so far from other Writer’s Carnival members. The challenge closes on Wednesday 26th November 2014 with the winners announced on Wednesday 3rd December. So I don’t have too long to wait. I’m not getting my hopes up, and if I don’t get anywhere this time, there are other challenges on the site at frequent intervals that I am eligible to take part in. It is all good experience.
Wish me luck friends.
Here is my entry…

Ancient Winter Night Discovery
By Helen Earl

Bright ball gone again.
Sky all dark.
White wet falling.
Ug cold.
Ug hungry.
Ug no find meat.
Too much white wet. All hard now.
Ug sleep in cave.
Cave cold.
Cave dark.
Ug no like.
Ug put sticks in pile by cave mouth. Keep animals out.
Ug put plenty sticks.
Ug lie under furs.
Ug wait for bright ball.
Bright ball come back.
Ug hunt.
More white wet.
Ug hungry. No meat. No small squishy food on trees.
Ug go back to cave when bright ball go.
Ug bring more sticks.
Ug cold.
Ug rub hands. Make warm.
Ug rub stick in hands. Make warmer.
Ug feel stick get hot.
Small bright balls jump in sticks.
Ug scared.
Ug warm.
Ug happy.

What do you think?


Overdue update


I suddenly realized that my last post was to say I had an interview.

Things have been somewhat crazy lately, and I’ve had technical problems with my computer. Some of these are now fixed, others – like the death of my backup drive – are still ongoing.
So I have finally managed to sit down and update this blog.

Sadly, I didn’t get the job.
I think I did reasonably well in the interview, but the phone call said it was a very strong field and they went with someone who came out stronger. I have accepted this and moved on.

OK, I’m going to talk in general from here on about the interview process in the current employment environment – I’m not trying to suggest for a moment that there was anything wrong with the interview I attended or the school itself.
I’m just having a rant, because I know of friends who have had the experience I’m about to describe.

When unsuccessful at interview, a cynic often says ‘they knew who they wanted all along’.
There are times when this is actually the case.
This happens especially {but not exclusively} when there is an internal candidate, but they have to be seen to be going through the proper process in order to comply with all sorts of regulations.
It seems crazy to me that a candidate can apply for a post, that the firm can know they want that person to fill that vacancy, yet they can’t just appoint them. In order to satisfy some sort of keeping it above board rule, the post is advertised. External candidates take the time to fill in an application form, compose a letter, try to ‘sell themselves’ to the company. They get an interview. Maybe take time off from their existing job – often having to use a day of leave – to attend said interview, frequently incurring expense to travel there which isn’t always reimbursed. Experience all the nerves of the interview, and the anxious wait for the phone call/email afterward. When in fact none of them actually stood a chance; it was a fait-accompli.
Surely, this going through the motions is actually the complete opposite of being fair and above board. Nobody in the firm would ever admit it was fixed all along for their candidate to succeed – they would open themselves up to being sued – but everyone knows it happens. {Just like some employers still discriminate on the grounds of age, gender, race etc. despite it being illegal now to do so.} I’ve even known somebody who went for the same internal promotion as a colleague and said they could tell by the wording that the questions were weighted specifically to be prejudiced toward the other candidate.
Wouldn’t it be more honest, and cheaper, to allow companies to employ someone they want without going through the farce of holding interviews with people who have no hope of getting the job?

What do you think?
Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever been the person who got the job this way? How did it make you feel?
Have you been an employer put in this position?
How could the laws be changed to avoid this?

Let me know in the comments below.