What The Judge Is Looking For In Your Short Story

If you don’t know yet (gosh where have you been?) there’s an ongoing short story writing competition organised by MPH. If you know about it, you will surely know that the deadline for submission is 31 March 2009.
I got to know of this through Derek (as always, the footie fan keeps me updated on movies and books and now, writing competitions).
Derek is always urging, no, egging me to write that fabulous story of all time. Derek dear boy, I am on a race to find that bloody muse of mine. I don’t know if she’s gone for good or if she only re-appears when it is 2 days to the deadline. Somehow, if I haven’t thanked you, I thank you (Derek, not the muse) for somehow egging me along on my writing adventure.
I don’t know what’s worse – not finding my muse OR finding out that my ex-creative writing lecturer (and present client) is going to be one of the judges of the MPH Alliance National Short Story Competition!
Robert Raymer (of the Lovers and Strangers Revisited fame) will be one of those people judging the submissions! Arrrrrgh.
But he does give a lot of clues as to what sort of stories he is looking for. The kind of best-of-the-best stories. Not soppy. Not cliched. Not rehashed from movies we like. Not set in Paris or LA. Not another drama of Wah Lai Toi.
If you are in Sarawak or Miri to be precise, you can ask Robert all the silly questions of writing as he’s going to hold a workshop on 8 March. Lucky you.
Or hop over to his blog and fire away.
It’s a lovely long post on what judges are really looking for in a damn fine story but Robert tells it best. Plus the downloadable entry form is also on his blog.

Turning Life into Stories

If you’re a closet writer (like me lah) and want to learn from a real writer for free (and get to ask all those burning questions on writing short stories etc), do make yourself free for Robert Raymer is coming to Penang this Merdeka weekend.
He will be doing a whirlwind promo tour of Penang to promote his new book, Lovers & Strangers Revisited. (He lives in Kuching, by the way).
Tomorrow he will be at Institut Perguruan Persekutuan P.Pinang from 9 am to conduct a workshop on “Writing Narratives and ‘Neighbours’: Making Choices” This is open to the public.
You can also catch him at MPH Gurney Plaza at 3pm tomorrow where he’ll teach you how you can turn your ideas into short stories, using examples from Lovers and Strangers Revisited.
Finally, if you’re still keen to learn more from the man who recently won 4th place in the 2008 USA National Writers Association Novel Contest, you can still meet him on Sunday (Hari Merdeka) at the Little Penang Street Market. He’ll be selling books at one of the stalls and giving a reading at Segrafedo at 12 noon.
I’ll be there as a friend and supporter as well as pick up a few writing tips myself.
So if you love writing and want some tips to hone that craft of yours, make a date with Robert this weekend!