Slap 'n' Tickle

Today is the first Wednesday of the month:  Insecure Writer's Support Group blog! The IWSG is a safe place for writers to express their fears and insecurities in a supportive environment. Join us at  www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com And don't forget to sign up for the IWSG Newsletter - it's filled with great advice written by writers for writers. 

Thanks to the IWSG for the probing question this month. I really liked this question. It is important to reflect back on what we've learned on our writing journey and how much we've improved since those first words.

Question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

Location: Chez Castillon, France

Purpose:  Residential Short Story Writing Course

First piece of writing as an aspiring writer: Slap ‘n’ Tickle – Tally Belle has to give the presentation of her life in order to save her cosmetic business. But, as throughout Tally’s life, mishaps and mayhem always arise. 

Presenting my first story to my course tutor: It was 17:00 - time to read the story I’d written that afternoon. My heart clanged like a twenty-eight ton cathedral bell. I took a sip of wine, and I began.

Laughter in the right places – a good sign. I read to the end and then breathed again, and took another slurp of wine. Critique time – gulp! 

My character was likeable, the plot solid but some of the reality that I’d slipped in from experience didn’t quite ring true to others. But if it really happened, surely it was believable? Errr… apparently not. This was a tough lesson to learn but I did learn – a great book that helped me was by Lynne Hackles: Writing From Life.

Where is the story now? In my short story file, still waiting for a re-write. I'm not sure if I'll ever get round to doing it but it always smiles at me when I visit the file.

Happy writing and a huge thank you to the IWSG for the fantastic newsletter this month!

Comments

  1. Even if you leave it in the file, you learned a lot. That is why I like writing shorts. It's an excellent way to try new techniques or writing devices. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I love it too :) I'm currently working on a Garden Story for the WEP Challenge :)

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  2. You got through it and survived! Ironic how reality isn't believable sometimes, isn't it?

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    1. It is strange. I know I'm not the only one who has experienced that. Thanks again for highlighting my book in the Ninja News :)

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  3. It sounds like your first piece was a hit! Good job!

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  4. That's the kind of first story that will do wonders for your confidence down the line. I can't imagine the pressure. I would have had trouble coming up with a title in that short of time, let alone a story that was coherent. I salute you, Nicola!

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    1. Aaww, thanks Ken. It was stressful but well worth it. Learned so much from some great writers during that time :)

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  5. I think you should dust it off and see if you can make it even better.

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    1. Talking about it today has kind of sparked the interest :)

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  6. Reality is never realistic. I'm sure you'll get around to it someday. And maybe make it less realistic? :)

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    1. I do try :) Hope all is well with you.

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  7. What fun memories! I can only imagine how terrifying it was. The last time I read my work live in front of people was in high school...which means I probably should get out and do it again. Whew. Terrifying.

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    1. I was surprised at how nervous I was. The wine helped :)

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  8. Your first story sounds fun. Don't give up on it. Yep, that is the tough part about critique groups. Sometimes people can be brutal, but if something really happened in real life, it is already believable and you should definitely use it, if others agree or not. You are wonderful. Don't give up.

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    1. I won't give up, Murees :) I'll hold my sword up high and fight to the end :) Thanks so much for your everlasting encouragement! Means a lot. Hope you are doing well :)

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  9. I loved how you created this post. It pulled me right in and made me want to know all about that first piece of writing. Did it happen to be written in French? Just curious. The title was great!

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    1. Non :) That's about as much French as I know :) Thanks so much for visiting. Glad you liked the title :)

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  10. If it smiles at you when you visit the file, you should rewrite it one day. The fact that the character was likable and the plot was solid is an excellent start.

    Like C. Lee, I like how you made this post unique. It was fun.

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  11. It's funny how a story needs to be believable, but real life does not.

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  12. I do hope you revisit this! Best wishes, my dear.

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    1. Thank you, Darla. I will one day :)

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  13. I love the title! You must have learned so much and I love that they enjoyed what you read to them

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  14. Great post! I wish I'd had some wine at my first critique group reading. It was a disaster. So funny that you mentioned the nonfiction truths you added to your story were questioned as being not very believable. I had the same experience with a story I finally discarded. It seems my fiction is more believable than my nonfiction writing.

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    1. I think that's why my story stayed in the file. But I've learned so much since then so who knows? :)

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  15. Reading in front of others can be tough. I remember when I joined Drama Club just to drop in smack dab of in no time having to do a group performance at a gospel concert. I was shocked since I just expected mini school plays but I practiced with my group and it turned out to be great. That was one of my most memorable moments of 8th Grade.

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    1. So pleased you have such fond memories. It's so great to work as part of a group. Congrats!

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  16. I could picture you there reading the story! Glad you kept it and that it still makes you smile.

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    1. I hope my brummie accent wasn't too strong :) Thanks for stopping by Suzanne.

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  17. Hi Nicola - sounds like a fun idea created on the spur of the moment - and as you say you've learnt lots from that experience and others. So glad you're thinking of pulling it out and giving it the editing eye over ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. I have fond memories of the experience - even though I must have cried in my room every day :)

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  18. Interesting to read about your first piece of writing, Nicola. It 's easy to forget how scary it is, the first few times you read out, isn't it? (Actually, that fear never completely goes away but I think it gets easier!). Thanks for the tip about the Lynne Hackles book. I've just ordered it from Amazon!

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    1. I hope the book is as useful for you too :) Lynne Hackles is an expert. I do love her work :)

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  19. I like that the story always smile back at you when you look at it. Maybe one day you'll take it out and revise and submit.
    It was interesting that you wrote it in France. I love France and writing in there adds a dreamy element to what I write.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Thanks, Pat. One of the stories in my new book is based in France too :) It was a super time.

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  20. It's awesome that you were in France taking a writing course and nice that you got mostly positive feed-back. I'm going to have to check out the book, Writing From Life.

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  21. I love this month's question prompt and reading about everyone's first piece of writing and what they've done with it. It's great that you learned so much from yours. Who knows, maybe it will find it's way back out of that file one day.

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  22. If that story still makes you smile, won't it make others? Consider dusting it off and resubmitting.

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    1. Yeah, you're right. Maybe I'm being a bit selfish :)

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  23. Not only had to write the story but read it aloud in class? Double yikes! Congrats for successfully accomplishing both.

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  24. I love your presentation!

    You should think about revisiting Slap 'n' Tickle...with fresh eyes...

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. It's looking like I'm going to revisit it after all the great comments :)

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  25. Isn't if funny how real life can be stranger than fiction. Maybe one day you'll decide to revise it. Happy writing!

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    1. Thank you, Cherie. It is strange and took me a bit to get used to it.

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  26. It sounds very deserving of a rewrite. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. Turn it into memoir...
    Yeah, doesn't it suck when something that really happened is unbelievable. Deep sigh.

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    1. Deep sigh alongside you, Liz :) Thanks for popping over.

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  28. I hope you do rewrite it and get it out there :-) xx

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  29. My first pieces weren't published and rightly so. The first piece I was really proud of was - and it's still one of my favourites.

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  30. It's great you still have that story. I hope you rewrite it one of these days. :)

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  31. First writing? Mine was probably done in crayon:) I liked writing about Winnie the Pooh, so I guess fan fiction was where I got my start;)

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    1. Winnie the Pooh is the greatest. What a way to start :)

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  32. Hi Nicola. It was great to read more about your writing journey. All the best. I'm making my way through your shorts!

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  33. Those filed away stories are so important, because they're the building blocks of future stories. Re-writing might be interesting. I've had some good success with re-writing stories I thought were long dead - sometimes just a sentence, or essence, of the original story remains, but I still call it a re-write.

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    1. I'll give it a go, Annalisa. Thanks for the encouraging words :)

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  34. Love the way you presented your memory. And it's so true, you write the truth, as fiction, sure, but then the truth of it is questioned. It huts, but it something you learn as you go. I tried to defend some of my stuff to an editor who didn't believe it either. She was very snide in her remarks. Nasty remarks about someone's writing doesn't fit in editing. Ever!
    But as you say lesson learned.

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    1. I was lucky that no nasty remarks were made. The critique, even though it stung at the time, was said very tenderly :) Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda.

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  35. If it still makes you smile, it sounds like a keeper.

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  36. Isn't that interesting, how real life sometimes seems strange to people when told as fiction? How brave of you to read your story aloud!

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  37. My first story was for the online writing course I did. Recently, I re-wrote it and sold it to a magazine. Nothing is wasted.

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