Dandelion Clocks

I'm delighted to announce that my short story "Dandelion Clocks" has won the 2021 NZSA Graeme Lay Short Story competition. In his announcement on Facebook today, Graeme said: Themes of childhood loss and the possibility of renewal make this beautifully observed and sensitively written story difficult to forget. Thank you, Graeme, and congratulations to the…

Throat Clearing

Today I want to suggest one way you can improve your short fiction. Stop clearing your throat. Throat clearing is what many writers do at the beginning of a short story. They set the scene. They ease us in. But as the name of the concept implies, much of it is an unnecessary and ineffectual prelude to the good…

Our Father

I wrote this story ten years ago, after my father-in-law (at the time) died. I wanted to somehow make sense of my profound feelings at having witnessed his death. It was published in Takahē magazine (a literary journal) in 2013. Today, on Father's Day, I remember Carl Bosselmann, and everyone who has lost a father.…

Flowers

This, for better or for worse, is the "crap but short" story I referred to in yesterday's post. I just sat down and wrote the first thing that came into my head. What emerged was an unintentional mini-meditation on the issues preoccupying me at the moment: love and sadness, regrets and hopes, the dream state,…

The Paperback Collective

A few months ago a very enterprising young woman called Jayde-Ashe (you can visit her lovely blog right here) had an idea. She wanted to establish a monthly online magazine of creative talent, showcasing stories, essays, poems, articles and photographs from contributors around the world. So she did it. And I'm in Issue Four, which you…