M.T. Mathieson's Blog - Posts Tagged "short-story"

I've been fairly quiet for a while. This has been, in part, due to me being busy doing fun, family stuff but there has also been an element of needing to recover.

The Lighthouse took it out of me. The whole process of writing it, and especially editing it, was gruelling. When it was over and I'd finally, reluctantly kissed it goodbye and hit the upload button (ok, buttons because one cannot yet distribute to Amazon and the other major outlets through a single process), I started to wonder why this one had been such a big deal.

I'm not suggesting that I didn't care about the other titles that I've published, I did, and everything I've written has been painstakingly edited. It's just that, this time, painstaking doesn't cover it. I agonized over every sentence. Why was it so painful?

I think the answer lies in the subject, the theme. I had to get it right. Ann Barford is a fictional character but she is a character that I have lived with for a long time.

In order to write a character convincingly, I believe that the author needs to believe in that character. To me, Ann Barford was real. I got to know her, to understand her and to care about her and, finally, to (well, I guess, that would be a spoiler). Suffice to say that on every read through (and that went well into double figures), I cried.

I cared about Ann Barford but I think the reason for that was, at least in part, that I knew that, in the world that I live in, there are thousands of real Anns, going unnoticed and unheard. I had to do them justice. I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I felt the responsibility of avoiding stereotypes and of accurately representing one of the many and varied reactions to childhood abuse without suggesting that it is the only reaction. I hope that I achieved that but, mostly, I hope that the message was clear. Silence may be golden but all that glitters is not gold.

So what now? Well, I'm going to spend a few days reading other people's work. I've got a couple of titles that I need to write reviews for and I'm also part of a working group for the editing process of what promises to be a fantastic novel. I'm also going to be writing a piece of flash fiction for a horror fiction website, by which time I should be ready to get back to work.

The novel is a long way off –– at least a year. In the meantime, there is the anthology of shorts and a series of short stories based around Txt –– more on that later.

Busy times but (to quote a phrase) I'm loving it.
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Published on August 11, 2012 16:03 • 130 views • Tags: character, editing, message, recovering, responsibility, short-stories, short-story, the-lighthouse, theme, writing