Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of her flash fiction magazine, is brought to you by Sarah Grace Logan.
Want to publish your own short stories? This is what I did.
What it is.
After two years of creative drought, in April this year I decided it was time to start writing again.
I’d heard of a group that published short stories in local cafés the year before, but when I went to look they’d stopped running. So, I decided to just publish my own.
The idea behind it is to take great short stories and put them in front of the public. We deliver them to independent cafés and a library, the idea being that they are enjoyed with a tea or coffee, like a slice of cake.
You can download our previous issues free here.
As submissions started to come in, I realised that it was going to be a much more involved and collaborative process than I had predicted.
Many of the original submissions had strong ideas but still needed work, and so I offered the writers detailed feedback with points to work on. The response that I had was amazing; people were extremely grateful to get constructive criticism and direction for improvement. I also really enjoyed the editing process; it’s something I’ve done a lot of in my professional life over the last few years, and I find it very rewarding when I can help a writer to grow.
CAKE.shortandsweet has become more than just a showcase for new writing; it is a literary development organisation, albeit a small one.
Bringing writers together
We now have four issues out, featuring eighteen stories by fifteen different writers.
The next step for us was to create a writers’ group, to help people develop on a wider scale, resulting in the CAKE.writerscircle. We had our first meeting on July 1st and now meet every first and third Sunday of the month in Manchester. The ethos remains the same as with the publication; we will work hard to give writers the chance to develop and grow, and of course offer the chance of publication for any whose work is truly excellent.
We want this to be a writers’ circle with a difference. Rather than doing the same thing every week, we have feedback sessions and timed writing challenges, roleplaying games and worldbuilding exercises, and much more. We want to help people hone all of their writing skills, giving them the chance to work on the weaker elements of their writing, and share advice on their strengths.
We also plan to hold specific workshops giving people the chance to try out poetry or scriptwriting, or something else that they’ve never attempted before. Most importantly we want to create a fun, relaxed, and safe environment for writers to share their work and try out new things.
CAKE.shortandsweet will always remain a non-profit organisation. Any money made from our events is channelled into printing costs. We currently exist on donations and an awful lot of volunteer time from people with full time jobs and studies.
We knew a lot of people wanted to join the writers’ circle but weren’t in Manchester, so next we came up with the Wednesday Write-in, a weekly challenge for writers to practise and get chatting to each other. Every Wednesday we put up five prompts, and everyone has 24 hours to respond if they want to be considered for Featured Writer.
Each week we pick our favourite story, then feature it on the blog with a review. A lot of the writers see it as a competition and some have already been back every week to take part. It’s really friendly and everyone is enthusiastic about giving and receiving advice—I definitely recommend it.
Making a difference
Since beginning the zine, it’s as if I’ve suddenly learned to speak again after years of silence. It stuns me now to look back on the time I’ve spent not writing. I know it’s all down to the post-uni bewilderment that I and so many of my friends fell into, graduating in English and Creative Writing and finding nothing for us out in the world. What we didn’t realise was that if it wasn’t there, we could just make it.
I know that CAKE is going to help me realise my dream of being a writer who has made a difference. I hope I’m not the only one.
Please have a read of our previous issues free on this page.
CAKE was reviewed here by the Fiction Stroker.
Sarah Grace Logan, Author
Sarah Grace is an itinerant scribbler and general layabout. When not busy editing, publishing or marketing, she likes to write about all sorts of goings on, through the medium of short stories, novels and scripts. One of these days she might get her head around poetry, but it won’t be any time soon. She is currently editing a novel which she intends to self-publish in the new year.
You can find more details about her ongoing projects, thoughts and photographs, not to mention a selection of free stories up for grabs on her blog. She likes feedback, in whatever form it comes.
Thank you, Sarah!… and Sarah kindly published two of my flash fictions in issue no.3.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with crime and short story author, and Flash Fiction Fridayer Travis J Eaton – the four hundred and ninety-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.