Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Blogger Margo Benson

Today is another great guest blogger for our Short Stories Series.

Margo Benson lives in beautiful, rural North Devon and works as a make up artist, jewelery artist and holistic therapist. She also sings in a three piece medieval/folk band called the 'Three Ravens'. How cool is that?! She feels that her passion for writing overtakes everything else and is currently working on short stories, long stories and poems galore! She writes contemporary romance and plays with paranormal.  Some of her flash fiction stories have been published on and she dreams of having her NaNo novel being made into a film starring Dame Judi Dench and Helena Bonham Carter.

You can read an interview with her HERE.

Thank you so much, Charity and Rosie for inviting me to guest post about short story writing on your blogs, I’m delighted to be here.

I love reading short stories and I love writing short stories! I always have a book of them alongside anything else I’m reading. They don’t have to be read in any particular order and can often be consumed in one sitting. I find I can dip my toes into otherwise ignored genres without the commitment to a longer book.  I have two on the go at the moment, one insect related horror, the other, stories of modern China.

I haven’t been a serious writer for very long and wasn’t sure whether I should (or could) distract my mind from the full-length novel currently in progress. I found I couldn’t resist, though! I find short story and flash fiction writing cathartic, experimental and fascinating. My main genre is romance but writing these smaller pieces has unearthed several other ‘voices’ from within. My flash fiction includes poignant moments and dialogue, which have come from observations that wouldn’t find a home in my romance writing.

I hadn’t long started my novel when another character popped into my head demanding attention. This one had paranormal aspects – no place for her in my countryside romp! Her voice, along with her world and her liking for cooking has become The Sybil Chronicles, short stories, each culminating in a recipe which, I hope, will form a collection of it’s own one day.

At first I felt guilty abandoning my gorgeous hero and heroine with their anxieties to go and have fun over in Sibyl’s world, but it was no good sitting there with my mind in two places. Once I released Sybil, all kinds of new wonders emerged from my writing, all for the better. I know this won’t suit everyone but my writing has become fuller since giving myself permission to go off and explore shorter projects.

What I love about the short story is sparse prose. One of my very early pieces was for a blogfest and was limited to 700 words.  I found the discipline so good for my style and vocabulary.  A limited word count in which to convey a whole tale is a fun exercise and can often be the taster for something bigger in the future.

I also take part in a weekly Haiku/Senryu challenge. Creating an atmosphere in 17 syllables is another wonder in my writing life.  Sparse writing indeed! 

I’m a member of a three-piece band and we have started to write our own material. One band member had written a verse, bridge and chorus of a potentially beautiful song and thrust the words toward me saying, ‘Go on, you write the rest!’ I’ve never written a song before but I called upon my Haiku experience, picked appropriate words for the story, fitted them to the rhythm (I had to make rhyming couplets too!) and was happy with the tale I had to tell in short verse and definite syllables.

Blogfests and challenges do take up time in a writer’s life but I have found such experiences in flash fiction and short story writing to be as important and useful as writer’s workshops and conferences. The short story can propel an idea, which had no outlet otherwise, ‘out there’ and give the writer free rein for exploration. 

Until a few days ago I wouldn’t have thought I was capable, let alone eager, to write horror. I dropped some beads on the landing at the top of the stairs and one looked slightly different from the rest…..hmm….I’m thinking a flash story of something nasty lurking in the bead box……..


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, it's been such a pleasure to come over here!


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