Writing a novel is a tedious process. There’s not much to report on a daily basis. I could tell you about the commas I added, then deleted, the verbs I strengthened, the adjectives I agonised over… my labours are akin to watching paint dry. Sometimes a little instant gratification is needed. Enter, the short story.

2019 is my avowed year of the short story. To kick things off in January I entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Competition ( along with 4500 of my fellow hopefuls) and received my first round assignment. The task was to write 2500 words in 8 days with the folloiwng parameters: genre – fantasy, theme – a blood feud, character – a bartender. The process was write, spellcheck, spellcheck and spellcheck, send off, and wait two and a half months to hear whether I made it through to the next round. Did I say instant gratification?

While waiting for the results, I had a short story published in WQ, the quarterly journal of the Queenslands Writers Centre, and I submitted two other short stories to different anthologies. My New Year’s resolution of at least one short a month is still intact.

The Plucked Duck placed second in its heat, much to my delight, and this weekend I have three days to write 2000 words with genre, theme and character provided at 11.59pm NYC time – hence the moniker.

I will post The Plucked Duck here soon, just need to spellcheck one more time.

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