Trish Nicholson, Graduate at The Writers College

Trish Nichsolson completed the Short Story Writing Course at NZ Writers College in 2010. We tracked her progress in the literary world.

An Interview with Trish Nicholson

What writing successes have you had since completing your course?

I was a finalist in the Winchester Festival 2010 from 3000 entries. I came fourth in the Flash 500 Writing competition, out of entries from 16 countries.

Apart from being shortlisted in the NZ Writers’ College Short Story Competition, another story of mine was recently shortlisted in the H.E.Bates Short Story competition, and will be published in an anthology in Spring 2011.

How did you feel about being a finalist?

Ecstatic – it showed me what was possible, inspired me to write more and better, and keep trying.

You are entering many competitions locally and overseas. Why enter competitions? And what was it like entering an overseas competition?

I select competitions that either give a critique – a great way to develop your skills – or publish an anthology of short-listed stories. Many writers were first published this way. Like sport, competitions make you push yourself to higher standards.

For competitions anywhere you need to research what they are looking for. But competition is fiercer overseas; the Winchester Festival 2010 had 3000 entries. So it’s an exciting challenge. Waiting for results is agony.

Is it easy to submit stories to publications overseas?

It can take more research to find the right publication for your story, but with modern communications, New Zealand can be as central as London or New York for a writer. I explore e-zines as well as hard print publications. But if a story depends too heavily on local references that might not be understood overseas; it will need editing.

What tip(s) would you give other aspirant writers?

  • read as much of your chosen genre as you can find in print and on-line
  • invest in yourself – use professional critiques, writers’ workshops, skill books/magazines
  • participate – in competitions, especially those that offer critiques and anthology publication; in local writer’s groups (if there isn’t one, why not form one), and on-line groups (there are lots that give mutual feedback and share information).

I started doing these while on the course but now I’m ‘out in the world’ I do it even more to stay stimulated and keep improving.

Finally, the BBC’s website  lists and gives links to hundreds of publications that publish short stories of every known genre!

How did the writing course help your writing?

I thought a course would stimulate me to write again; it gave me the self-belief that I needed to keep going.


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