You’ve laboured over pages of poetic prose, witty dialogue, charismatic characters only to dissect, cut and strip the whole tortuous chronicle into a readable story. Hurrah! Now comes the hard bit. Your letter to prospective agents/publishers/magazine editors. Even the most fluent of writers hit a brick wall when faced with writing The Letter. But never fear, a quick search in the Wonderful World of little Webmen brings up a whole host of guides, tutorials and templates for The Letter. But I have come across something worse. The Picture. And I’m not talking about illustrations.
Browsing through a womans magazine I came across a competition for a short story. Perfect, I thought, having spent the summer writing several short stories which were quietly lurking in a corner of the hard drive on my laptop. I dusted off a suitable one, do a little editing, do a lot of cutting (maximum of 700 words) and very happy with the result. I read the entry rules and as well as the usual required information they would also like a good quality photograph. Hmm. Shouldn’t be to difficult, I’m sure I have one somewhere. I search my laptop and yes there are plenty of photos of me. Only I’m pulling a funny face in this one, not professional. I’m wearing huge sunglasses in another, that would be hay fever season. Why does everyone feel the need for hugs when a camera is pointed in my direction? I’m holding a giant eagle-owl in this one. A giant teddy bear in that one. There might be something more suitable on my social media pages, something that demonstrates my professional integrity and seriousness as a writer. Ah yes, here’s one. I am wearing a pair of black wings and there is theatrical blood oozing from my mouth. It was a really good Halloween party but somehow I don’t think suitable for a womans housekeeping magazine. Yes and there are more pics of me in fancy dress with blood oozing from my mouth. And more people hugging me. And one taken of me, after consuming copious amounts of champagne, with a crazed look in my eye as I am about to gamble my last £10 note on a three-legged horse in the last race at the Epsom Derby.
If a picture says a thousand words, mine are speaking volumes.