Kelvin M. Knight

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

William Shakespeare

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ShieldShort Stories In A Year (SSIAY)

The year is 2012. In this year I set myself a challenge: as this is the ‘year of the short story’ for one year I would write nothing but short stories. By short, I mean stories of less than two thousand words. By write, I mean start a new story or take one of my favourite stories and reduce it from five thousand words to those lean mean fighting machines of less than 2K words. Always good practice. Editing, not fighting. Short stories are about brevity and economy of expression.

At the end of this year, I find not only have I written some short stories of more than two thousand words but I have also started a new novel. Phew. Oh, and I commenced an MA in Creative Writing. What a year. This anthology is the result of my labours.

Story Genres - Where to start? What kind of stories does this intriguing cover portray? Humorous? Definitely. With the shield, and posing knights, are there medieval tales? There is certainly the odd short or two dedicated to my avatar’s namesake, yes. Fantasy stories, trips to the moon? Yes, yes. Science fiction yarns rocketing alongside scenic countryside romps? Those, too. And the candle? Romantic tales? Absolutely.

The only thing this anthology does not contain is a sporting short but I shall rectify this later with a metaphor. Promise. Lastly, the ‘Keep On Keeping On’ motto. Much thanks go to Wendy EAvatarsdmond, for this motto hangs around the neck of the knight in shining chain mail who watches over my computer. Honestly.

Right, now the cover is out the way, let’s get down to business. Have I convinced you to... What? Never judge a book by its cover. Fair enough, pray, allow me to continue.

Title - Naming my first anthology of short stories proved more arduous than the prose writing. Friends gave me many suggestions for titles, the best of which came from Jacqueline “Kelvin’s Kollection”. When I mentioned this over a pint at my local, friend two of two jokingly suggested: “Kelvin’s Massive Kollection or KMK for short”. Genius. I was tempted, but, in the end, I applied the KISS principle (Keep It Short and Simple) and opted for SSIAY (Short Stories In A Year).

Competitions - As this year is all about the ‘year of the short story’ I am going to target those competitions linked to this phenomena: for one year only, the BBC National Short Story Award goes international; the Costa Book Award introduces a short story category; the Daily Telegraph introduce an online Short Story Club, with host Louise Doughty, which promises to be packed with weekly exercises and monthly competitions - the results of which will be printed every Saturday in the Telegraph’s Review of Books section, with an overall winner selected at the end of the year.

Content - The first section of SSIAY plots my monthly progress. Each story in this section starts with a brief comment on their inspiration (in italics), and all stories are less than two thousand words.

Okay, time for that sporting metaphor I promised, after all, this is the year the olympic torch returns to London. The second section of SSIAY contains three longer style short stories that, no matter how many of my darling words I cut, no matter how hard I trained, I could not trim down to fit the flyweight class (less than two thousand words). The first story fits the welterweight class (less than four thousand words), the second story is a middleweight effort (less than five thousand words), and the third story weighs into the heavyweight class (less than seven thousand words). There, wasn’t that worth the weight?

NUThe third section of SSIAY contains all the online exercises I participated in, along with members’ comments (in italics), from Louise Doughty’s and the Telegraph’s Short Story Club. These exercises helped prepare me for the rigours of an MA in Creative Writing; I began semester one of a two year course with excitement and trepidation on 17th September 2012 at Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Reviews - To read what others are saying about my first short story anthology, please click here.

Bookmarks - To download FREE bookmarks, please click here.

Purchasing - If you would like to purchase SSIAY, please click here. Do remember, if you are still unconvinced, on Amazon, Kindle offers the ‘Try a Sample’ feature free of charge.

Thank you.

Kelvin M. Knight

What's New?

On May 4th 2013, I attend the innaugural Newcastle Writing Conference in The Great Hall, Nothumbria University. Stephen May's not a keynote speech is inspriational: “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable... write because you HAVE to.” And this quote got a resounding YES from the agents, editors and publishers present: “There is a secret to getting an agent. Write a good book, send it, wait. There are no secret passwords.”

Short story "Luke's Sketches" published by Cinnamon Press in the anthology "The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems" edited by Rowan B. Fortune.

Review of short story anthology "The Little Book of Northern Women" given thumbs up by the author J. Y. Saville.

Haiku "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Cathy Galvin and Louise Doughty for the Word Factory TV.

Article "Bagpuss" published by The Fine Line in the anthology "The I Word" edited by Kate Gould.

Short story "Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in December for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Be Prepared" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in August for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Luke's Sketches" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in May for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Short story "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in February for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.

Review of "Life! Death! Prizes!" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Fun and Games" shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.

Review of "Dreamer's Cat" given thumbs up by the author Stephen Leather.

Review of "TAG" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.

Short story "Shadow Pains" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Lessons in Love" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.

Short story "Saint Christopher" published by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Aim High, Reach Higher" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Paper Dinosaur" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.

Short story "Shepherd Thy Flock" won Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau spring competition.

Short story "Blackbeck" came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.





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