I am now half way through my summer project with the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland to write and self-publish a series of Scottish short stories. As part of my accompanying internship with the Research Interns at Strathclyde programme, I had to write a mid-internship reflective blog talking about the challenges and successes of my project so far. I found that keeping a weekly writing diary with notes of aspects I have struggled with and how I overcame those challenges really helped in keeping my project on track. You can read more about my project here.
During the first half of my internship, my aim was to investigate twenty-first-century Scottish literature as a basis of research for my own Scottish short story collection. I planned to study various texts and adapt successful literary techniques in my own free writing in the early stages of my project, with particular focus on dialogue and dialectal language. I remained true to these objectives and further developed the plots I had loosely planned in my initial application.
I aimed to write three stories with the narrative rotating between three characters. I planned for each episode to be around 2,000 words long followed by a 2,000-word critical reflection. When I began the writing process, however, I exceeded my word count for each episode by around 1,000 words. Upon reflection, I decided not to be too strict with the word count because as the plot for each story developed and became more complex, it became clear that I would need the extra word count to tell each story coherently and in depth. So far, I have learned that, while planning is key, it is okay to deviate slightly from my original aims and for details to organically change as the plot progresses because this is a natural part of the writing process and something I shouldn’t beat myself up about.
Over the last four weeks, I have developed my skills in research and I have learned how to write authentic regional dialogue and how to craft distinctive and memorable characters. I have now completed a full draft of my series and the accompanying essay. I plan to spend the remainder of my internship doing further editing and ensuring my collection is of the best possible standard it can be. Once I am satisfied with the outcome, I plan to self-publish the series into an A5 paperback book using Lulu.com and I will promote the published series online to increase exposure for regional Scottish fiction.
Are you doing any projects this summer? Let me know in the comment section below.