Why I Write: Claire Fuller

I write to be read. Although of course it’s scary sending work out: people who don’t know me will be thinking about and making judgements on my writing  – good and bad. But that’s why I do it.

Our Endless Numbered Days smallI know lots of writers who have trouble sharing their work, even amongst the safe environment of the writing group I’m in, let alone sending their manuscripts out to agents. Of course when Our Endless Numbered Days gets a poor review (and all books do), it hurts and for five minutes I wonder why I’m putting myself through this. And then I come across someone who has loved my novel, wants to talk about the twists, what they have spotted, and the ending. And I realise it has touched them in some small way and that makes it worthwhile.

I think my relatively thick skin comes from my first degree in sculpture. At least twice a week for three years, us sculpture students participated in ‘crits’. All ten of us and our lecturer or head of department stood around a student’s piece and said what we thought was working and what could be improved. There were always many things in everyone’s work which could be made better, but most of the time (as long as the criticism was considered and a justification was made) I liked hearing what my fellow students had to say. Best of all was when I had a piece in an exhibition and I got to hear what the public thought.

Just like putting my sculpture on display, knowing my book will be read by strangers; that the words from my head will go into someone else’s and change in the process, is why I write.

Claire FullerClaireFuller small

Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, is published by Fig Tree in the UK and last week won the Desmond Elliott prize (huge congratulations, Claire!). She has also written many short stories and pieces of flash fiction; several of which have been published and won competitions including the BBC’s Opening Lines. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing and lives in Winchester, England with her husband and children.

Find out more or say hi to her on Twitter.

QuickFic 03/07/15: The Winner

The schoolmaster was leaving the village… and you guys dreamed up some pretty excellent reasons why.

As you’ll recall, this week’s prompt was this first line — which is of course from Thomas Hardy’s goodtime beach read, Jude The Obscure:

qf28_799

 

We chose this because as well as being cheerful people, we are also sentimental ones, and Nicci just heard that a brilliant teacher of hers is retiring after 35 years. So, Richard Perry, of St Ivo School, this one’s for you. We apologise for not foreseeing how sinister all the stories would be.

Anyway. There were sinister stories, but there were also sweet ones and funny ones and super-smart ones. We loved them all.

Without further ado — it’s too hot for ado — here are this week’s winners.

RUNNER-UP: Tim Roberts

Red To Blue

So many messages. He taps his embedded wrist monitor twice, and watches it fade to black; there will be plenty of time to read them all on the return journey. Of the few he has read, most are from his students, expressing how sorry they are to see him leaving. Others contain thanks from alumni, who are now engineers in the water mines or tending to the bio-farms. 

He was one of the first to arrive; now he will be the first to leave. 

It’s fifteen years since he has seen his boy — now a man — in the flesh. Before the year is out, he will hear his son’s voice without the digital belches of binary lost to the cosmos. Their conversations will once again be at the speed of sound; free from 21 minute data transport delay. He will greet his son with a hug rather than fingertips pressed against an apathetic touch-screen. Together, they will breathe the same un-recycled air.

One more planetary sleep. One hundred and eight two in-flight sleeps. Then, retirement.

He gazes out of his silicate porthole, past the launch pad, across dust and rocks, out to where the polar ice begins. The setting sun turns the terrain before him blood red . Soon the stars will prick at the growing darkness and soon one of those atomic points of light will become bigger and bluer than the rest.

WINNER: Sharon Telfer

A Jolly Good Fellow

They line us all up in the schoolyard. Me and Billy too, though we’ve work in the fields with summer come early.

Ma’d scraped Evie’s hair into pigtails. “Stop fussing, Evangeline Carter,” she said. “Don’t you want to look pretty for Mr Pritchard’s goodbye?” Evie said nothing. Just shaking her head while Ma fixed the ribbons, ‘til Ma give her a clip. Evie don’t say much, these days.

All of us, in us Sunday best, holding them little flags from the day they crowned the King. Vicar says summat. Mr Pritchard, he goes red in the sun while we sing ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ and waves us flags and all the grown-ups join in. 

Then along the line he comes, shaking each on us by the hand. Everyone’s always saying, how he’s such a good schoolmaster, taught us such nice manners. But when he comes to me and Evie, Evie hides behind my legs, like she’s shy.

I grip his hand firm, though it’s smooth and slippy with sweat. I look at him square. And I say, “Godspeed to the city, sir. You will never want to come back to our little village, I am sure.” Sun’s in his eyes, maybe, leastways he keeps ‘em down.

And Evie slips her fingers into mine, and I squeeze ‘em soft back, as Mr Pritchard pulls his hand away and goes off down the line.

Congratulations, Tim and Sharon! And thanks to everyone who sent in stories.

See you next week: same time, same place, new prompt. Happy weekends, all!

QuickFic 03/07/15

Hello there.

It’s ever so warm. We sure do hope your inspiration stations have air-con. Or some kind of wafting device. Because it’s time to put our writing trousers on!

This is our twenty-eighth round of QuickFic (*small party trumpet*) and we’re sure you know how it all goes by now. But if you’re new round these parts – hello there! we’re absolutely delighted to have you – or the heat’s made your memory go a bit muddly, let’s have a quick recap:

At 9.50 each Friday, we give you a prompt. You write a story, of 250 words or less, inspired by that prompt, give it a title, and email it to us at academy@faber.co.uk. You do that by 2.50pm this very day, because that is the deadline.

At 3.30pm, we announce the winner, and the winner wins books.

These ones!

qf28_books

Ordinary Dogs, Skios, How The Trouble Started, Prey, Remembering Light And Stone

So, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

This week’s prompt is this opening line:

qf28_799

Oooh. Where’s he off to, eh?

You tell us, and we’ll see you back here at 3.30!

By entering our QuickFic writing competitions, you’re granting us non-exclusive worldwide permission to reprint your story on our website should you win. The winner will also get a chance to win a place on one of our Start to Write one day courses, because at the end of the year we’ll be choosing our favourite of all the winners – the champion of champions, let’s say.