Shelley Kirton has been writing for years, but it’s obvious she’s truly finding her niche now. Her words are a wonderful reminder that we can always keep learning and pushing our boundaries. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for her.
Q: Your short story ‘The Peace Lily – A Story in Three Breakfasts’ is a beautiful composition that was published in Mindfood. What an achievement! Can you tell us more about the process of successfully publishing your first short story?
A: This story came from the time I had just completed the first course (Literary Short Fiction) with Ginny Swart at the Writers College; it was inspired by the peace lily in my bathroom!
I have many years’ experience in business and academic writing and now have greater opportunity for creative writing and non-fiction work. The process to get to publication took many years of prior learning, attending courses and of steadfastly keeping going – reading, researching, writing, editing, editing, editing and submitting to competitions and other opportunities as available.
Q: You are currently on the Advanced Literary Short Fiction Course with The Writers College. How is this experience impacting on your writing journey?
A: The discipline of the course is a powerful motivator. The learning imperative is natural to me and I have always studied. I am now in the second year of the Advanced Course with the College and once again finding it rewarding, challenging – and sometimes daunting. My writing now bears little resemblance to that of the first course and I’m enjoying the ability to write with far greater confidence and with a more structured approach.
My tutors, Ginny Swart and currently Alex Smith, have taught me so much, especially the power of effective and sometimes ruthless editing. I’m now far more critical of my work and far less attached to it: there are always better ways to tell or shape a story.
Q: With another short story being published in the Atlantis Anthology, you seem to be making great literary strides. What other ventures do you have in mind for your writing?
A: More of the same really. New stories, more competitions to enter. I placed second in the Atlantis competition and was delighted and amazed by that.
I appreciate the wisdom of competition judges in their written feedback and have learned so much from the competitive environment. I love the challenge of the short story form: the discipline, the tightness that requires attention to every word, as each must earn its place.
As part of the Advanced Course, I’m putting an anthology together and will see where that takes me.