TatTle – #1
The monthly newsletter from Tall and Tiny Tales
Thanks for your response to my survey, peeps! There was a lot of support for the monthly newsletter idea. So – here it is. The first edition of the Tall-and-tiny-Tales-letter, aka TatTle. It will come out on the first of every month.
… to new subscribers who have joined this month.
Tip: if you go to the TatT archive, you can catch up with the current story (most run for 5–8 weeks), and you’ll find past stories there that you might enjoy.
🏆 Gotta be in it to win it
‘Entering competitions is the way to get known as a short-story writer,’ – so they said. I duly entered stories in a few likely competitions at the end of 2021. Waited … and waited … 🦗🦗🦗 … not ultimately in vain, though:
Naming Calls got longlisted for the 2022 Peter Carey Short Story Awards. It didn’t quite make the final eight, but still …
Gone South is still in the running to win the inaugural Minds Shine Bright competition. It has been shortlisted (along with 47 others from 8 countries) and will be published in the Minds Shine Bright Confidence anthology. The overall winner will be announced on 26 August. So, wish me luck! 🤞
The problem with competitions is that it locks up your best material for months at a time, and as a new fiction writer starting out, that is really the last thing you want. I want to get my fiction out there for readers to clap eyes on. 📖👀
All the same, this is an encouraging start. Maybe I’ll give it another go with some new stories, later this year.
🎙️ The TatT podcast
One of my favourite tasks on TatT is making the podcast episodes. For someone who mumbles and stumbles in his everyday speech (just ask my wife), this was not an obvious undertaking.
I approach them as traditional author readings: I’m not an actor, nor a trained broadcaster. On the other hand, I am the author, so I figure that I have something unique to offer when I read aloud. It’s a chance to find out how the story sounded in my head, when I wrote it.
Sometimes the reading aloud takes on a life of its own: I discover new insights into the narrator and the story as I’m speaking. I knew that Pan, the narrator of Acheron, was shy, but I hadn’t realised how excitable and passionate and, well, Greek he is. I’ve tried to increase my naturally slow tempo and raise the pitch of my voice just a little to convey that. I quickly rejected the idea of trying to carry a Greek-Australian accent for the whole story!
I’m a 58-year-old British-Australian man, and although I’m a linguist by education and profession, my capacity to sound like a teenage Irish girl or a young Estonian woman is limited. (Okay, non-existent.)
Greek accents – Pan’s family in Acheron – are giving me a real challenge right now. German I can do, no probs. Mental note to self to write more German characters.🤔
Still, what I’m aiming for is just a hint of the character’s speech, and for the listener to understand who’s speaking. I try not to let that get in the way of the story.
I have a couple of stories coming up with a female narrator. Listeners might struggle with my raspy male bass trying to convey her. We’ll see how it goes.😉
Following the survey results, there was a clear preference for embedding the audio in the text episode. If the one person who voted otherwise makes themselves known to me, I can email them the podcast directly if needed.
🌩️ When inspiration strikes
It’s funny, the little things that can trigger a story. Naming Calls came about when I was mooching along Silver Creek near Beechworth and bumped into a lean, serious-faced man of similar age striding in the opposite direction. He barely acknowledged my greeting, but called to his dog: ‘Come on, Skipper!’ Thus was the wood carver Tom O’Malley born – and his loyal Kelpie, Skipper.
The photos and montages which accompany the story were mostly taken along Silver Creek, which runs through quiet, bird-filled eucalypt woodland between Lake Kerferd and Lake Sambell. I saw my first Eastern Whipbird there – I’d been hearing them for years. The audio clip below will give you an idea of the atmosphere.
I used to be a keen amateur wood carver in my younger days (one of my pieces is shown in episodes 3 and 5), so I wanted to write a story about a sculptor who becomes obsessed with the piece he is carving.
The sassy teenage daughter, Freya, was a necessary counterpoint to the driven and lonely man. Their banter lifted the tone of what would otherwise been a dreary monologue.
Conversely it also allowed me to go into serious depth – light and shade – to write more about the carver’s craft than I would otherwise have dared in a short story. Hopefully without losing the reader’s interest … ? … ??
🖋️ Subscriber poll: fave story?
Which of these stories did you enjoy most?
Charity of the month: One Girl
In this section I’ll be introducing some of the lesser-known charities I support. Some will have international reach, as this month; some will be national or local in focus. If you have a small charity that’s dear to your heart, get in touch and I’ll feature it here.
132 million girls around the world are denied an education – often, just because they were born a girl. One Girl is helping to put that right – one girl at a time. Its regional focus is on Sierra Leone and Uganda. For example, it provides scholarships to enable female teachers to complete their training, advocates for safe relationships and sexual rights, trains girls in business skills and leadership. More details here.
🎤 Q&A invite 🎤
If there’s anything you’d like to know about my work, leave a comment or drop me an email (just reply to this email), and I’ll include it in next month’s TatTle.
📣 Tell us about it
If you’d like a shout-out for your own creative project, drop me an email with a brief description (about 100 words) and a URL.
That’s all folks! Happy reading, till next time 😊🪕🎶