Offering up my first-ever short story to Twisted 50 was a challenge, but eased along by the kind practical advice of other far more experienced writers and by its being autobiographical. There was little need for imagination: 'Charcoal Granny' had evidently lurked in my head for six decades, and alarmed me when it sprang forth!
Story number two, Almighty Dog's MEGA Plan, for Singularity 50, was fiction and this turned out to be a technical challenge: it was driven by a strongly personal point of view, but I didn't want to bore or insult readers with polemic - a ready trap for a novice writer!
And this time I learned I must put flesh on characters, paint pictures from thin air, and in this instance adhere to an assigned timeline. I remained a bit approximate there, but feel the third
draft was a lot stronger than the first. Longer, too.
Again, that was thanks to fellow writers who encouraged me. One chided me, nicely, for slipping into a Trump Trope!
What a wonderful way to develop this new-found passion. And it works twofold: offering opinion on the work of others sharpens the senses.