Sunday, 20 April 2014

Recycling words 1: Online dating

 I don’t think it helps to save the planet … but I recycle/upcycle stories frequently. If they are rejected by one magazine, I send them to another, first making some alterations to the tone, and adding to /subtracting from the length if necessary.

Then there are the stories deep in the bowels of the laptop hanging their heads in shame having been rejected by everybody. They can be fished out, ripped to shreds, the usable bits saved and built up again.

Recently I have recycled in a different way, in that I’ve used words I put together in one form and reshaped them for another.

In an earlier post I published a poem of mine called Choosing a Man from the Lakeland Catalogue. It’s one of the poems I take along when asked to do a poetry reading and it struck me rather belatedly the other month that some of its phrases could be used in a story. So I came up with a character – Patsy, widowed, over 50 and looking for love, trying to fill in her requirements on an online dating questionnaire. It was published in The People’s Friend in January under the title Meet Your Match.

Result! So I had a look at other poems to see what else might re-emerge as prose. I came up with one and will relate how it turned out in a forthcoming post.

Given that all this has been on my mind I was very interested to read in Avril Joy’s recently published (and highly recommended) To Writers with Love that her Costa-Award-winning short story Millie and Bird began life as a poem.

Have you ever thought about turning a poem into a story? Or, now I come to think about it, vice versa?


  1. Not a hope, Kate. I can't write poetry!

  2. It's just one way of generating a story - but you never seem to be short of ideas, Wendy!