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One of the aspects of writing I studied on the Open University’s A363 Advanced Creative Writing course is cutting between strands featuring different characters.  Readers love this, apparently, as they can speculate about how the characters will converge.  The secret for the writer is to pull it off without confusing the reader.  I think Kate Atkinson does it particularly well in her series of Jackson Brodie detective novels  ‘Case Histories’, ‘One Good Turn’ etc.  It’s usually more appropriate for a novel than a short story, but our OU tutor Nicky Harlow invited us to experiment on our online forum.  After Nicky kickstarted the project, Sue Manning and I added bits on, my instalments coming in from the ski slopes of Sölden, where I was on holiday.  This rather influenced my characters’ activities!

Somehow Sue managed to draw the various threads together in the conclusion and suggested submitting to Ink Pantry Publishing, which showcases Open University students’ work.  So the next challenge involved trimming our 2200 words to fit Ink Pantry’s submission rules.  Three strands in 1500 words seemed a big ask, but we honed our editing skills.  ‘The Mice will Play’ is the result, now available to read on the Ink Pantry Publishing website:


Ink Pantry Publishing invites submissions from all students of Creative Writing.  Further details are available on their website.