Sutton Writers member Chris Hawton writes about how he discovered a publishing opportunity on social media

Over the last month or so, I’ve been working on a Doctor Who short story that I was commissioned for just before Christmas. So, how has this come to pass?

I saw on Twitter that a Doctor Who short story charity compilation was being organised and they were inviting pitches. There was a theme of family and also the editor had made clear that certain characters weren’t available due to copyright reasons. So I submitted a couple of synopses via email and, amusingly, they didn’t go for the one I thought they would. (My Peter Davison story may well come to light in another guise).

As my story is set in early 20th century Plymouth, I’ve been doing quite a bit of historical research to get the backdrop well. Because I spent my teenage years there, I know the geography of the place, which helps. I’ve also borrowed a bit from stories told by family members, which I think gives the piece more of a grounding in reality. 

My research was initially a bit of Googling followed by reading history books I’ve bought on Kindle – these are often working out cheaper than getting paperbacks or hardbacks and obviously arrive quicker and take up less space / dead trees. Rather wonderfully, I’d written a scene set a specific location only to later find from my research that a major 1930s historical figure was actually there in real life. As that person was already a background presence in the narrative, I’m going to incorporate him in the next draft.

Hopefully, the story will be published in the summer and so I’ll look to share more nearer the time.

I wouldn’t have found out about the compilation and this publishing opportunity if it hadn’t been for Twitter, so it shows, even if you’re not active on social media, it can be a useful source of news about possible opportunities. I seldom post on Twitter so it goes to show you don’t need to be active to make use of that platform. You can also find fellow writers or editors by looking on #amwriting and #amediting respectively, and chat with the industry using #writerscommunity as a starting point.

The A Hand to Hold anthology is being compiled by artist Sophie Isles


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