I've mentioned (in passing) the excellent Cadenza magazine elsewhere on here, and it seems to be going from strength to strength under its new(ish) editor Zoe King (who took over from John Ravenscroft a year or so ago). You may think I'm only saying that because two of my stories have been long-listed in Cadenza's latest short story competition (hurrah!). But take a look at their new blog. It's worth it just to read Zoe's feedback on the sifting process for the short story competition. She makes three specific points about the stories that she and her fellow judges felt didn't make the grade. First, there were some good stories that didn't quite work because they were let down by their endings. Second, there were well-written pieces that didn't have any forward momentum (what Zoe calls a 'motor') - there was, she said, no rising and falling action. And third, there were stories where the idea was good but the execution let them down.
This seems to reflect my own experiences (and my own rant here a few weeks back). It also, to a certain extent, supports my view expressed last week that these are technical issues that can be taught and learnt. Zoe referred to good stories and well-written pieces that failed for technical reasons relating to the craft of creative writing, not the element of creativity itself.
Which is one of the reasons why one of my writing buddies and I have set up a new enterprise, Word Fountain. Our aim is to help writers improve their craft in an informal, fun way. We don't promise they will acheive fame and fortune - we have no plans to become one of the 'new mental hospitals' that Hanif Kureishi railed against recently. We're running our first event in August - and we're accepting self referrals!