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What’s In A Title?

January 18th, 2019

Ta Dah! Sound of trumpets and roll of drums… I’m pleased to be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. Congratulations to Gordon Aindow, who took first place with Voicemail. For me, it was one of those stories which I read and could immediately put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. I could really see myself doing exactly the same in the circumstances (I won’t spoil the plot by saying what that was!) In second place was Rosy Edwards with Seek and Ye Shall Find – one of the best ‘twist in the tail’ stories I’ve read for a long time. I really didn’t see it coming. And in third place, Michelle Christophrou with Stinky Play-Doh Guy. Who could resist a title like that? Read the rest of this entry »

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New Competitions For The New Year

January 10th, 2019

You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve just launched our latest Writers Bureau Open Competition. It’s for short stories with a maximum length of 2000 words and the closing date is 31st March. As usual, there are four prizes: £300, £200, £100 and £50 and each winner will also receive a Writers Bureau Course of their choice.

Also, we’re almost ready to publish the results of our Flash Fiction Competition that closed recently. You’ll find that the shortlist is already available on our website. So, if you entered and want to check if you’re on it, go and have a look! The reason that there has been a delay in picking the winners is that the shortlist was so strong this year that we have really been struggling to decide which stories should get the top three slots. But, we should be ready to announce them by the time I publish next week’s blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Find Your Voice For 2019

January 2nd, 2019

First, let me say Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 will be a prosperous and peaceful one – and one where we can eventually turn on the TV or open a newspaper without being bombarded by Brexit!

I’ve just been reading the January issue of Writing Magazine and there was an interview with crime writer Rod Reynolds. He was asked for his top tips and the first one was:

“The one thing that I hear agents and editors say they’re looking for above all: voice. Learn what that is, then hone yours, make it unique, make it consistent throughout. Not easy, but key.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Making A Drama Out Of Christmas

December 19th, 2018

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been updating the modules that cover Radio and TV drama in our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course.  So I’ve been looking at script formatting and what the current layout requirements are.

The best place to look into this is the BBC Writersroom. There is a script library and you can study a number of recent productions to see how the scripts are set out. There’s The Bodyguard, Peaky Blindlers, Doctor Who, A Very English Scandal (Jeremy Thorpe  played by Hugh Grant) – even Danger Mouse and The Worst Witch, plus many more. Formats do vary but the important thing is that they are clearly set out and it must be obvious where the characters are and who’s speaking. Read the rest of this entry »

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Finding Yourself A Publisher

December 11th, 2018

In my blog last week I mentioned using your local library to see what’s going on in the magazine world and do your research into what editors want. But I’ve also recently downloaded the BorrowBox app that allows me to borrow e-books from the library. It’s great for when you don’t want to trek across town in the rain with a big bag of books. It also means I can download books to my Kindle Fire that I might otherwise have to buy from Amazon. So it really is a win-win situation and if you don’t already have access to your library’s online catalogue it’s worth looking into. You have 14 days before the book disappears – but you do have the option to renew.

Let’s now look at things from the other side – not the book-reading public, but you as an author. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to interest one of the commercial publishers or an agent in your work but you don’t have the confidence (or preference) to self-publish then one of the growing number of small, independent publishers might be what you’re looking for. Read the rest of this entry »

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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