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September 25th, 2009

Don’t forget, if you’re already a Writers Bureau student we’re still looking for submissions for the next issue of Chapter and Verse. The theme is ‘open’ and the editor, Rob, is accepting submissions until mid-October. Why not visit the Writers Bureau Student Area to read the previous two issues and get details of how to send your own work.

Whether you’re a published writer, or still aspiring to get your work into print, one of the most useful organisations is the Society of Authors. As you’d expect, they have some authoritative guides on agents, copyright, permissions, vanity publishing, rates and guidelines for writers (important when you’re asked to set a fee for your work), plus much more. The membership fee if good value, and with over 8,500 members they have the ‘clout’ to still do what they were founded for in 1884: to protect and further the interests of authors.

Last week I mentioned our new Proofreading and Copy Editing course, but we’ve been busy these last few months and have also made another addition to our range: The Complete Copywriting Course. As the name suggests, it explains everything you need to know to set up in business as a copywriter – whether you want to give up the day job, boost your existing income or top up your pension. In the September issue of E-zee Writer there’s a £60 introductory saving on the course. Even if we can’t tempt you to enrol, I think you’ll enjoy the ezine.

And finally, I’m relieved to see that I’m starting to get comments on previous posts. I was beginning to think that only my mum and her cat were reading my blog…

Until next time!

PS Don’t forget that the closing date for our Twitter short fiction competition is 30th September. It’s free to enter – so get exercising those writing muscles.




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New Proofreading and Copy Editing Course

September 18th, 2009

Two or three weeks ago I mentioned the correct use of the apostrophe and nailed my colours to the mast as a keen supporter of the ‘tadpole’. But I could just imagine some of you sitting at home thinking: Hold on a minute, that’s a bit rich coming from someone who works for an organisation called The Writers Bureau. Surely it should be The Writers’ Bureau.

You’re absolutely right but according to Lynn Truss in her humorous book on punctuation ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’, companies and organisations have discretion over whether to use an apostrophe or not. When WB was set up in 1989 it was decided that in advertising headlines the name looked better without an apostrophe – and the rest, as they say, is history!

And that brings us on to the exclamation mark. Don’t you just hate it when writers pepper their work with them? F Scott Fitzgerald is quoted as saying: “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.” But I must admit that I always have to go through my writing slashing stray exclamations marks, as they do tend to worm their way in.

The other thing I have to keep a close eye on is typos. Because we’re the writing experts, people are always keen to point out when we get something wrong in our course material or on our website. And I can guarantee that even if you read something time and time and time again – as soon as you upload or print it you’ll spot a missing word or spelling mistake.

That’s why we’ve introduced a new Proofreading and Copy Editing course. It’s useful not just for writers but for anyone who has to check the printed word in their daily work. And by the time you’ve finished it you’ll be an expert on apostrophes, exclamation marks and lots of far more important and interesting things! (Oops – time to get out the red pen.)

Until next week…




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Flash Fiction Competition!

September 11th, 2009

The wedding went well, I didn’t disgrace myself by having too many glasses of champagne – or even sit on my hat. The bride and groom had a terrific day and I can now start concentrating on my new role as ‘mother in law’. I’ll have to make sure I don’t turn into a Les Dawson-style caricature – though my husband might argue that it’s already a lost cause!

National Poetry Day takes place on 8th October and this year’s theme is Heroes and Heroines. You can take part by submitting images of poems you’ve located in strange and unusual places or read blogs of famous poets. There is a huge range of events taking place all over the country, including Carol Anne Duffy – the new Poet Laureate – reading from her collection at the Winchester Discovery Centre. See  the National Poetry Day website for more details and what’s going on in your area.

Here at Writers Bureau we’re holding a Twitter ‘flash fiction’ competition. View examples of flash fiction here. As you know, that means you’ve got just 140 characters in which to write your short story. I’ve seen it done in 50 words before; so we’re being kind to you. Your story can have any theme and be in any genre. The prize is a copy of our new ‘How to Write for Competitions – and Win’ course. Read more about the ‘flash fiction’ competition here.

Twitter

I’ll be judging the entries and the closing date is 30th September. If you win, the copyright will remain with you but we would like permission to tweet your story and for it to appear on our website.

You can send as many entries as you wish to tcomp@writersbureau.com. So, get your creative thinking caps on as I’m looking forward to receiving your entries for the Twitter Flash Fiction Competition.




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Re-invigorating Your Reading Group

September 4th, 2009

This week has turned out to be quite hectic and by the time you read this I’ll be heading down the motorway to my son’s wedding.  I’m sure that everything will go smoothly and it will be a fantastic day.  The only thing that’s bothering me is the hat.  I’m definitely not a hat person; so I’ve bought one that guarantees it will spring back to perfection even after being squashed in a suitcase.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of packing it in my case, but at least it’ll be OK if I inadvertently sit on it after a glass too much champagne!

I never go anywhere – not even my son’s wedding – without a good book. Apparently I’m not the only one – Reading Groups are springing up all over and the publisher, Random House, has launched a networking site for them.  There’s a list of suitable books (no surprise that these are all published by Random House) plus suggestions for getting discussions going.  They give advice on setting up your own group and tips to liven up an existing group if you feel it’s getting in a rut.  So, why not have a look and see what you think.

Random House

Finally, I’ve just had the results of our 2009 Poetry and Short Story Competition and the winners are, as usual, exceptional.  We’ll have them on our website competition pages within the next couple of weeks – do visit and read them.  If they leave you wishing you could write as well as the winners, then why not consider enrolling on our How to Write for Competitions – and Win course. It might just give you the inspiration you need to put you amongst next year’s winners.

I’ll raise one of those glasses of champagne to your good health this weekend!

Diana




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