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Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

May 25th, 2018

“Sometimes you just have to put your money where your mouth is.” This is what best-selling writer Jo Jo Moyles said in her interview with the Guardian when she was talking about the funding she is providing for Quick Reads. For those of you who don’t know, Quick Reads publishes a series of short, simple books that might appeal to the one in six adults in the UK with reading difficulties. The scheme, established in 2006, is designed to encourage reading and hopefully give slow readers more confidence and help them to move on to full-length books.

I think it’s a brilliant scheme, but there have been funding difficulties and the threat of closure has been hanging over it. When she heard this, the author offered to provide resources to keep it going for three years, providing a lifeline which would give it the opportunity to work on finding additional funding. When you can read fluently, you tend to take it for granted. Nothing beats the pleasure of a good book;  it’s easy to find information when you need it and understanding and filling in forms isn’t a serious problems. But, if your reading isn’t fluent then you’re missing out on so much and life is far less smooth. So, Quick Reads can now start commissioning new books again and I wish them well! This is definitely one organisation that deserves a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »




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In Praise of Competitions…

February 16th, 2018

In summer last year I chanced upon a short story competition and decided to enter. I hadn’t even appreciated that such things existed.

I didn’t win. In fact, I heard nothing back from the organisers, save for an acknowledgment of receipt. But I enjoyed the experience; it piqued my interest, and I searched for more.

Before long, I had a list of potentials and aimed to come up with entries for each. These were stories that I would never have written were it not for the spur of the contests. Read the rest of this entry »




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Short Story Extremes

February 17th, 2017

people's-friend-bloggyFirst, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog. It really is important that you proof your work thoroughly before you send it out to an editor or a publisher. If you’ve not bothered to correct silly typing mistakes then they might wonder just how carefully you’ve checked your facts. I’ve done a lot of proofreading in my time and I actually find it quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s involved – either to check your own work, or to take it up as a freelance career – then you might want to consider our Proofreading and Copy Editing Course.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our 2017 Short Story Competition is now open for entries until 31st March. If you’re thinking about sending in your work, why not have a look at how some of the modern masters write their stories. Every year the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition is held with a prize of £30,000. As you can imagine, with prize money at that level, the standard of entries is pretty high. Read the rest of this entry »




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Short Story Competition – Now Open For Entries

February 2nd, 2017

end-of-the-wasp-season-blogFirst, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog.  I’ve been on holiday; so it was great not to have to think up something to post while I was away. I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica and despite the trip down to Gatwick (no flights direct from Manchester) and 11 hours in the air it was terrific. Blue skies, lush greenery and animals galore.  At the top of my wish list of beasties to see was the sloth! I wasn’t bothered about the monkeys, the crocodiles, the kinkajou… or even the rather attractive tarantula that popped up near the path one day. All I wanted was a real, live sloth. And, dear reader, I got plenty of them, hanging high in the trees. They might be slow but they’re not daft; so they stay high enough not to get caught which makes taking good photos difficult unless you’ve got a very high spec camera! Read the rest of this entry »




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Robots Writing

January 12th, 2017

what-is-the-what-blogAs I write this, I’m watching the snow come down, settle and then melt away. It’s a very half-hearted attempt! But it’s certainly miserable for anyone out in it and it’s times like this that tempt even the most industrious writer to have a ‘duvet day’.

My advice is: don’t fight it. The odd day’s loss of production can soon be made up and it’s the ideal time to curl up and have a good read. Most successful authors agree that if you don’t read, you’ll never by a competent writer. Stephen King is quoted as saying: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Read the rest of this entry »




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