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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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Share Your ‘Best Reads’ With Friends

May 20th, 2016

iphone_litsy7_screen-blogLast week I mentioned that we’d soon be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition.  We had well over 500 entries and it’s been quite easy to whittle these down to a shortlist. But when we got that shortlist  – and this year there were 25 stories on it –  it became very difficult to choose the actual winners as the quality of all of them was so good.

I find it hard to enjoy the brevity that goes with a flash fiction story that is only 50 or 100 words – there’s just not enough ‘depth’ for me. But give a good writer 500 words to play with and they can create a piece that really resonates with the reader. We’ve more or less made our decision now and we should be announcing it next week – so watch this space, and I feel sure you’ll agree with me. Read the rest of this entry »




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