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How I Craft Very Short Fiction

December 13th, 2019

What an honour to win a Writers Bureau prize for my very short story, “That Old Familiar Smile”. The Bureau has asked me to write about crafting very short fiction. Suddenly I am an expert?

I like the idea of achieving a complete narrative arc in less than 500 words. Just like a novel, it has to have a beginning, middle and an end but not one word can be wasted.  Here’s how I do it.

It started with a local writing group. When we met, we had three themes, five minutes to think and choose one, then just 20 minutes to write the story. Afterwards we read them out. Sometimes I wrote rubbish and sometimes, something quite good, if a bit rough.  The theme could be a proverb, a song title or a random phrase. Quick thinking produces a first line or, more challengingly, a last line. Read the rest of this entry »




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Stocking Fillers For Writers

December 6th, 2019

First, thanks to Alex for last week’s post. As he pointed out, competitions aren’t for everyone, but thanks to those of you who sent your stories in to our Flash Fiction Competition. Entry is now closed but the enjoyable part (at least for me!) has now started. I’m having a great time going through them all and we should be in a position to prepare a shortlist and pick the winners shortly. So watch this space!

As our own competition has finished I’m going to suggest a couple of others that you might consider if you want to keep your writing muscles flexed over the festive season. So here we go… Read the rest of this entry »




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Be A Competitor!

November 29th, 2019

I’m a strong believer in reinvesting some of your earnings back into your writing career.

Sell an article for £150? Yes, treat yourself to a box of luxury chocolates by all means, but also put some of it away towards a writing course, perhaps, and spend some of it on market research, or even a new book about writing!

Writing competitions are another thing I think it’s worth ‘investing’ in.

Some up-and-coming writers are reluctant to participate in writing competitions. One of the reasons is that there is (usually) an entry fee, but this to me is a good sign – one that the competition is being properly run. Administering a writing competition is time-consuming, and readers and judges need to be hired and paid for. Read the rest of this entry »




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Poems For The Environment

November 22nd, 2019

Thanks to Alan for his suggestions on idea generation. Some people seem to have so many ideas that they get blocked because they simply don’t know what to sit down and tackle first. They need iron discipline to work logically, finish each project and polish it before moving on to the next.

Others struggle to come up with ideas, and articles like Alan’s and the tips and advice we give in the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course prove useful. Then when they discover their creativity there’s no stopping them and one idea leads to another. One article generates ideas for the next, and the next… Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Your Ideas Welcome – They’re Your Friends

November 15th, 2019

Forty-odd years ago, our dynamics lecturer wrote an equation on the blackboard. One symbol caught my imagination. That idea, for a novel, complete with cover design, remained with me for about thirty five years.

Years later, I reached the novel writing section of the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Writing Course. The same idea eventually grew into my début novel, Theta Double Dot.

I’m always fascinated by how others garner ideas, so I’d like to share some of my own methods. I should emphasise that these have evolved, as my circumstances and opportunities have altered. Read the rest of this entry »




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