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Festive Greetings

December 20th, 2019

First, thanks to David for last week’s post. I found the final paragraph particularly interesting and it’s just  how I think of it: “The last line in flash fiction is crucial…it’s akin to the punchline in a joke”.  If there’s one piece of advice that you should bear in mind as you start crafting your stories to enter in competitions next year, then that’s the one!

In the meantime, we’ll soon have the shortlist for our own Flash Fiction Competition available and we’ll be launching our 2020 Short Story (2000 words) Competition before too long.

For those of you who have had success this year (whether you measure that by sales of your writing or the pleasure that your work has given to yourself and others), then there is still time to enter our Student of the Year 2020 award. Check out the details here and we’d love to hear from you if you feel your story would interest and inspire others (come on now, no false modesty!) There is £250 for the overall winner and four runners up will each receive £50. Read the rest of this entry »




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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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