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A Flash In The Pan

August 28th, 2021

Before I go any further this week, I’d just like to remind you that we are now accepting entries for our current Flash Fiction Competition. As usual, there are prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice, plus publication on our website. The entry fee is £5 for one story or £10 for three (£4 for one story or £8 for three if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers). Your story should be no longer than 500 words and the closing date is 30th November.

But if you’re trying to decide whether to enter and you’re a Flash Fiction novice, here are some simple guidelines to help you stand a better chance of writing the kind of story our judges are looking for.

There are many forms of flash fiction, and stories can range from thirty up to a thousand words. Read the rest of this entry »




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Spies, Thieves and Liars

August 20th, 2021

I was reading an interview with the French-Moroccan author Leila Slimani recently (author of Adele and Lullaby, and winner of the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize).  She said that her inspiration comes from the outside; so she always carries a notebook with her and because of this her children think she is a spy.  She goes on “I try to explain that a writer is a kind of spy, but also a thief and a liar. They have a very bad opinion of me”.

That might sound a very odd thing to say, but I think it’s true. If you’re going to make it as a writer, you’ve got to be attuned to everything that’s going on around you and people-watch constantly. Then you’ve got to surreptitiously take what you see and transmute it into material for your books and short stories – but you can only do this by giving it enough of a twist to turn it into something that’s out of the ordinary and gripping. So raise your glasses to the spies, the thieves and the liars amongst us! Read the rest of this entry »




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Online Inspiration

August 14th, 2021

As you probably know, our 2021 Poetry Competition closed on 31st July. We are currently involved in the judging process and I’m amazed by how many first-class poems we have read so far. It really will be difficult to make a decision this year! But, we’ll try and let you have the results as soon as possible.

When one door closes another always opens – so you might want to start considering your entry for this year’s Flash Fiction Competition which has now been launched.  As usual your entry must not exceed 500 words. The entry fee is £5 per story or £10 for three (there’s a discount for subscribers to the Association of Freelance Writers). There are prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. The closing date is 30 November 2021. Read the rest of this entry »




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What Do Writers Eat?

August 9th, 2021

First, thanks to Simon for last week’s post. I suspect that certain types of writing come into fashion because of what’s going on in the world at that particular time and ‘Cosy Crime’ seems an ideal genre when we’ve just been through what we have in the past 18 months! It’s not surprising people want gentle escapism rather than graphic blood and gore.

Last month I mentioned a documentary about Ernest Hemingway. There were six hour-long episodes and the interest never waned. These days it has become commonplace for readers to judge an author not just on his or her literary output but on their private lives. Were they ‘bad’ people – racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic? I’ve always disliked this way of looking at literature but I suspect Hemingway was all of those things and when I sat down to read a much-lauded collection of his short stories recently I decided that it wasn’t just the man behind the books that I found unacceptable but I didn’t even rate the writing. And as for his much-praised novel, The Old Man and the Sea, only Edna O’Brien had the temerity to say that it wasn’t one of his finest – and I suspect that was an understatement! Read the rest of this entry »




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