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Underneath The Arches…

March 8th, 2018

First, thanks to Amanda for last week’s blog. More and more people that I know are now blogging for local companies  – garden centres, delis, private dentists, even solicitors. Sometimes they do it for free for the exposure it gives them and to increase the hit rate on their own personal blogs. Sometimes they do it for a fee (though I don’t know anyone who earns a great deal per blog – certainly not enough to give up the day job). But it does bring in some extra money in these cash-strapped times and, more importantly, it can lead on to other things.

Moving on… there don’t seem to be many openings for people who write plays but Matchstick Theatre are looking for new work that they can perform. They are a small, independent theatre in South East London set up in late 2015. They are aiming to put on over 15 new plays in the next 12 months. They have been performing in tunnel arches and at festivals around London and are about to open a new arts and theatre space in Deptford. This sounds quite an interesting opportunity – for more details of what they are looking for, why not visit their website?

As you know, our Short Story Competition closes on 31st March so it’s countdown time! As usual, the judge will be Iain Pattison (don’t confuse him with Ian Pattison!) and there will be prizes of £300, £200, £100 and £50 for the top four stories. Plus all the winners will receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice. Here are my top five tips for crafting a winning story:

Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle and an end. So many of the stories we receive start out well but then just fizzle out.

Your characters need to be strong and believable – characters, not caricatures!

Think about your use of dialogue. You can have a story without it, but it’s nearly always better if you include some good realistic dialogue to move the story forward and make your characters come alive.

Watch your word length. If the limit is 2000 words you can write less (if that’s what it takes to tell your story pithily). But go a word over the limit and you’ll be disqualified.

Check, check and check your work again before sending it in. Missing words, typos, bad grammar and missing punctuation won’t help to put you in Iain’s good books and onto the shortlist.

OK lecture over, and if you do enter – good luck!

My guest next week is Sherry Morris who won our 2017 Flash Fiction Competition with her story ‘Balloons’.  She’ll be taking a look at the different types and lengths of flash fiction that are out there.

And I’ll close with a quote from Joe Abercrombie, the fantasy writer: “As a writer, you have to first of all write what you want to. Listen to advice, by all means, but don’t get bogged down in it.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Author: Diana Nadin



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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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