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Poetry Competition Winners Announced!

September 18th, 2020

First, thanks to Sharon for last week’s post. It’s reassuring to realise that there are still slots out there for shorter pieces. You’re never going to be able to give up the day job writing for this market, but it can provide a lucrative side-line. And if you find yourself stalled – for whatever reason – on a longer piece, you can always turn to letters or a quick filler and hope your block will have cleared by the time you get back to it.

Now…quick drumroll… here are the winners of our 2020 Poetry Competition. In first place we have Alison Reed with Tango For Two; in second place Judith T Drazin with Tea, Toast and Temperance and in third place Roger Elkin with You Bring Me Bouches-du-Rhone. I’m not going to go into detail here as I’ve given my general views on this year’s entries in a previous post. But I can assure you that the three winners are brilliant – please go and read them on our Competitions Page. Keep checking there too because our latest Flash Fiction Competition will soon be open for entries. Read the rest of this entry »




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Hay Player!

August 30th, 2020

First, thanks to Jacqueline for last week’s post. Many people think of ‘creative writing’ as being exclusively fiction. But as she points out, writing non-fiction should be every bit as creative if you are to engage and entertain your readers.

As we’re still waiting for our next Writers Bureau competition to open for entries, I thought I’d highlight one or two other competitions that are taking place at the moment – hopefully providing something for everyone.

First up we have the New Voices Competition, which is looking for the first page of a novel and a one-page synopsis. This is for first-time writers only and the prize is a Start Up mentoring package. The entry fee is £10 and the closing date is 14th September; so no procrastinating. Full details are at www.adventuresinfiction.co.uk Read the rest of this entry »




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Christmas Ghost Story

July 24th, 2020

First, thanks to Colin for last week’s post. I loved the way he described his writing  journey. Some writers prefer to work in one genre only – and they seem to know instinctively what that is. Others, like Colin, want to try their hand at a variety of different genres and styles, coming back to what interests them when they feel it’s the right time and trying out new things when they are ready for a change. At the end of the day, it’s what makes you, as a writer, happy and provides the most fulfilment.

I know that some of you who are on our Creative Writing Course struggle to get copies of magazines that you can use to do your research – this has been particularly difficult during lockdown or if you are still self-isolating. Also, I’m not sure I’d want to hang about shops and supermarkets browsing their stocks of magazines (funny looks for picking up and putting back?) wearing a mask. Also, our overseas students sometimes ask where they can source magazines if there’s nothing available in their local shops. Read the rest of this entry »




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Short Story Winners 2020!

May 29th, 2020

First, thanks to Ryan for last week’s post. Getting to grips with selling your work online is more important than ever, but please heed the warning about some sites that claim to provide opportunities for freelances. Because you’re competing against so many other writers, the pay can be  terrible; or the arrangement is that you only get a few pence (or cents) if someone actually clicks on your content.

I know you’re trying to build up a profile and a body of work to show editors and publishers but always bear in mind the well-known quotation from Samuel Johnson: No man but a blockhead every wrote, except for money. You want to be boosting your bank balance as well as your credibility. Read the rest of this entry »




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Expanding Our Vocabulary

May 15th, 2020

First, thanks to Yen Cabag for last week’s post on dialogue. I must apologise, as at the end of my previous blog I said we would be hearing from Ryan Pell. My mistake! But don’t worry; Ryan will be with you next week.

On the subject of dialogue, Coronavirus appears to be expanding our vocabulary and because of this the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has taken the unprecedented step of updating the words they include outside their usual quarterly cycle. Whenever we read or listen to a news report we are bombarded with new vocabulary from epidemiology and medicine; new acronyms and words to express social imperatives and imposed isolation and distancing. It’s always been the case that great social change brings great linguistic change and it has never been truer than in the last few months. Read the rest of this entry »




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