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Five Motivational Quotes

July 23rd, 2021

I’m sure that like me, over the past 18 months you’ve been dependent on library apps and Amazon Kindle for your reading matter. (After lengthy closure during the early months of the pandemic, my local library is still being used as a vaccination centre.) So I just thought I’d mention the Kindle Storyteller Award 2021. It’s a £20,000 literary prize recognising outstanding writing and is open to writers publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including various book industry experts. It’s open for entries until 31st August 2021.

I know that some of you might find the thought of publishing your book with Kindle Direct Publishing daunting, but if you have a book ready to hit the shelves and no publisher or agent in sight then it’s definitely worth considering this option. I’ve not done it myself but I have been told by various students that KDP simplifies the process as much as possible and that it’s not beyond the know-how of anyone who’s reasonably confident in their IT skills (or has an obliging friend or grandchild to help them). So with such a generous prize on offer at the moment, maybe now is the time to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Hemingway Effect

July 9th, 2021

For fans of Ernest Hemingway, the new documentary series on BBC4 that started last week is a real treat. When I saw that there were six episodes I thought it might be slow and ponderous, but if the first one was anything to go by that’s far from the truth. An hour in and we’re still only up to his early twenties but it was fascinating. I suspect that many people are aware of his love of bull-fighting, his deep-sea fishing, his game-hunting, his womanising and his hard drinking. But there was so much about his early life that was new to me and shed a light on his future development both as a person and as an author. I’ll confess that he’s never been one of my favourite writers, but I find the story of his life irresistible.

Before we go any further this week, I need to remind you about our Poetry Competition as time is flying and it will be the end of the month – and the closing date for entries – before you can blink. There are three prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. Your poem can be up to 40 lines and on any theme.  The entry fee is £5.00 per poem (or £4.00 if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers). Read the rest of this entry »




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Short Story Competition Winners Announced

June 2nd, 2021

First, thanks to Savannah for last week’s post. She provided some interesting suggestions on how you might improve your short stories. It’s quite easy to get stuck in a rut when writing and it’s good to try out new ideas and approaches. There’s usually more than one way of writing a story and it pays to experiment until you find what works best for you and, of course, your reader.

Sorry about the delay in announcing the winners of our 2021 Short Story Competition. If you haven’t already discovered them on our website, here they are! In first place is Bob Thurber (see photo) with Thanksgiving 2010; in second place Ellen Evers with The Goodbye Visit; in third place Pamela Gough with Cake for a Wake and in fourth place Ruth Clarke-Irons with Cross My Heart. Congratulations to all of them and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading their work.

When the competition was held last year we’d gone into the first lockdown but the weather was good, people were feeling ‘creative’ and were striving to keep their spirits up. No one knew how long things would drag on – and the entries, on the whole, were very similar to those submitted for previous competitions. This year, things were very different and the themes that people chose seemed to reflect this – they were much darker and less optimistic. It had been a long hard winter, people were missing loved ones and there seemed no end in sight. That’s why Bob’s light-hearted, humorous story made it stand out from so many of the others. Read the rest of this entry »




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Writing Factories!

April 30th, 2021

First, thanks to Julia Lavrinovich from The Novel Factory for getting in touch and sending me a link to a blog post on their site: How to Write A Main Character Your Readers Will Love. I think you’ll find what it has to say both interesting and useful. It looks at the four basic types of main character, explores a technique for building a complex main character from inside out and finally examines four ways to ensure readers love your main character. Definitely worth a look!

And now for a different writing factory – The Fiction Factory. Their First Chapter Competition is open for entries.  They say “Have you completed the first draft of your novel? Are you ready to pass it on to a fresh pair of eyes, to see if you are on the right track? Is your all-important first chapter ready for submission to an agent? Whatever your plans, your first chapter must shine – it must grab your readers or quickly lose their interest. Read the rest of this entry »




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Tips for Short Story Writers

March 7th, 2021

First, thanks to Theresa for last week’s post. I think many writers are intrigued by the idea of ghostwriting as they have friends, or know people, who they feel they could collaborate with to produce a great book. But, they’re not sure how to go about it.

They wonder what will happen if they get part way through and then the subject changes their mind?m What if they write the story that they’ve been told and then find that the subject disagrees with the slant they’ve put on it? What if they are refused permission to use facts and incidents that would  make it  more interesting? Does what they are being told lead to a legal minefield? Should they get agreement from a publisher before they begin or hope that a contract will be forthcoming on completion? And, not least, how will any profits be split? Read the rest of this entry »




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