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How To Read A Novel

January 14th, 2020

One of the things that I’m sure you hear repeatedly is that if you want to be a writer then you must read, read, read. But why?

You should read – especially contemporary fiction – because it shows you what trends are current, what readers are looking for NOW and so what publishers are searching for.

You should read all fiction – contemporary, classic, experimental – to see how other authors use words, how they put together their plots, twine in sub-plots and how they make their characters realistic. When you read something you enjoy then you can analyse it and use the knowledge you have gained in your own work. When you read a book that doesn’t work for you, then you can try to decide what’s wrong with it and avoid this in your own writing. 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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Be A Competitor!

November 29th, 2019

I’m a strong believer in reinvesting some of your earnings back into your writing career.

Sell an article for £150? Yes, treat yourself to a box of luxury chocolates by all means, but also put some of it away towards a writing course, perhaps, and spend some of it on market research, or even a new book about writing!

Writing competitions are another thing I think it’s worth ‘investing’ in.

Some up-and-coming writers are reluctant to participate in writing competitions. One of the reasons is that there is (usually) an entry fee, but this to me is a good sign – one that the competition is being properly run. Administering a writing competition is time-consuming, and readers and judges need to be hired and paid for. Read the rest of this entry »




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Poems For The Environment

November 22nd, 2019

Thanks to Alan for his suggestions on idea generation. Some people seem to have so many ideas that they get blocked because they simply don’t know what to sit down and tackle first. They need iron discipline to work logically, finish each project and polish it before moving on to the next.

Others struggle to come up with ideas, and articles like Alan’s and the tips and advice we give in the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course prove useful. Then when they discover their creativity there’s no stopping them and one idea leads to another. One article generates ideas for the next, and the next… Read the rest of this entry »




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Success With Poetry Competitions

October 18th, 2019

Let me be clear from the outset, whether or not you win a prize in a poetry competition is entirely down to you and your creative acumen. However, there are definitely ways to increase your chances of success. Picture that moment when you are staring at a list of poetry competitions with generous cash prizes and affordable entry fees, deciding which to enter. It is so tempting to dust off a decent poem (usually no more than 40 lines for maximum opportunity) and then send it in to a zillion competitions, scarcely noticing how much you are spending on your dream. This approach generally results in a tumbleweed return and financial misery! It is even more frustrating when you read the winning entries and conclude that your poem was far superior and must have been overlooked somehow. Sadly, this is unlikely to be true. Read the rest of this entry »




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