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Life’s Rich Tapestry

October 4th, 2019

I’ve just returned from a lovely family holiday in Tenerife, and although nothing particularly exciting or unusual happened, I thought I’d mention a writing opportunity for those of you who have been on more exotic holidays recently.

The Telegraph runs a ‘Just Back’ travel writing competition.  There is a weekly prize of £250 in currency from the Post Office, plus the chance to win £1000 if your piece is also selected as the ‘Just Back’ article of the year.

Full terms and conditions appear on their website but entry is free – you just need to email your story in 500 words (text in the body of your email) to justback@telegraph.co.uk Read the rest of this entry »




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Learning To Show, Not Tell

August 30th, 2019

First, thanks to Amber for last week’s blog – I think it’s brilliant advice. If you shut yourself away at home all the time, you can be in danger of forgetting how to interact with people – and understanding how people tick is a vital part of being a writer. And this doesn’t just apply to fiction writers. You also need to know what people are talking about at the moment and what interests them if you hope to write non-fiction that sells. You can’t rely on the TV or internet as what you see there is often a rather skewed version of how ‘normal’ (?) people behave and react.

Moving on, one of the things that writers hear repeatedly from their critics is ‘show don’t tell’ – but what exactly does this mean? I know many people find it difficult to put into practice; so this week I’m going to give you an example from the Writers Bureau course that sums it up perfectly. Read the two extracts and you’ll know exactly what I mean: Read the rest of this entry »




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Posted In The Past

June 14th, 2019

First, thanks to Jacqueline for last week’s post. I think that people sometimes decide to enrol on a course without giving it enough consideration. That’s OK if it’s a short course that doesn’t cost too much – it’s always good to dabble with something different. But if you’re planning to use the course to further your career or help you bring in a second income, then you should give the decision serious thought. That’s why we’re always happy to chat to prospective students or reply to their emails if they have any queries – or reservations – before joining us.

Another thing that needs to be taken seriously, if you intend to have a writing career, is your marketing plan, and these days that also means your use of social media. Below, Writers Bureau student, Helen Baggott, explains how she reached out to potential readers about her recently published book, ‘Posted in the Past’ (available from Amazon and a number of independent outlets). Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Money From Standing On Your Soap Box

April 5th, 2019

First, thanks to Cheryl for last week’s blog. I’ve got a copy of Vengeance Is Mine waiting for me and I’m really looking forward to reading it this weekend! I will, of course, report back and let you know what I thought about it.

One of the modules in our course deals with writing readers’ letters to magazines and newspapers, and ‘filler’ items. These days ‘fillers’ can be quite difficult to put your finger on as they can range from short articles and tips on travel, food or money-saving through to quizzes and humorous anecdotes. Some students complain that working in this market isn’t ‘real writing’. It may not seem like it, but it can certainly bring in a bit of extra money – not to mention the enticing free gifts that various publications offer in lieu of cash. Read the rest of this entry »




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Deconstructive Criticism

March 22nd, 2019

First, thanks to Alex for last week’s post. I always have to check that I don’t use the words ‘very’ and ‘really’ too often in my writing. I’ve found that in most cases, I can delete the offending words without altering the meaning of the sentence.

Last Sunday I noticed that The Sunday Times AA Gill Award had been launched. AA Gill was The Sunday Times food critic who died from cancer in 2016, and loving both food and his acerbic wit, I miss his reviews bitterly. Gill was dyslexic and the organisers say … in line with this, your spelling and grammar will not be taken into account, but your entry should be bold, insightful and witty. Read the rest of this entry »




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