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Genre Versus Literary Fiction

June 9th, 2021

You often hear the word ‘genre’ bandied about in writing – but what exactly does it mean? The dictionary defines it as ‘a style or category of art, music or literature’.

So, we have detective stories, thrillers, romance, historical novels, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, erotica… Each of these different genres has its own conventions. Loner detective with drink/hostile partner problem; Eastern European drugs/arms/people smugglers; dungeons and dragons; haunted houses…  You will probably find yourself wanting to write in one of these genres if you enjoy reading that type of story and feel you can bring something new to the conventions that faithful readers expect.

But what is the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction (the kind of story that wins the Booker Prize)? Read the rest of this entry »




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From Stand Up to Sonnets

December 4th, 2020

First, thanks for Amanda for last week’s post. I don’t know how I would have managed without the library BorrowBox App during lockdown when our local libraries were closed. Now I intend to look into lots more of the suggestions that she packed in. I also found it so inspiring that even when she was up against serious health problems she still found time to write!

This week is going to be something of a miscellany – but hopefully an interesting one!

First, have a look at Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2020 (I know we’re nearly in 2021, but it’s still good). There are 10 categories which include Freelancing, Blogging, Travel, Publishing, Podcast etc. To ensure that the content is genuinely good they only include sites that have been recommended by readers of The Write Life; the published content is judged to be helpful to writers and the list is updated recently and regularly. I hope you find it useful. Read the rest of this entry »




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Poetry Pointers

August 17th, 2020

First, thanks to Antonio for his humorous post. But behind the humour there’s lots of serious and useful advice; so please think about it and take it to heart if you hope to improve your short fiction.

Next, I’m sorry that I didn’t get a post up last week. Working from home is great but when you get an IT glitch it causes real problems. Hopefully, normal service is now resumed!

The end of July saw the close of our 2020 Poetry Competition – thank you to everyone who entered. We’re currently working through the entries in order to put together our ‘longlist’. As usual, it’s hard work because we had so many great poems. As we’ve been going through them some made us laugh, some made us shed a tear and one or two made us gasp or groan. Read the rest of this entry »




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Back To School

April 24th, 2020

World Book Day was very exciting for me. Through my publisher I was invited to a local primary school in Derbyshire to lead a series of half-hour workshops for all the year groups. I was thrilled by the opportunity as I love running workshops and I have never been part of a World Book Day before!

The first thing I had to consider was updating my DBS Check. Ideally my mind would be at ease if I could have gotten an enhanced DBS which covers everything.  However, as a self-employed writer you can only get a basic check which is £23. You can’t ask yourself some of the questions on more enhanced checks which is why you can’t get one. I have been advised that a basic check is sufficient as usually there is someone on hand to help with the workshop anyway, so that was one less worry! Read the rest of this entry »




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Festive Greetings

December 20th, 2019

First, thanks to David for last week’s post. I found the final paragraph particularly interesting and it’s just  how I think of it: “The last line in flash fiction is crucial…it’s akin to the punchline in a joke”.  If there’s one piece of advice that you should bear in mind as you start crafting your stories to enter in competitions next year, then that’s the one!

In the meantime, we’ll soon have the shortlist for our own Flash Fiction Competition available and we’ll be launching our 2020 Short Story (2000 words) Competition before too long.

For those of you who have had success this year (whether you measure that by sales of your writing or the pleasure that your work has given to yourself and others), then there is still time to enter our Student of the Year 2020 award. Check out the details here and we’d love to hear from you if you feel your story would interest and inspire others (come on now, no false modesty!) There is £250 for the overall winner and four runners up will each receive £50. Read the rest of this entry »




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