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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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How I Craft Very Short Fiction

December 13th, 2019

What an honour to win a Writers Bureau prize for my very short story, “That Old Familiar Smile”. The Bureau has asked me to write about crafting very short fiction. Suddenly I am an expert?

I like the idea of achieving a complete narrative arc in less than 500 words. Just like a novel, it has to have a beginning, middle and an end but not one word can be wasted.  Here’s how I do it.

It started with a local writing group. When we met, we had three themes, five minutes to think and choose one, then just 20 minutes to write the story. Afterwards we read them out. Sometimes I wrote rubbish and sometimes, something quite good, if a bit rough.  The theme could be a proverb, a song title or a random phrase. Quick thinking produces a first line or, more challengingly, a last line. Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Your Ideas Welcome – They’re Your Friends

November 15th, 2019

Forty-odd years ago, our dynamics lecturer wrote an equation on the blackboard. One symbol caught my imagination. That idea, for a novel, complete with cover design, remained with me for about thirty five years.

Years later, I reached the novel writing section of the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Writing Course. The same idea eventually grew into my début novel, Theta Double Dot.

I’m always fascinated by how others garner ideas, so I’d like to share some of my own methods. I should emphasise that these have evolved, as my circumstances and opportunities have altered. Read the rest of this entry »




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Winner of the Student Competition

October 30th, 2019

For our latest student competition we asked people to write the title and opening for a crime novel. Our congratulations go to David Goodday for the winning entry. Enjoy!

THE ITALIAN CAT SITTER

I was at home when I received the call from Mario. He told me that he wasn’t going to make it home that night and asked me for a favour. Mario was my next door neighbour and quite often I would use his spare key to go round and feed his cat for him. So, I went round, let Read the rest of this entry »




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How Your Day Job is Helping Your Writing Career

August 23rd, 2019

When people ask you what you do for a living, how do you respond? I think of myself predominantly as a writer, although I also have a day job to pay the bills. As such, I will often state my day job as my main occupation in order to avoid sounding pompous (even the notion!) I would imagine that many of you reading this are in a similar position, fitting your Writers Bureau courses around other commitments such as work.

As writers, it is incredibly easy to fall into a pit of frustration, longing for the day when you can quit your nine-to-five in order to pursue your passion as a full-time career. But aside from greater financial security, there are several reasons why having a day job can be a helpful tool to improve your writing. Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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