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Discovering Literature

August 10th, 2018

First, thanks to Sally for last week’s post and her tips for writing a psychological thriller. This week I realised just how good her advice is about not making your protagonists either all bad or all good. I was watching Debbie Horsfield’s new comedy drama on TV – Age Before Beauty. I found myself shouting at the TV in irritation because nobody could possibly be such an out-and-out bad ‘un as the Leanne character. I know we’re not talking noirish thriller here, but characterisation still needs to be realistic enough for you to be prepared to suspend your disbelief for the duration. Just one redeeming feature might help. Perhaps we’ll see it in future episodes; perhaps not.

Moving on, I’ve discovered a terrific website. The British Library’s ‘Discovering Literature’ section is packed with interesting information if you’re keen on books. They say:

“Discovering Literature brings to life the social, political and cultural context in which key works of literature were written. Enjoy digitised treasures from our collection, newly commissioned articles, short documentary films and teachers’ notes.”

There’s material on the 20th Century, Romantics and Victorians, Restoration and 18th Century, Shakespeare and Renaissance and Medieval. It really is a treasure trove if you’re interested in literature from various periods and the background against which it’s set.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Woman’s Weekly as being a good market for short fiction. But I’ve just heard that they have cut their payment to writers. Apparently, they used to pay £150 for a 2000-word story for authors new to them, but they have reduced this to £100. To add insult to injury they also now require ‘all rights’ so that there is no possibility of re-selling the story to another market at a later date. So, you have been warned…

Our Limerick competition has now ended and the results will be available before too long. Keep an eye on our competition website to find out the winner and also when our next competition (Flash Fiction) opens. In the meantime, you might want to look at The Manchester Writing Prize. There are two categories (short fiction up to 2500 words and a portfolio of 3-5 poems up to 120 lines). Both have an eye-watering first prize of £10,000. The closing date is 14th September. Check out their website for full details, but as I say each year – with prizes like that the competition will be fierce!

My guest next week is Roz Watkins, author of the DI Meg Dalton series of novels. She’ll be looking at the importance of the first page of your novel and providing a checklist to ensure it ticks all the right boxes.

Author: Diana Nadin

 

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