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Don’t Limit Your Potential

June 24th, 2016

Lorraine-Mace,-2-blogI’m delighted to have this opportunity to re-introduce myself as a tutor after a few years away following a bereavement.

For those of you who read Writing Magazine, you probably know me best as the columnist of ‘Notes from the Margin’ – the humorous final page. The reason I mention this is because I owe my long-running column (seven years and counting) directly to the Writers Bureau course.

I started my writing career many, many years ago as a student and only signed up because I wanted to learn how to write fiction for the women’s magazine market! Instead of starting with the fiction modules, as I could have done, I wanted to learn all I could about writing and elected to take the comprehensive course. As a result, every assignment led to work being published in a vast variety of magazines in several countries – and one of the assignments also brought about my first humour column in Living France Magazine.

I am telling you this not to boast, but to encourage you to try your hand at areas of writing you might not initially feel is right for you. When I started out, I had no idea writing humour would become a long-term occupation, but it is one I enjoy very much.

By the time I reached the fiction modules I had much more confidence and believed in myself as a writer. I did, indeed, have several short stories published, but quickly realised I much preferred writing longer works.

My first published novel, Bad Moon Rising, (writing as Frances di Plino) was started as a Writers Bureau assignment. At the time I had no idea it would lead to a crime series, but I have since gone on to write three more D.I. Paolo Storey novels (Someday Never Comes, Call it Pretending and Looking for a Reason), plus two for children under my own name (Vlad the Inhaler and Vlad’s Quest).

So, you see why I titled this post ‘Don’t Limit Your Potential’? If I had only concentrated on the fiction modules for short story writing I would have lost out on all the other exciting things that have happened to me as a writer.

When you come to modules you think are not of interest to you, don’t rush the assignment to get it over and done with. Give it all the time and consideration you would allocate to modules and assignments you enjoy. You never know, one of those unloved and unwanted assignments could lead to some exciting possibilities.



Lorraine Mace has been the humour columnist for Writing Magazine (UK) since 2009. She is the head judge for the Writers’ Forum short story competitions and writes the monthly ‘Competition Round Up’ and ‘Fiction Workshop’ columns for the magazine. Her work (fiction and non-fiction) has been published in national publications in the UK, USA, France, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, as well as in numerous ezines.

She has won and been placed in international writing and poetry competitions.

Under her own name, Lorraine writes both non-fiction books and novels for children. She is the author of Vlad the Inhaler and Vlad’s Quest (ages 8-12) and is co-author of The Writer’s ABC Checklist (Accent Press, January 2010).

Writing as Frances di Plino, she is the author of the D.I. Paolo Storey crime series (Bad Moon Rising, Someday Never Comes, Call it Pretending and Looking for a Reason) all published by Crooked Cat Publishing. She is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers Association and the Freelance Writers Association.

She runs her own competition website with categories in flash fiction, short stories and novel openings. More details can be found here: www.flash500.com

With her broad range of writing interests and success in diverse fields, Lorraine tutors in both fiction and non-fiction for the Writers Bureau.

Lorraine Mace: www.lorrainemace.com

Frances di Plino: www.francesdiplino.com


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