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Dotting Your ‘i’s and Crossing Your ‘t’s

December 13th, 2013

First, thanks to Dawn for last Friday’s blog. In my experience writers tend to fall into two camps – those who can effectively cut out family and friends when they need to write, but feel guilty about it. And those who are easily distracted and make friends and family an excuse for procrastination. Which category do you fall into? Come on…be honest!

Punctuating your Poetry

We’re now nearing the deadline for our annual Poetry Competition and, as usual, I’ve been looking through the entries (one of the perks of the job) before they are sent off to our adjudicator, Alison Chisholm. One of the things that has struck me this year is the fact that many of the entries have erratic punctuation – or none at all. This can make life hard for the reader as punctuation (in everything you write) is there to make the meaning clearer. But it can also have a huge impact on a poem’s chances of winning a prize.

If a reader is to get the most from a poem he or she needs to know when to pause for breath or stop for a moment – and commas and full stops give clues to this. So, can I beg you all, before entering your poems, to take a few moments to read them aloud. If you do this slowly and clearly it should be easy to decide where the punctuation should be and it might just make the difference between the rejection pile and a cash prize. Remember, you’ve only got until 31st December, so get polishing those poems now!

Winning Memories

But for those of you who don’t write poetry, the 2014 Fish Short Memoir Prize is accepting entries until 31st January. The first prize is 1,000 Euros and the 10 best submissions will be published in the 2014 Fish Anthology. If, like many people, you’ve already started work on your memoirs but feel you need to give them a bit of a polish before they see the light of day, then have a look at The Online Writing Circle which offers a great value short course on the subject.

Finally, we had a couple of blog posts in November looking at some of the things that used to be frowned upon in writing (such as starting a sentence with ‘And’ or ending one with a conjunction). I recently saw a guest post by Jen Matera on Nick Daws Writing Blog which I felt really summed up this subject. So, if you’re interested in the subject (or just unsure of what’s acceptable and what’s not) then have a look at it.

And (?) my guest next week is Ninette Hartley with an inspiring post on why you’re never too old to start again!




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