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Long Or Short Fiction – Which Do You Prefer?

November 13th, 2015

sir-arthur-conan-doyle-1-blogLast week I took a look at NaNoWriMo, where writers try to create a novel in a single month.

November is obviously developing as a literary month (all those dark nights to settle down and write) because National Short Story Week also takes place from 16th to 22nd. According to their site, this is ‘an annual awareness event. Its aim is to focus the attentions of the public and the media on the short story and short story writers, publishers and events. The aims of National Short Story Week are to get more people reading and listening to short stories; get more people writing short stories; develop creative and commercial opportunities for individuals and organisations involved in the short story form.

All great stuff, but the thing I like best is that they also hold a Young Writers Competition every year. Schools have to register to take part and stories are accepted from Year 7 and Year 8 students.  The best stories are published in paperback and e-book format during the next year’s event and there’s a free podcast of advice on the site. For me, anything that encourages young people to write has got to be good.

Now on to something completely different – Movember. This is where people grow moustaches, during the month of November, to raise money for men’s health projects Since it started in 2003 it has raised over £402,000,000! (Incidentally, here in Britain we have moustaches but in America they have mustaches!)

I’m going to take this opportunity to be silly and look at some “great literary ‘taches” – and what I think they say about their owners. First up there’s old Will Shakespeare – in his portraits he always looks neat but rather secretive. Perhaps that’s why we still know so little about his personal life despite all the research.

Next up is Flaubert – his facial hair signals self-satisfaction of the highest order. Ernest Hemmingway – brash, boastful and, dare I say it, rather untrustworthy from a woman’s point of view.  Dostoevsky and Tolstoy – like their literature, overwhelming in quantity and not for the faint hearted. Friedrich Nietzshe – strong  and opinionated. James Joyce – what an audacious little moustache!

And finally, our pictured author – Arthur Conan Doyle. I think Salman Rushdie’s (himself one of the best known authors sporting permanent facial hair) quote from Midnight’s Children “…the waxed tips of his moustache are rigid with importance,” admirably sum up Sir Arthur!

If you want to see pictures of all these authors together with their hirsute appendages of the upper lip then visit Flavorwire.

Well, that brings us to the end of this week’s blog. If anyone wants to provide a guest post, then please email me on dianan@writersbureau.com. And don’t forget that our own attempt to raise the profile of short story writing via our annual competition closes on 30th November. Don’t miss the deadline!

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