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A Flash In The Pan

August 28th, 2021

Before I go any further this week, I’d just like to remind you that we are now accepting entries for our current Flash Fiction Competition. As usual, there are prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice, plus publication on our website. The entry fee is £5 for one story or £10 for three (£4 for one story or £8 for three if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers). Your story should be no longer than 500 words and the closing date is 30th November.

But if you’re trying to decide whether to enter and you’re a Flash Fiction novice, here are some simple guidelines to help you stand a better chance of writing the kind of story our judges are looking for.

There are many forms of flash fiction, and stories can range from thirty up to a thousand words. Read the rest of this entry »




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Online Inspiration

August 14th, 2021

As you probably know, our 2021 Poetry Competition closed on 31st July. We are currently involved in the judging process and I’m amazed by how many first-class poems we have read so far. It really will be difficult to make a decision this year! But, we’ll try and let you have the results as soon as possible.

When one door closes another always opens – so you might want to start considering your entry for this year’s Flash Fiction Competition which has now been launched.  As usual your entry must not exceed 500 words. The entry fee is £5 per story or £10 for three (there’s a discount for subscribers to the Association of Freelance Writers). There are prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. The closing date is 30 November 2021. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Hemingway Effect

July 9th, 2021

For fans of Ernest Hemingway, the new documentary series on BBC4 that started last week is a real treat. When I saw that there were six episodes I thought it might be slow and ponderous, but if the first one was anything to go by that’s far from the truth. An hour in and we’re still only up to his early twenties but it was fascinating. I suspect that many people are aware of his love of bull-fighting, his deep-sea fishing, his game-hunting, his womanising and his hard drinking. But there was so much about his early life that was new to me and shed a light on his future development both as a person and as an author. I’ll confess that he’s never been one of my favourite writers, but I find the story of his life irresistible.

Before we go any further this week, I need to remind you about our Poetry Competition as time is flying and it will be the end of the month – and the closing date for entries – before you can blink. There are three prizes of £300, £200 and £100 and each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. Your poem can be up to 40 lines and on any theme.  The entry fee is £5.00 per poem (or £4.00 if you are a member of the Association of Freelance Writers). Read the rest of this entry »




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Picture Books that Inspire Kids, and Grown-ups too!

October 23rd, 2020

I’ve now got two lovely grandsons (who I don’t see anywhere near enough of under current restrictions). The elder, who’s just turned four, has always loved books so every  time I visit I try to find something new. And that’s not as easy as it sounds.

The shops are packed with glossy picture books but the actual content is often meaningless drivel that certainly doesn’t stimulate a young mind (and I’m not talking genius level here). Books for kids basically need to be relevant to their lives and what they know about. Only once you’ve put this in place can you start adding the things that will stretch their imagination (dinosaurs, witches, talking pumpkins). So, if you think you can tell a good tale and may be considering writing a picture book then which authors set a brilliant example? Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo Versus The Novella

October 9th, 2020

First, thanks to Barry for last week’s post. In these difficult times, when far-flung travel isn’t always an option, it’s good to get some advice on using what’s on your doorstep to craft a successful travel piece.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) will soon be upon us. But, what exactly is it? Their website says:

“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.”

But if the thought of trying to write a complete novel in a month scares the living daylights out of you, then why not consider a novella?  Most novellas range from 12,000 to 16,000 words. So, they’re not as demanding as a 50 to 100,000-word novel but you’ve more scope for plot and characterisation development than in a short story. At one time, this genre was seriously out of fashion because such short books weren’t considered commercial. But with the surge in e-publishing (and people’s growing desire for a quick read) they’re now a very viable proposition. Read the rest of this entry »




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