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Five Motivational Quotes

July 23rd, 2021

I’m sure that like me, over the past 18 months you’ve been dependent on library apps and Amazon Kindle for your reading matter. (After lengthy closure during the early months of the pandemic, my local library is still being used as a vaccination centre.) So I just thought I’d mention the Kindle Storyteller Award 2021. It’s a £20,000 literary prize recognising outstanding writing and is open to writers publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including various book industry experts. It’s open for entries until 31st August 2021.

I know that some of you might find the thought of publishing your book with Kindle Direct Publishing daunting, but if you have a book ready to hit the shelves and no publisher or agent in sight then it’s definitely worth considering this option. I’ve not done it myself but I have been told by various students that KDP simplifies the process as much as possible and that it’s not beyond the know-how of anyone who’s reasonably confident in their IT skills (or has an obliging friend or grandchild to help them). So with such a generous prize on offer at the moment, maybe now is the time to give it a try. 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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National Flash Fiction Day

June 25th, 2021

First, thanks to Pamela for last week’s post. I know exactly where she’s coming from because I have a ‘water compulsion’ too. I love going to the seaside, whatever the weather. One of my favourite trips to Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland was accompanied by black clouds, raging seas and rain. Where I live, we’re surrounded by high moorland reservoirs – one of them even has a sandy ‘beach’ – and a network of canals; so local walks usually involve water! I can’t think of anything more inspirational or relaxing.

Perhaps there are more of us than you would think – or how else to explain the popularity of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn which was on the Sunday Times best-seller list for 80 weeks. And if you want a really raw read then try Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean. It’s the story of a group of boys and men stranded on a remote sea-stack in the early 1700s while their home island of Hirta was ravaged by smallpox. Read the rest of this entry »




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Block-v-Indented Paragraphs

May 11th, 2021

There are two paragraphing styles that you need to be aware of – block and indented – and many new writers wonder about which they should use.

Block paragraphing has a blank line separating the last line of the previous paragraph and the first line of the new paragraph. Each paragraph is a block of text on the page, with white space all around it. The first line of each paragraph is left-justified which means it is not indented. This blog uses block paragraphs!

Indented paragraphing does not have a blank line between each paragraph. Instead, you start the first line of each paragraph about five or six spaces from the left hand margin of your page.  Read the rest of this entry »




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Student Of The Year 2021

February 22nd, 2021

It’s great that the winners of this year’s competition have now been announced and their stories are available to read on our website.

First the overall winner, Theresa Gooda – what diverse writing skills! She writes articles, short stories, poems and is also a ghost writer. (We’ll be hearing more about this from Theresa in her guest post next week.) She’s studied both our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course and our Art of Writing Poetry Course and she’s putting  the skills she’s learned in each to good use.

Next for the runners-up. Simon Miller has done something that many people only dream of – he’s broken into writing for radio, podcasts and TV. Humour is a notoriously difficult concept to sell but he seems to be going from strength to strength. Read the rest of this entry »




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