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In Times Like These…

June 26th, 2020

First, thanks to Phil for last week’s post. Personally, I found it fascinating and I think he’s absolutely right when he says: “With memoir you need to dig deep and build your story on a foundation of truth and openness”. That is exactly what you have to do if those about whom you are writing as part of your own history are still alive. You don’t want to hurt people but you have to be true to yourself.

If this post has whetted your appetite for writing your own memoir, then we have just the course for you. It’s very flexible and allows you to have feedback on your personal writing rather than having to do set assignments. But if you are already working on a memoir, then you might want to consider submitting it to the same competition that Phil entered – the Fish Publishing Short Memoir Competition. It’s currently closed but should be opening for the next round shortly; so keep checking their website. Read the rest of this entry »




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Literary Podcasts

May 1st, 2020

First, thanks to Alexandra for last week’s post. I found it really interesting, especially the fact that she took the time to think what the different age groups would respond to and enjoy. This is something that anyone serious about writing for children should have in the forefront of their mind.

We’ve now read through all the entries for the recent Short Story Competition and are putting together a shortlist. So watch this space! It shouldn’t be long before we are able to announce the winners.

In the meantime, we are now accepting entries for the 2020 Poetry Competition. As usual, we accept poems on any theme, up to a limit of 40 lines. The first prize is £300, second prize is £200 and third prize is £100 plus all winners will receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice. The closing date is 31st July. I feel I must provide one tip here. I know Coronavirus is the main thing in everyone’s mind at the moment so you might want to think twice about choosing this theme. But if you do feel that you are really inspired to write about some aspect of the current situation then make sure that your subject and approach is truly original. Read the rest of this entry »




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How To Read A Novel

January 14th, 2020

One of the things that I’m sure you hear repeatedly is that if you want to be a writer then you must read, read, read. But why?

You should read – especially contemporary fiction – because it shows you what trends are current, what readers are looking for NOW and so what publishers are searching for.

You should read all fiction – contemporary, classic, experimental – to see how other authors use words, how they put together their plots, twine in sub-plots and how they make their characters realistic. When you read something you enjoy then you can analyse it and use the knowledge you have gained in your own work. When you read a book that doesn’t work for you, then you can try to decide what’s wrong with it and avoid this in your own writing. Read the rest of this entry »




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Stocking Fillers For Writers

December 6th, 2019

First, thanks to Alex for last week’s post. As he pointed out, competitions aren’t for everyone, but thanks to those of you who sent your stories in to our Flash Fiction Competition. Entry is now closed but the enjoyable part (at least for me!) has now started. I’m having a great time going through them all and we should be in a position to prepare a shortlist and pick the winners shortly. So watch this space!

As our own competition has finished I’m going to suggest a couple of others that you might consider if you want to keep your writing muscles flexed over the festive season. So here we go… Read the rest of this entry »




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Putting the Emphasis on Non-fiction

June 9th, 2017

First, thanks to Sarah for last week’s blog.  I found it fascinating and very useful because, as you know, it’s becoming increasingly rare for small publishers to offer writers an advance. And if you do get one, it is often small (unless you’re one of those famous/infamous celebrities that can command a six figure deal). If you’re self-publishing, then you simply have to fund the full process yourself and in these cash-strapped times it’s not always easy. This is where crowdfunding can come in useful – but before you embark on anything like this make sure you take on board Sarah’s advice. It’s not easy, and you might find yourself spending more time raising funds than actually writing. You have been warned!

In the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Course we have a section on writing readers’ letters and fillers. Writing letters is pretty obvious, but some students struggle with the idea of ‘fillers’. At one time magazines needed very short articles that they could use to fill blank spaces on a page. Hence the name – ‘fillers’. This is no longer necessary, with electronic setting, as articles and photos can be re-shaped and re-sized so that they fill the appropriate space without any difficulty. Read the rest of this entry »




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