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Take a Break

April 13th, 2015

Castle.Rigg-blogHow’s the writing going? Sometimes I love that question – not always though. Take the past few weeks. Since early March I’ve been working on a story for the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize (closing date 22 June.) Putting together the first draft was great, but it ran to 7,500 words and the competition maximum is 4,000 so when I started editing, things got tough. I lived under a little cloud for the best part of a week – ask my wife. Read the rest of this entry »




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It’s a Big Big World

March 23rd, 2015

C'wealth-blogY’know, it’s a splendid job, blogging for the Writers Bureau. As well as the completely self indulgent necessity to write about writing, it’s introduced me to loads of new stuff. Some of my favourite blogs: Writers In The Storm; Grammarphobia; Grammarly, the works of great writers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Jhumpa Lahiri, not forgetting Leonard Lopate’s  fabulous WNYC talk show … all brilliant. And now, there’s another one for the list: Commonwealth Writers. Read the rest of this entry »




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Competition Time

March 16th, 2015

Win-blogRight, get your typing fingers ready. The Royal Society Of Literature has just announced its seventeenth V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for the best unpublished short story of the year. This is a competition open to residents of all Commonwealth countries, it’s for stories of 2,000 – 4,000 words, there’s a £5.00 entrance fee and, as well as publication in Prospect online and the RSL Review, the winner gets a very tasty £1,000. The deadline is 22 June, and with all the talent I know is out there, I’m sure one of you folks must be in with a chance.

I’d have a go myself but, as some of you may remember, I had a bad experience with a short story last year and it’s quite taken the wind out of my sails. I tried working something up for a Writing Magazine ‘adult fairy story’ competition, but ended up missing the deadline with a story that was far too long and which, even now, isn’t in any fit state to show an editor.

So where did I go wrong? Well, right at the start, I didn’t think – just launched into an idea without any proper planning. If I’d taken a couple of days to mull things over, it all could have been very different. In fact, I really should have back-pedaled further than that. Even before thinking things through, what I should have done is gone and found some advice on how to write for competitions. “Do-oh!” How thick can you be, ‘ey? Here’s me blogging for the Writers Bureau, and it didn’t even enter my head to see what our own tutors have to say about it.

Ah well … I’ve had a look now. And do you know what I found? A cracking article by Simon Whaley called Writing Competitions – A Judge Reveals All. It’s been sitting there in the back copies of E-Zee Writer since April 2009 and, honestly, it’s like a little potted masterclass. As well as loads of great tips on how to approach competitions, it explains how to timetable your work over three months to be sure you’re ready and properly edited in good time. If only I’d read it last year … I could be counting my winnings now.

So look, if you fancy having a go at the Royal Society’s short story prize, there’s loads of time to get something together. But don’t make the same mistakes I did. Do yourself a favour and read Simon’s article first, it’ll give you a great head start.

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig




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Long Live The Book!

January 16th, 2015

Jacqueline_Jeynes_200By now I’m sure that all of you have heard of Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year resolution to read more books. But he’s also launched an online book club and the first title on his reading list is The End of Power by Moises Naim. Needless to say, the book has rocketed into the Amazon bestseller list and sold out.  Had you heard of it? No, me neither. And I won’t be taking any bets on the number of people who download it but never quite reach the end!

Apparently, after announcing his New Year resolution Zuckerberg said: “Books allow you to explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today”.  Nothing like stating the obvious! Read the rest of this entry »




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What a to-do over a review!

November 3rd, 2014

On-Writing-199x300To brighten up your Monday I thought I’d give you something that will, hopefully, make you smile. It’s a short  snippet from Radio 4 – A L Kennedy On the Writing Life.

A L Kennedy, if you’ve not encountered any of her work before, is a prize-winning novelist, short story writer… and stand-up comedian. She’s won a number of awards for her work and has published  On Writing based on her blog for the Guardian Online.

In this monologue she takes a quirky view of something you can look forward to when you’re a famous author  –  odd reviews, bad reviews, good reviews, and how to deal with them!  She also looks at the benefits to be gained from having a win in a reputable, well-established literary competitions.

So sit back, relax and enjoy!

Author:

 




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