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A Writer’s Gold Mine

April 27th, 2015

ChrisFielden-blogYou won’t believe this story, but I’ll tell it anyway because I’m seeing Sally tonight, and that’ll be hard. So, if I try it on you first, I might just get things straight enough in my head to tell her. And then maybe … well … y’know.

Anyway, here it is. 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 The Royal Society Of Literature has just announced its seventeenth V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for the best unpublished short story of the year.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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Literary Places You Fall In Love With

February 27th, 2015

laugharne_blogAs usual, thanks to Sue for last Friday’s guest blog. And, she’s absolutely right – researching markets, structuring and polishing your work and presenting it professionally are just as important, in this digital age, as they have ever been if you hope to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »




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Some You Win, Some You Have To Take It On The Chin

November 17th, 2014

magazines-blogA couple of months ago I wrote a blog about how hard it can be, just getting things finished. At the time, I’d spotted a competition in Writing Magazine for an adult fairy story, and I’d decided to enter. The competition was going to be my deadline, but whether I won or lost, the intention was to keep blogging about the story. I was working on the assumption that, if a piece isn’t successful on its first submission, there’s always somewhere else to send it. Read the rest of this entry »




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