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What’s In A Title?

January 18th, 2019

Ta Dah! Sound of trumpets and roll of drums… I’m pleased to be able to announce the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. Congratulations to Gordon Aindow, who took first place with Voicemail. For me, it was one of those stories which I read and could immediately put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. I could really see myself doing exactly the same in the circumstances (I won’t spoil the plot by saying what that was!) In second place was Rosy Edwards with Seek and Ye Shall Find – one of the best ‘twist in the tail’ stories I’ve read for a long time. I really didn’t see it coming. And in third place, Michelle Christophrou with Stinky Play-Doh Guy. Who could resist a title like that?

The first two are tragic pieces, the third a comic twist on a serious subject but what they all have in common is a terrific title. Titles are always important, whether you’re writing a book, an article or a short story but in flash fiction, where your wordage is so limited, choosing a good title is essential.

As usual, many of the entries dealt with gloomy themes and those that tried to be humorous often failed. That’s why we were so impressed with Stinky Play-Doh Guy. But I think it really reinforces what may authors already know – that comedy can be far harder to write than tragedy.

This is why The Comedy Women in Print Prize was launched by writer and comedian, Helen Lederer, to discover and encourage new talent. This year it has joined forces with HarperFiction and will be offering a £5000 publishing contract as the winner. The runner-up prize is a free MA creative writing course at the University of Hertfordshire. To enter you must be an unpublished writer and be in a position to send the first 5000 words of your novel, together with a one-page synopsis. The closing date is 28th February and full details of how to enter, and the fee,  are on their website.

Before I close, I’d just like to mention something that I saw on the letters page of Writers News recently. It was from a reader explaining a scam targeting writers that she’d experienced.  She had been cold-called by a ‘talent spotting agency’. They said a film director had seen her self-published book online and was keen to make a film of it – their role would be to negotiate a huge amount of money for the rights on her behalf. They were lavish with their praise but there was one small (depending on how you look at it) thing – she would have to pay them £4000 towards the cost of a screenwriter before it could go any further. Being a sensible lady, she declined. But she did want to warn others to avoid the trap.

So, if you’re selling one of your books online and get a call of this kind, ignore the flattery and put the phone down with a firm hand!

Author: Diana Nadin

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