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No More Women In Jeopardy, Please!

February 23rd, 2018

First, thanks to Matthew for last week’s blog. I really thought the reasons he put forward for entering competitions were persuasive. He’s absolutely right, the fact that you are creating for a purpose and you have to work to a deadline are great incentives to make you sit down and write!

At this point I’d like to refer back to another relatively recent blog post – one written by Writers Bureau tutor David Kinchin. In it he mentions the need to find good titles for your work, and this was brought home to me recently when I looked at the longlist for the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. It’s the world’s most lucrative short story prize with £30,000 for the winner and, as you can imagine, the standard is incredibly high. Most of the titles were sharp but these two stood out as being particularly eye-catching: Cooking A Wolf and Peanuts Aren’t Nuts. If they make it to the shortlist (announced in March) it will be interesting to see whether the originality of the stories lives up to the titles.

In the meantime, it’s definitely worth having a look at the competition website. There’ a great article entitled ‘How to get your stories noticed’ by literary agent Lucy Luck, plus readings of last year’s shortlisted stories by well-known actors and interviews with authors.

And don’t forget, once you’ve picked up those tips on getting your story noticed, why not put them to good use and write something for our current competition? It’s open until 31st March, so you’ve still got plenty of time to enter. The first prize may only be one per cent of the money offered by the Sunday Times, but £300 is still worth having and all our four winners receive a free copy of a Writers Bureau course of their choice. If that tuition helps you to improve your writing or turn it in a more successful direction then it’s priceless!

Now for details of a competition that’s a little more quirky and was only launched yesterday. It’s the Staunch Book Prize. The blurb says:

The inaugural Staunch Book Prize will be awarded to the author of a novel in the thriller genre in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

Sounds refreshing? It would be. It’s way past time for something more original.

As violence against women in fiction reaches a ridiculous high, the Staunch Book Prize invites thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old clichés – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).

That doesn’t mean we’re just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot. If your story features a woman in a strong leading role, even better!

Your book can be unpublished, self-published or published by a mainstream outfit within the last 18 months, so there are few restrictions. They want to see the first 5000 words and a single A4 sheet synopsis. The closing date is 15th July, but a word of warning. If you’re shortlisted they want the full book by the end of August. There’s an entry fee of £20 and the winner receives £2000.

My guest next week is Amanda Davies who’ll be telling you how she is currently building up her writing career as a blogger.

Author: Diana Nadin

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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