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If you want to be a writer…read!

July 11th, 2014

First, thanks to Esther for last Friday’s post – and the great advice about ‘up-cycling’ (not sure if I like that word) your writing.  Don’t just delete stuff. You might not be able to use it in its current form but you could cannibalise it for a plot, a title or a theme.

But, as our annual short story comes to an end and we send the entries off to the adjudicator, could I make a plea for people not to enter the same story year after year.  I recognised quite a few from last year; and if they didn’t win then, they’re highly unlikely to win this year.  Send them off to a different competition or re-cycle them, otherwise you’re just wasting your money.

At the moment I’m reading I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, the author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians. I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I was particularly taken by a quote from the author in the introduction:

“When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it – or rather, it is like living it. It makes reading so much more exciting…”  I couldn’t agree more!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky to have a cache of really good books to enjoy – plus some glorious weather – so that I could avoid the-wall-to wall football coverage on the TV (not to mention Wimbledon and the Tour de France). And now that the Commonwealth Games are due to start I think a visit to the library and a trawl through Amazon will be on the cards this weekend.

As we’re between competitions here at Writers Bureau you might like to consider entering the Mslexia Memoir Competition. They are looking for the first 5000 words of a previously unpublished memoir and the winner pockets £5000. So, at a pound a word if you win it’s not a bad return! The closing date is 22nd September so you’ve still got plenty of time to dust off your memoirs and start knocking them into shape.

And finally, my guest next week is Writers Bureau non-fiction tutor Susan Stephenson.


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