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Writers Bureau Poetry Competition now open for entries

July 13th, 2012

I’m afraid we had a bit of a technical glitch in June but, hopefully, normal service has now been resumed!

As usual, thanks to Karen for her wise words on writing for children. Many people think that writing for children is an easy option. It’s not – or not if you’re going to make a success of it. But if that’s what you really want to do, don’t let anyone put you off. There are openings, if you persevere, whether in mainstream publishing, self-publishing or competitions.

Win £5000 for your children’s novel

Mslexia are currently running a Children’s Novel Competition – full details are available at www.mslexia.co.uk/novelcompetition The first prize is a healthy £5000 and the closing date isn’t until 10th September. Those are the plus points. On the minus side, the entry fee is £25 and it’s only open to women novelists (don’t get me started…)

Incidentally, throughout July our Review and Appraisal Service is offering a 10% discount on the assessment of Children’s Picture Books. So if you do want some feedback on your work prior to submitting to a publisher or entering a competition, now’s a good time to take advantage.

Making the F-word work for you

Our annual Short Story Competition has now closed and the entries have been sent off to the judge, Iain Pattison. I wish everyone who has entered the best of luck – but I also wish that some people would sit down and think about what they are writing before they send it in to us. Two themes were ‘overdone’ this year – and they really are best avoided.

The first is about unhappy old people in nursing homes – who usually fade away to join their deceased loved ones rather than put up with the rigours of a communal TV room and gruel three times a day. I know that this is something that the media – rightly – is looking at closely just now, but it seldom makes a good short story.

Next is the one about the writer, writing his/her magnum opus. I assume most are thinly (very thinly) veiled autobiography and I can assure you that they don’t provide the foundations for a winning entry. Write a gripping short story – not a story about writing a story!

And finally, I’d like to touch on the use of expletives. This had certainly rocketed this year; so here are one or two tips. If it’s a good, gritty story and the language is appropriate we don’t mind in the least. If they’re there (a) just because you, as the writer, use too many F-words in your daily conversation and can’t get your head around thinking of original adjectives or (b) you think it’s ‘cutting edge’ – then think again because you’ll just be wasting your entry fee.

OK, lecture over. Our annual Poetry Competition is now open for entries, with the usual £5.00 entry fee (£4.00 for subscribers to Freelance Market News) and a total of £1100 in prize money. I hope you’ll enter.

My guest next week will be Linda Lewis – prolific fiction writer and Writers Bureau tutor.

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