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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.

What do you think? That’s the opening of a story I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping to enter it for the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize but I’m struggling with the word count. The maximum is 4,000 words and my first draft came out at 7,500. I’ve managed to edit over 2,000 out, but it’s still too long – bummer!

I was getting a bit depressed about this. But over the weekend, my twelve year old daughter said: “Why don’t you just send it somewhere else?”

They’re full of common sense these twelve year olds.

So, winding up my laptop, I switched on the interweb and within five minutes I was rummaging through all sorts of story writing tips and information on a website hosted by ex-Writers Bureau student, Christopher Fielden. That’s Chris in the picture, up on the right. He’s now a published author who somehow manages to divide his time between writing fiction, proofing and editing, managing his own annual short story competition, working as a director for a digital marketing agency, and playing drums in various hard rock bands in and around Bristol … Phwew! I was exhausted just reading about it all.

His site is crammed with hints, guidance and services for writers, and it’s well worth quarter of an hour of your time to check it out. But the thing that first drew me to it was his list of short story competitions. This is a goldmine for anyone interested in story writing. Regular, prestigious, annual and one-off competitions are all included, with their closing dates, maximum words, entry fees and top prizes clearly displayed. The list is frequently updated, but if you want to double-check anything there’s a link from each entry to the competition’s own website, so verification is a piece of cake.

As someone who still struggles to set up an email list, I can only imagine the amount of work that must go in to maintaining something like this. And for Chris to put it all up there, free of charge … at first it seemed a bit daft to me. But on reflection, I think he knows what he’s doing. I’ve already bookmarked his site, I’ll certainly be visiting again. Now here I am blogging about it, and some of you will probably want to take a look too. A couple of us may even end up buying one of his books. And that’s what it’s all about, in the end, isn’t it?

So what about my story? Well, thanks to Chris, I don’t know where to turn now. Should I go for the Dark Tales Short Story Contest (a regular monthly competition with a £5 entry fee and a £100 prize) or the Aeon Award (a pricey but prestigious annual event with spoils of up to €1,000?) I can’t make my mind up. But let’s be honest, as problems go … I’ve had worse.

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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