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This month we have expert advice from Simon Whaley on providing extra information for publishers; be inspired by our students' successes; find inspiration and something of use in useful websites, plus Ten Top Tips highlights how to make your website work for you.

Hello again,

I can literally feel the gentle breeze created by the sighing of relieved parents as the kids go back to school following the summer (although we’ve had very little sun in the UK) holidays. This usually leads to a rush of assignments as, once again, there’s time to concentrate on studying.

So, as we all settle back into a routine again I thought I’d have a look at the numerous societies there are, and there are, literally, hundreds of them. Societies can be a good way to get to know more about your chosen subject and meet other people with the same interests. For those of you with a copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, have a look at the Societies, Associations and Clubs section – page 551 in the 2010 edition – to see just how many there are connected to the areas of writing and art, for example the Thomas Lovell Beddoes Society, The British Fantasy Society, Circle of Wine Writers and the Francis Brett Young Society are just a fraction of what’s available. I am pretty sure there is a society for just about anything you can think of these days – just typing ‘society of’ in Google returned over 350,000,000 results including The Society of Exploration Geophysicists, The British Society of Dowsers and The Weed Science Society of America. As well as being a place for you to mix with other people with the same interests, societies could also be an easy way to get in touch with experts if you require confirmation of facts for your novel or expert quotes for your article.

Student successes come from Phill and Gideon this month and both are quite considerable achievements so should be encouraging to all those who feel stuck with their writing. Simon Whaley gives his expert advice on boxouts, side panels, side bars and further information panels and Ten Top Tips looks at how you can make your website work for you. Useful websites includes two requests from readers who are also in the ‘business’.

If you are mobile this month you may want to mosey on over to The Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds on the 27th September for a day of spontaneous storytelling which is, according to their website a “proven cure for writer’s block”. The day course costs £55.78, including refreshments and a three course lunch. More details are available here.

If you are in Toronto, Canada you could attend the monthly meeting of the Canadian Authors Association on the 18th September, held above the World’s Biggest Bookstore, 20 Edwards Street. The aim of the monthly meetings is for writers to help writers. More information here.


National Poetry Day takes place on the 8th October and this year’s theme is Heroes and Heroines. You can take part by submitting images of poems you’ve located in strange and unusual places or read blogs of famous poets. There is also a huge range of events taking place all over the country, for example Carol Anne Duffy is reading from her collection at The Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester or you can see poet Ian Bland perform for free at the Andsell Library, Lancashire. See here for more details.


And finally, I’d like to bring our Twitter flash fiction competition to your attention. You have to write a short story, on any subject, in 140 characters or less – should be fun. The closing date is September 30th and see here for rules and entry instructions. The winner will receive a copy of our Writing for Competitions course.


Have a fun month!


Shelley x