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Showing posts from December, 2015

Guest Post: Sharon Boothroyd - The Secret of Competition Success

Welcome back to Sharon Boothroyd! Last time Sharon was on the site to tell us the story behind, a e-magazine for short stories, articles and poems. This time Sharon's sharing her wisdom on how to succeed with competitions... INTRODUCTION If you are a writer, I'm sure you have thought about entering a competition at some point – whether the competition is for a short story, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a blog post, a play or a novel. Competitions provide a variety of scope and can offer writers a fantastic freedom of style, tone and genre. Here's ten top tips to the secret of competition success.  1 Follow the rules  It sounds basic, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't. Some competitions are very strict about line spacing, size of font and even the font itself. Then there's the business of actually sending it. Do they want entries via snail mail or e-mail? If it's e-mail, do you paste it in the body of the

A Look Back At 2015

2015 has been a mix of writing highs and personal lows. At a time of great stress and worry I found that writing was my salvation.  It was a distraction from things that I had no control over, but plenty of worry about.  It gave me a reason to get up and do something when I could easily have sat in a dark corner and wept. But most of all it led me to discover a world full of like-minded enthusiastic people who have been a source of inspiration and hope. Back in January I joined the RNA New Writers Scheme . Although I wasn’t able to attend any of the events this year due to an illness in the family, being a member of this incredible association has been absolutely fantastic.  The NWS review of my romantic crime novel was invaluable and I now have a clear plan in mind for what I need to work on.  Through the RNA I have met so many wonderfully helpful, supportive and friendly people and I love the comradery between the members. The weekly #TuesNews on twitter is a great way to st

Guest Post:Sam Tonge - Want To Be A Writer?

This week I'm joined by Sam Tonge, author of Doubting Abbey and Game of Scones.  Want To Be A Writer? When reading through magazines or newspapers, you often see an advert headed “Want to be a Writer?” This got me thinking... would I actually recommend it as a profession. Whilst I have five romantic comedies published now, I still remember The Wilderness Years as I remember them, full of rejection, tears, the occasional high but a lot of lows, accompanied by my (futile) declarations that I would give up my passion. Yet, having though about this question I have quickly decided, yes I definitely would, because I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed so many amazing experience since signing my deal that, in my opinion, are made all the sweeter because of the hard times I went through. And here are my top five experiences you can look forward to, if you stay determined, develop a tough skin and never stop believing you could be just moments away from finding that one person (a

The Reluctant Gardener: Hanging Up My Gardening Gloves

As 2015 draws to a close it seems only fitting to update you on my gardening progress. Towards the end of October I mowed the lawn and put the mower away, satisfied that I wouldn’t be needing it again until the spring.  Then I spent the next few weeks uncharacteristically cursing the mild weather and literally watching the grass grow. Before I grudgingly got the mower back out of its winter hibernation though one of the neighbours offered to cut the lawn for me. I don’t think he was quite anticipating the eagerness with which his offer was accepted. So I settled back and admired the short lawn which seemed so much better for not having had to do it myself, plus it lacked the wonky lines which always emerge despite my best efforts to walk in a straight line. I delighted in the blissful knowledge that now it definitely wouldn’t need cutting again before the spring. That was it.  My role as the temporary gardener filling in for my Dad had been completed for the year.

The Writing Class: Second Person Narrative

The writing class last week looked at second person narrative. Based on Lorrie Moore’s collection of short stories; ‘Self Help’, we were set the task of writing a somewhat sarcastic instruction in the second person about how to be a writer. Here’s mine: Stop telling the world that you want to be a writer and actually write something. Anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not. After all your aim was simply to be a writer, be it good, bad, or more likely just unread. Buy a dictionary, or at least learn how to use spell check. It even helps you out with squiggly red underlying to give you a hint as to where your errors lurk. Proofread, and no that doesn’t mean skim read. When you think of that perfect phrase, write it down. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3am, you’ll only curse yourself if you forget it. Alternatively it might just echo around your head all night like a child that demands attention and refuses to be quiet. It’s easier to give in and write it down. Of course in the mornin

Songwriting News: The 2015 UK Songwriting Contest Results

The 2015 UK Songwriting Contest results are out! I’m delighted to have lyrics in the semi-finals again this year with ‘Back to Before’. Sadly they didn’t reach the finals, but there’s always next year… You can listen to the winners from this year’s contest online at: The Lyrics Only Winner was Debra Gussin with her powerful and emotional lyrics ‘Best Actor’. You can read her winning words here: My favourite song in the contest this year is the Country Winner; ‘A Moment Doesn’t Matter’ by Jayne Sachs, Victoria Banks and Brett Mandel.  It’s a beautiful song, fantastic moving lyrics and a great sound. I’d love to hear more by these guys! I also loved ‘My Favourite Time Of Year’ by Leigh Haggerwood, which won the Music Video category. The work that must have gone in to producing this video is incredible. ht