Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Go here for details.
I have never tried to write a serial but must admit I'd quite like to try one, so I think I might go to one of the serial writing workshops. Now then, where's my diary?
Many thanks to Sam Tonge for alerting me. By the way if you haven't read her book, Doubting Abbey yet, you're missing out. I absolutely loved it. Currently it's selling on Amazon for just 59p (or 96c on the US Amazon site). And no, it's not one of the badly formatted ones I was having a moan about a week or so ago.
This will be my last post before Christmas unless something really urgent comes up in the next two days, so let me wish you all a very merry Christmas. Hope you get everything you dreamed of, and have a fun time whatever you are doing. I'm off on our annual Christmas skiing trip (yahoo! wahey! and other exclamations of deep joy!) this weekend. I'll be back before New Year so see you all then.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
Karen's a wonderful writer who has sold hundreds of stories over the last 3 or 4 years.
Behind Closed Doors and other tales with a twist
Teresa Ashby is a writer who appears in UK women's magazines most weeks. She's certainly one to learn from.Here's her latest collection, more twist enders.
The Painting & other stories
One Step Ahead (and other twist in the tale short stories)
Jo Styles Short Story Collection No.1
There, that little lot should keep you going. All links are to the Kindle editions on Amazon.co.uk but the ebooks are also available on other Amazon websites - easiest way to find them is to search on the author name.
If you enjoy these books please leave an Amazon review. We do love Amazon reviews. They make us feel all loved and appreciated.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
But, and it's a bit of a ranty but.
Some of them are full of errors. Typos, spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar and punctuation, and endless formatting problems. I do find this very off-putting. In most cases these errors could have been spotted and corrected by a careful final proof-read. The formatting problems can be avoided by doing a bit of research on how to publish on Kindle, and formatting can easily be checked after an initial upload. I do feel that if you are trying to sell a product, you should make it the very best it can be. You've slaved over your plot, characterisation, dialogue and description so why not also ensure your manuscript is pristine, error-free and perfectly formatted? Don't you owe it to your reader?
I've self-published a couple of books as you know, and perhaps some of you are reading this and tutting, saying 'people in glass houses....etc'. There may be a few errors in my own books, and if there are, I do apologise (if you spotted any, email me and I'll correct them and re-upload the books). But I know I made a huge effort to ensure they were as error-free as possible. I proof-read on screen, then printed them out, read through and corrected more errors, emailed them to my Kindle and read through again to check formatting, corrected more errors and only when I could find nothing more did I publish them.
Some of the ebooks I've read this year cannot have been proof-read, they're simply too full of problems. In one, the name of a story changed between the contents page and the start of the story. In another, the first page on my Kindle alone contained about 4 errors. In a third, the formatting was so poor there were paragraph breaks half way through sentences. These books have received some great Amazon reviews, and rightly so because they are good books with fabulous plots. But the formatting and punctuation errors feel like the elephant in the room - the big problem that no one is talking about. I could bear it no longer, hence this post.
I should also point out that some of the ebooks I've read this year have been perfectly formatted, with not a single mistake throughout the book. And those are an absolute joy to read.
So this is a bit of a plea to all self-publishers and small ebook-only publishers out there. Spend the time and get it right. Or if you don't feel you have the skills yourself, get someone else to do it for you. If you don't know anyone who can proof-read and format it for you, pay someone to do it, for instance Soundhaven.com offer very reasonably priced services for formatting, cover design and uploading (though they don't proof-read).
A beautifully-presented book is so much more professional than an error-ridden book. People are much more likely to review it, recommend it, and buy your next book if your first book was a quality product.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Feeling vaguely violated. Should have trade-marked my name. :-(
Thanks to Sam Tonge for alerting me!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
“Why not try some romantic writing?” my lovely wife suggested. “Romance. Women love to read anything about unrequited love and passion. I could help you out …”
“I’m a married man. What do I know about romance?”
The next three weeks were spent sleeping on the couch. My back was killing me and someone had used up all the pain-killer tablets.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Here's the link to the auction site but you might be especially interested in lot number 108 where Sam Tonge (she of the last guest post here) is offering a detailed critique of a womag story.
There are all manner of items offered, from books to full manuscript critiques from agents (high bids for this one already!) to offers to give talks in schools. Do go and take a look, and help out this very worthwhile cause.
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Thanks Sam! Best of luck with the book launch. I adore the cover, and will be buying this novel as soon as it's released tomorrow!
Doubting Abbey - the blurb
Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!? Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke! The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion. So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward. Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…
Monday, 4 November 2013
As I prepare to take over the page, I want to hear from you if you’re a women’s magazine writer who also writes for competitions.
I also want to hear from people who have any competition news, views or queries. Let me know about your competition wins, or any unusual competitions you come across. And if you’re a competition judge or organiser, I’ll do my best to list your competition if you can send details three months ahead.
If you want to get in touch you can email the competition pages at competitiveedge(at)writers-forum(dot)com
I look forward to hearing from you.
Edited - just found Writers' Forum on Facebook.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Here's Sharon Boothroyd's story:
Friday, 25 October 2013
I've heard of a few cases recently where story submissions sent by post have been rejected and returned, and the writer has ended up having to pay excess postage.
This has happened for two different reasons:
- Lots of stories have been stuffed into a single SAE, taking the weight over the limit.
- An A5 SAE supplied by the writer has been taped onto an A4 envelope. The stamp supplied by the writer was only sufficient to cover small letter costs.
As you can imagine, it's very frustrating for a writer (or anyone!) to get one of those notes from the postman, saying they need to pay £1.50 or so to retrieve the letter. (You have to pay the excess postage plus a £1 admin fee.) The recipient has no idea what the letter will be until they pay the excess and collect the letter or have it redelivered.
So, please, if responding by email is not possible, please put a single rejection in the supplied envelope. If the writer has sent an A5 envelope, simply fold the submission. It will easily fit with one fold.
An alternative is for writers to stop supplying SAEs, and instead supply a stamped, addressed postcard marked with the story title and the word Rejection. The magazine staff could then simply post this and bin the story itself - if that would be acceptable to all?
Obviously none of this applies to those magazines who now use email only for submissions and responses, but there are still a few who prefer postal submissions (Take A Break, Woman's Weekly in particular). That's ok, we're happy to send by post, but we'd really prefer not to have to pay to get rejections!
Friday, 18 October 2013
In the summer of 2003 I had just begun writing. I'd started a novel, and then an idea for a short story pinged into my head. Actually these days I would recognise that the idea was not a story - more a monologue - but I was new and inexperienced and excited, so I sat down and wrote it. It was from the point of view of a woman with advanced Motor Neuron Disease. She could no longer move, and lived out fantasies in her head. A family friend was dying of MND at the time, and I had her in mind as I wrote the story. When I'd completed it, I liked what I'd written and wondered, in the naive way of new writers, whether anyone would want to publish it.
I thought that the well-known women's magazines were probably not the best place to send my first ever story, and that I should start with a smaller market. So I searched online for women's short story magazines, and came across Quality Women's Fiction (QWF), then edited and owned by Jo Derrick. They paid £10 for a story, and I thought that seemed reasonable for my first ever offering, so I emailed it to them. Sally Zigmond was the submissions editor at the time.
I had a quick response from her, pointing out that if I'd bothered to read the submission guidelines I would see that they only took printed, mailed submissions.
Well, that was news to me. Submission guidelines? What were they? Did all magazines have them? Who'd have thought it!
So I went back to the website, found the guidelines, printed and posted the story along with a covering letter, and waited a month for the response.
When it came, it was a rejection, but Sally had taken the trouble to write half a page of feedback. I no longer have that email, sadly (owing a computer crash) but I remember that in amongst the criticism, Sally praised my writing style. She also pointed out that it wasn't really a story - there was no resolution - and she included suggestions on how to make it better.
Even in my dreadful naivety I realised that it was probably not the norm to get this amount of constructive feedback, and I treasured it. I rewrote the story, using some of Sally's suggestions, then resubmitted it to her. Still a rejection, but again, a lovely helpful email, and this whole experience gave me confidence that it was worth me continuing to write, and also taught me that I had a whole lot to learn.
I don't think I ever submitted to QWF again - I bought and read a few issues and as I progressed with writing, I realised my style was more suited to the women's magazines. But I never forgot Sally Zigmond's name, or the boost she'd given me right at the start of my writing career.
Fast forward a few years to 2007. By then I was beginning to have some success with the womags, and I decided to set up this blog. I had two aims:
1. To put magazine submission guidelines in one, easy to find, place
2. To try to pass on some of what I'd learned to other new writers
And fast forward again to 2013. I still regularly read Sally's blog, The Elephant in the Writing Room, and over the years have learned a lot from Sally. (I loved her novel Hope Against Hope and can't wait for her to publish another one.) I'm also facebook friends with Jo Derrick who now publishes The Yellow Room magazine.
So you can see why Sally's review of my book meant so much. It feels like we've come full circle.
How did you get into writing? Who or what gave you early encouragement? I'd love to hear your stories - if you've got a good one please consider writing a guest post for this blog!
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Firstly the non-controversial one - help author Nicola Morgan out by taking 5 minutes to fill in this survey on blogs. What are your blog-reading habits? What makes you go back to a blog over and over? I must admit I want to see the results of this survey! I'm wondering if blogging has had its day. Everyone seems to be on facebook or twitter instead, these days.
And secondly, the magazine Best is holding a Christmas short story competition. Details are here. 1000 words, with a top prize of £1000. You need vouchers to enter but they can be printed off the internet, the first one is here. Sounds great, doesn't it? BUT before you enter do read Helen Yendall's post on her experiences of being a runner-up in last year's competition. It seems Best will publish the top 3 stories but only pay the winner. Make sure you're happy with this before you enter.
Personally I would prefer to see the prize fund split between all writers whose stories end up published. Because although there's kudos in coming second or third and seeing your story in print, kudos doesn't pay the bills and that story can't then be sold elsewhere (first rights will have gone).
What do you think? Would you be happy to be second, published, and unpaid? Some writers have asked Best the question both on their website and on their Facebook page, whether the runners-up will be paid, but so far no one's had a response.
Saturday, 12 October 2013
I'm delighted to announce publication of my second How To book - Short Stories and How to Write Them. Now available from Amazon as a Kindle ebook, priced just £1.53!
It contains fourteen of my short stories, all previously published in the womags. After each story is a discussion section covering topics like dialogue, story structure, point of view, making time to write, and many more. So it's in the same format as my previous book, Ghost Stories and How to Write Them and I hope will be as well received as that one was.
Please take a look, buy it if you like what you see, and if you enjoy it, please leave a review and tell others!
If you don't have a Kindle but would like to read it, go here to download a free Kindle reading app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android device, laptop or PC.
Also available from Amazon.com.
Friday, 11 October 2013
Head on over to Helen Hunt's blog. She's taking over from Sally Quilford at the Writers' Forum competitions page. Sally's been writing that column and compiling the comps calendar for five years now, and has done a great job. But it's time for a change, and Helen is stepping into her shoes to take over the column, now renamed Competitive Edge. It'll still list competitions and contain articles about the art and craft of competition entry, and I'm sure Helen will be a worth successor to Sally!
Sunday, 6 October 2013
Don't worry, I'll still keep this blog going, for any news or articles relating to writing fiction for women's magazines, but it'll be lovely to see you all over on the new blog as well.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
In this guest post she talks about her experiences of publishing through Alfie Dog, and why she chose this route rather than self-publish.
Alfie Dog Fiction is an innovative short-story publisher, offering hundreds of stories available to download, plus collections, some of which are out in paperback. They have just published my short story collection, “Sweet Talk”, so I thought I would share my experience with those of you who are considering submitting your stories to them - and those of you who, like me, have never been through the process of publishing a book.
Back in June, I started off submitting my individual stories to Alfie Dog Fiction, most of which had been previously published by women’s magazines. Each one accepted was posted on the site, and available for download for 39p a time – I would earn 16p from each sale. Not a huge amount, but, to my mind, more than I’d earn if said sold stories were left to languish in my computer files.
Having had a number accepted, I approached Alfie-Dog Fiction’s editor, Rosemary Kind, to see if she would be interested in putting together a collection of my feel-good stories. Several of my fellow magazine writers have self-published their own collections, but this was never an option for me. I considered it better to have Alfie-Dog’s platform to sell my book from, as well as my own, plus, of course, the benefit of Rosemary’s experience as an editor and publisher. Also, unlike some of my fellow writers, technically, I lack confidence and knowledge regarding the self-publishing model. I didn’t want to have to invest a large amount of writing time learning how to correctly – and professionally - format the cover and contents, get the book onto Amazon, buy the IBSN number, etc.
To my delight Rosemary was interested and our first task was to decide on a title, to be taken from one of the stories we were considering. I suggested what I thought would be the most uplifting, appealing ones – “Sweet Talk” or “Bluebirds of Happiness”. Rosemary liked both, so I canvassed friends for their opinions. In retrospect, what luck that the majority chose “Sweet Talk” because this meant we had a wide range of covers to choose from, and - more importantly - when it came to asking retail outlets to stock the book, there was an obvious market: sweet shops.
The great thing about working with a very small, independent publisher is the input I’ve been allowed to have, at every stage. Rosemary offered me approval on all the cover choices, the font to use, positioning of the words… A journalist photographer friend of hers took a picture in Rosemary’s local sweet shop, which we both deemed perfect. Cover decided, Rosemary then selected 20 of my stories, covering a wide range of subjects and seasons. We discussed which should go first. I wrote the dedication, the acknowledgements, a paragraph about myself and the blurb for the back and Amazon page, all under the beady eye of Rosemary of course.
We began talking about how the sweet shop cover would really appeal to sweet and gift shops and I consulted writing friends who had successfully got their books into various retail outlets. I thought “Sweet Talk” might sell well as a gift, due to its feel-good nature and appealing cover. How exciting it was when Rosemary decided to invest in doing a trial print-run with my book - a first for Alfie Dog. This meant we would have 100 books to get into shops and that this would be feasible because we could offer a decent, attractive discount of up to 30%. If we’d not done a traditional print-run and tried to get the POD paperback version, from Amazon, into shops, we would only have been able to offer an unappealing - and frankly unworkable - 10% discount.
Doing the print run meant we needed to add another story, to fit the printer’s page requirements. Then finally the order was made and several weeks later, I met up with Rosemary – and her lovely dog, Alfie - to pick up my copies. This was very exciting!
I love the look and professional quality of the physical book and have put on my thick skin to get it into outlets. So far, we have done deals with a gift shop, sweet shop and post office. I am waiting to hear from a book shop.
It’s been a fascinating journey and one which, in many ways, is only just starting.
I hope this post provides a comprehensive view of Alfie Dog Fiction and the opportunities this inspired publisher offers.
Thanks Sam! The book does look good enough to eat and what a great idea to market it in sweet shops and as a gift. I've not had chance to read it yet, but it's on my Kindle, and up next.
Monday, 30 September 2013
I was on stage in a small theatre giving a workshop on short story writing. I’d taken a mixing bowl with me and was dropping story ‘ingredients’ into it as I explained them – a clock to show you need a time-scale, a picture of a riverboat to represent setting, a string of paper dollies to show how many characters work (I’d rip the heads off the superfluous ones). When it came to what I consider my special ingredient – a bit of myself – I’d planned to rip off my bracelet and toss it into the pot. I’d chosen an elasticated bracelet especially. It would be easy to remove. Too easy as it happens, or perhaps I was too exuberant. The bracelet shot off my arm, flew across the room and hit a lady in the front row right between the eyes.
I bet she remembers my secret ingredient.
There’s a bit of me in all my stories. It’s the grain of truth that makes a story seem real. I used my fear of getting too close to a child when my son dated a girl with a ready-ade family. The story was nothing like the real experience but I was able to use my real feelings. The Monster Upstairs, one of my favourites, was written after I’d told my little grandson’s dad how to get rid of an imaginary monster. I used the method in the story - get a big box and a stick, catch the monster in the box and take it to the tip - but the mum in it
was single and wondering if her son would take to the new boyfriend. He was the hero who caught the monster.
When, for the first time in many years, the LSO and I visited a fairground I gave my experience of that visit to a character whose husband was in a rut and she took him back to the days when they met and had been to the fair.
Before I became a full-time writer I had over fifty different jobs. Most of them have been used in my stories as settings or minor parts of a plot – a building society, fish and chip shop, being a nanny... There is one yet to appear. It’s a tricky one. I watched dirty videos and typed reports about them when I was working for a company who put cameras down sewers.
For me, adding that bit of personal experience is the key to getting acceptances. It’s the sparkle in a story. My book Writing From Life came about because of this. The subtitle is ‘how to turn your personal experience into profitable prose’ (How To Books). When the editor read my proposal she said she couldn’t believe that I’d used my husband’s heart attack to sell stories/articles to half a dozen different markets.
Now I’ve put all my writing experience into a book. Handy Hints for Writers (Compass Books) holds everything I’ve learned about writing. It’s been described as informative, helpful and amusing. It’s only been out for a couple of weeks and is being sold as an ebook for 99p during the last two weeks of this month. Why not treat yourself? What I’ve learned over thirty years you can gain access to in a few hours.
And my final bit of advice –not in the book – Beware of elasticated bracelets.
Thanks Lynne! Great guest post, and your book is a bargain, now installed on my Kindle. I can also recommend Lynne's other book Writing from Life, which is available in print as well as ebook.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
I've written two complete novels. The first was the one based on my family history research, and featured the lovely Henry who took over this blog on one of Sally Q's Blog Takeover days. I wrote and edited that novel, got some professional feedback on it, and then put it aside, knowing that it wasn't really commercial. That's the problem with basing fiction on real life - the facts get in the way of a good story.
I then wrote another novel - a time-slip one with two linked stories in different time period unfolding in alternate chapters. This also has a genealogical angle but is entirely fictional. The 1-line 'elevator pitch' for it is: What happens if, when researching your family tree, you discover not a metaphorical skeleton in a closet but an actual skeleton, buried in the garden of a house once occupied by your ancestors?
I loved writing this second novel, and am now trying to find an agent for it. There's been a smattering of interest - two agents asked for the full manuscript - but no takers as yet. I live in hope.
And now I'm planning another novel, also time-slip, with a contemporary and a World War Two story unfolding side by side. I also have an idea for a 4th novel...
In between, I've written a second How To book: Short Stories and How to Write Them. This follows the same format as my Ghost Stories book - ie it is part anthology and part how to. I'm waiting for my son to complete a cover design for it, and it needs a final proof-read, then it'll be ready for publication. Don't worry, I'll let you all know when it's ready!
I'm vaguely planning to use CreateSpace to produce a print version of the two How To books in one volume. They're both a bit short to be worth printing by themselves, but will work combined into one. What do you think - would you buy it?
Monday, 23 September 2013
You may remember last December, I told you all here on this lovely blog about a free resource my husband had created to help you with your planning: Wendy's Story Timeline.
I wanted to let you know that my lovely husband has been at it again!
Whilst using the timeline for one of my stories, I came across a problem. I knew that I wanted my character to be age 18 at the beginning of WW1 (1914) but unless I used my fingers (I'm not too good at mental arithmetic) I had no idea in which year she would have been born, in order to place her on my timeline.
'I'll sort it,' said my husband and he set aside a Sunday to solve the problem for me (and you).
He has created a new version of the timeline to include a fantastically useful 'Date of Birth Calculator'. You can put in the year of an event and the age you want your character to be at that time and the birth calculator will tell you in which year they were born. You then add the character's year of birth into the timeline and - hey presto - you have all the information you need for your story.
The new timeline can be downloaded from my writing blog for free. Once again I would just ask that you leave a comment or give me a mention if you use it or share it.
I hope you all find it useful.
Thanks Wendy! Here's the link.
Thursday, 19 September 2013
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
You might remember in part 1 the very brave wannabe writer Delphine met top agent Carole Blake and got some hard-hitting but very useful feedback on her novel. In part 2 Delphine meets best-selling writer Katie Fforde, and picks up some tips and techniques on how to improve her novel for when she resubmits it to Carole. A must-see!
If you're interested in taking part in a possible series of this TV show, you can sign up on the website here.
Another, and possibly easier way to find an agent is to research them via this new website - LitFactor. You can search for agents, find their requirements and track your submissions all in one place. If you're at that stage with a novel it looks like a very useful site. Along with AgentHunter I'm thinking the old way of finding agents by thumbing through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook is looking decidedly outdated!
Monday, 9 September 2013
Saturday, 7 September 2013
2. And to give yourself a kick start if crossing over to novels is what you want to do, check out the competition which Lynne Hackles writes about here. Send your novel's first page for a chance to win a weekend writing retreat at beautiful Kimmeridge, just down the road from where I live. I'll be entering - I really fancy this prize!
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Last week while on holiday I read Cally Taylor's anthology, Tears and Rain, which she wrote about in the guest post below. It's a superb little anthology - the stories are all linked by a loose theme of hope after loss. I can highly recommend it.
And just when I thought I was catching up with reading all the wonderful anthologies you brilliant writer-friends have published, along comes another which I just had to buy. Have a look at the product description for Douglas McPherson's collection of serials (previously published in My Weekly) The Blue Rinse Brigade and you'll see what I mean. Sounds irresistible, and only £1.98!
Great cover, isn't it? As a follow up to Cally's post on self-publishing, you might be interested to hear this cover was created simply using Kindle Cover Creator, and used a free image from the limited selection available, which he then cropped.
Friday, 23 August 2013
So, over to Cally!
Thursday, 22 August 2013
- They have changed their house style, and from now on will use single quotes rather than double for speech marks. Therefore when submitting to WW it would be very helpful if writers would use single quotes.
- Please always put your name, the story title and your email address on the first page of the story itself, not just on the cover sheet. (Actually I always put these on every page - the title and my name in the header and the page number and my email address in the footer.)
- WW are currently looking for stories of all their preferred lengths - 1000 words, 2000 words, and 2500-8000 longer reads.
Saturday, 17 August 2013
She's produced a pilot episode for the show, with the help of a talented TV producer/director, and you can watch the first part of it here. In it, an immensely brave first-time novelist Delphine submits her novel to a top agent, Carole Blake, and receives some valuable feedback. In part 2, which will be available later in September, Delphine seeks advice from an as yet unnamed best-selling novelist.
All very exciting, and what's even more exciting, is that if the show takes off, Jane will need other writers to take part. She's also interested in hearing from short story writers, and I imagine would try to persuade some of the magazine editors to take part as well... If you're interested, sign up here.
Do watch the pilot - it's very well put together and makes for a fascinating programme. I really hope this show gets picked up by a production company. I'm far too shy and retiring to volunteer for it myself but I would love for at least one of my blog readers to be involved (you could give me a plug...)!
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
I had a fabulous holiday, by the way, and am just getting back to my own hard graft. Currently working on another how to/anthology to sit alongside Ghost Stories and How to Write Them. More news in the autumn when I hope to have finished it!
Edited - link to Sally's blog above now doesn't work. She removed her post for reasons given here. Shame. There's privacy, and then there's genuine interest from people working in the same field.
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Monday, 22 July 2013
Meanwhile, here are a few bits and pieces for you.
Writer Douglas McPherson, or at least his alter ego Julia Douglas, has managed to secure royal approval for one of his books. Something to aspire to, hey? Full story here.
I've advertised Sally Quilford's online writing courses on this blog several times. If you've ever wondered what they're like, take a look at Charlie Britten's blog here where she writes about her experiences taking Sally's recent short story course. If that inspires you, why not consider taking Sally's online romance writing course? Details here, but hurry as I think it's nearly full.
Edited 23/7/13 to add that Sally has just announced a one day workshop on writing romance - in Chesterfield on 28th Sept. Full details here.
Last weekend I was at Della Galton's book launch for her brilliant novel, Ice and a Slice, which is now available as a paperback. If you wish you could have been there, take a look at her photos on her blog, here.
Finally, I've been so delighted with the response to Ghost Stories and How to Write Them I've decided to write another hybrid How To/anthology with a similar structure. It'll take a little while to complete, but watch this space!
Hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer!
Saturday, 13 July 2013
The Bath Novel Award - Send the first 5000 words of your novel plus synopsis, by end February 2014 (so there is loads of time!) Top prize is £1000, and the judge is a literary agent, so there's more to be won if she really likes your work.
If you can't face writing a novel, how about writing a single line? Fleeting Books are running a competition to find a brilliant new rule for writers. Something along the lines of "Write drunk, edit sober" (Hemingway) or "There's a word for a writer who never gives up: Published" (J A Konrath). Send in your own pearls of wisdom by 31st July for a chance to be included in a new book 'No Cheap Tricks', invites to launch dos plus £100 cash.
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Full details and how to sign up, here.
Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Firstly, writer Samantha Tonge has a lovely new website, and best of all, she's added a page of tips on writing for People's Friend. Of all the magazines, I feel this one has the strongest identity. I know many excellent writers who've never managed to get a story published in PF, where others seem to quickly hit the right tone and go on to sell dozens. Sam's in the latter camp, and is kindly passing on her tips to the rest of us!
Secondly, for those of you who enter writing competitions, take a look at Sally Q's latest writing calendar blog post. Sadly she's giving up keeping this calendar up to date at the end of this year. If anyone fancies setting up their own calendar, or perhaps if you already run one, let me know and I'll add a link to it from this blog. Thanks to Sally for all your hard work over the last 5 years, keeping us informed about all the competitions available.
And finally, it's not just me who likes graphs of story arcs. See Della's latest post! If you've read my ghost story book, you'll know I included some graphs in the introductory section. What do you all think - does it help to think of story structure in this way? I come from a mathematical and scientific background, and I do find a diagram often illustrates a concept far better than a string of words (and me, a writer?! *rolls eyes*). But what about the rest of you? I'd love to know what you think.
Sunday, 23 June 2013
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Helen's Amazon Author page is here.