Posts Tagged Maria Smith

Writing for The Weekly News

On Saturday The Birmingham Chapter of the RNA held a Writers’ Day and I was asked to do a session on short stories. I chose to talk about writing tales with a twist for The Weekly NewsThe Weekly News

The official guidelines for The Weekly News are on that treasure trove of information, Womagwriter’s Blog, but here are some of the other points that I made in my presentation:

Research the market. The Weekly News can be hard to get hold of but I find it more readily available in smaller newsagents and convenience stores rather than WH Smith or large supermarkets. Ask your newsagent to reserve a copy for you. Alternatively, stories that have been previously published in The Weekly News can be found in these two e-collections: House Guests and Other Stories and Old Friends.

The twist should come as late as possible in the story and will often turn the tale completely on its head BUT the reader should not be lied to. The story should make complete sense whether read with the twisted ending in mind or the ending that you hope the reader will assume is coming.

Types of Twist

  • Character Identity – the small boy nervous about going to school turns out to be the headmaster
  • Character Motive – the head juror is pushing for a quick verdict not because he’s in a hurry to get home but because he’s actually committed the crime and therefore wants the defendant sent down ASAP
  • Location – the stranded climber is not on a mountain top but is on a climbing frame in the park

Things that (seem to) work for me:

  • Having a male main character (both sexes read The Weekly News)
  • Aiming at the lower end of the 1200- 1500 required words. These stories pull the wool over the reader’s eyes and the fewer words, the easier that is.
  • Keep the time period for the story as short as possible (I’m talking seconds/minutes rather than days) to keep it snappy

I know that a lot of you are successful Weekly News writers and probably have your own personal set of ‘rules’. You might prefer to keep them secret from the competition(!) but if not, do they differ greatly from mine?

Finally a shout-out to some of the people who helped Saturday go with a swing:

Marilyn Rodwell who ably orgainsed the whole day
Bella Osborne who taught us how to plan our novel (and gave us post-its to play with)
Lizzie Lamb who talked about her self-publishing and marketing experiences
Alison May who educated us about editing and said it’s OK to hate your first draft
Helen Barrell who talked about all things social media
and fellow blogger Maria Smith who came and introduced herself to me – lovely to put a face to a name.

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The Winner of the Writers’ Forum Subscription Is …

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to enter my competition by signing up to my newsletter and blog and to those who also gave me a mention on Facebook or Twitter and bagged themselves an extra place in the draw. It was much appreciated!Writers' Forum Prize Draw

But unfortunately there can only be one winner of the annual subscription to Writers’ Forum magazine. My husband drew the winner’s name from a small plastic bowl full of bits of paper (pictured!). That person is:

Maria Smith

Maria enjoys writing short stories, flash fiction, and is currently rewriting her supernatural crime novel. Wading through treacle is how she would explain the process!  She enjoys networking with other writers and is an active member of Phoenix Writers in Leicester.

Maria blogs over at The First Draft Cafe http://firstdraftcafe.blogspot.co.uk/ and tweets as @mariaAsmith

I hope you enjoy the magazine, Maria, and also make use of the subscribers’ free entry to the monthly ‘flash’ competition.  A good way of practising writing to a deadline!

If anyone missed the competition but would still like to signup for the newsletter, click here. And if you’ve forgotten to treat yourself to a copy of House Guests, you can do that here.

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