Posts Tagged Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Competition

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition 2014

This week I’ve been thinking about my entry for the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Short Story CompetitionWriting Competitions - the way to win

As I’m sure most of you know, the first prize is £500 and an Arvon writing course. So it’s a prize worth winning and it’s also free entry – which makes it doubly good! But the closing date is 15th February 2014 – so it’s time to start getting my entry together.

In preparation I’ve been flicking through my copy of ‘Writing Competitions the Way to Win’ by Iain Pattison and Alison Chisholm.

Iain judges a lot of competitions. In the book he gives the following reason for why a lot of stories fail in competitions:

The stories were obviously written for a women’s magazine and failed to find a home. Therefore they often have a domestic setting, a female protagonist, a twist ending and the plot is a variation on a theme. The stories lack an individual voice.

As a judge, Iain wants to be taken somewhere he’s never been before. He doesn’t want to read about office life and how the junior is plotting revenge on the boss who passed her over for promotion.

So, it seems there’s no point in me going through my rejected womag stories to find one that might fit a theme of ‘The Visit’.

Incidentally, Iain suggests that this may be why men might seem to do better in writing competitions. Fewer of them write for women’s magazines and therefore they compose a fresh story for a competition without the restrictions of womag writing.

What does anyone else think? Have you ever won/been shortlisted in a competition with a story originally written for a womag?

And talking of competitions, Nick Daws is running a Guest Post Competition over on his blog. First prize is $50 (or the equivalent in UK pounds). The post must be on a topic of interest to writers and be 500 – 1000 words long. Closing date is 31st January 2014 and entry is free. He ran a similar competition last year and then I was lucky enough to be the winner – this time it could be you!

Finally, the first anniversary of the publication of One Day for Me is almost upon us and next week I will be announcing a special offer …

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What Am I Working On?

The talented Tracy Fells has invited me to be part of a blog chain, linking writers up across the vast, virtual world that is the internet.

Chain link

Chain link (Photo credit: Matti Mattila)

Tracy writes short stories, flash fiction, the occasional article plus drama for theatre and radio. Her stories have appeared in Take-a-Break Fiction Feast, The People’s Friend, The Yellow Room, The New Writer and Writing Magazine. If you’ve got a minute drop in on her blog – http://tracyfells.blogspot.com/ – it’s full of good ‘writerly’ things.

My task, as a tiny ‘link’ in this vast chain, is to reveal something about what I’m working on now.

I’d like to tell you how I’m deep into a novel which has been painstakingly planned out, has a perfect story arc and is full of characters that are constantly ‘talking’ to me. Unfortunately, this is not the case. When it comes to writing I’m something of a butterfly. I settle on one project for a while and then I decide that my time might be better spent on a different piece of work, so I switch. Or I spot a competition with a wonderful prize and I drop everything to enter it – fully aware that hundreds of others are doing exactly the same thing and I therefore stand little chance of winning.

So, I currently have a few things on the go:

  • I’m working on the third story in the Museum of Fractured Lives series. When that’s ready I will be publishing it as an e-book for Kindle and also producing an omnibus edition containing all three of the stories plus a short prologue about how the museum came into existence. So I’m also thinking about book covers, marketing and other stuff that goes along with putting a new book out.
  • On the back burner I have the NaNoWriMo manuscript that I completed in November. Before Christmas I polished up the first three chapters, wrote a synopsis and entered it into the Ian Govan Award. Whatever the outcome of the competition (& I’m not holding my breath!) I hope to get round to finishing this novel at some point.
  • I also have ideas for a couple of articles which I’m doing preliminary research for, prior to pitching to editors. I won’t tell you what they are in case anyone out there can write them up better (& quicker) than me!

I just wish I could focus on only one thing and then maybe I’d actually get something done!

Back to the blog chain – the following two links in the chain will all post next Monday (13/1/14) about their current writing projects – but why not pop over to their blogs now and see what they’re up to?

  • Debbie Young is a keen blogger and also writes short stories, flash fiction, travelogues, memoirs and non-fiction. Samples and links may be found on her author website: www.youngbyname.me. She is also blog editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors (http://www.selfpublishingadvice.org) and blogs about book marketing on her own website, www.otsbp.com. A keen reviewer of indie and self-published books, when she’s not writing, she’s reading and reviewing.
    From personal experience I’ve found Debbie the fount of all knowledge when it comes to book marketing.

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New Year’s Resolutions…or maybe not

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions for two reasons – both related to the fact that they have to be made public. Firstly, when you say aloud something that you really want to do, it can sound impossible to achieve or just stupid – and that is a bad way to start. Secondly, once everyone knows that you’re training for a marathon or writing a novel, they will keep asking how you are doing. This is fine when things are going well but it’s awful to have to own up if you’re struggling. So I am going to keep my own aspirations to myself this year and instead I’ll just share a few mini-goals that I’ve put on my ‘Writing To Do List’ fot the first part of 2012:

  • Enter all 4 of Eddie Walsh’s Emerald Writing Workshops 500 word story competitions plus the 4 sentence story. I intend to send them all together in one envelope (saving money on stamps!) before the first closing date of 28th February 2012. I’ve already drafted most of them – I just need an idea for the story set on a train…
  • Enter Della Galton’s competition for a 250 word story about a New Year’s resolution that went wrong. The prize is a copy of her new book ‘Moving On’. Closes 10am Jan 4th.
  • Enter The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2012 competition. Stories on the theme of ‘Identity’ of up to 2,000 words. Closes 14th February 2012. I really fancy the prize – £500 plus an Arvon course.
  • Enter the Swanwick 2012 competition for a story or article on the theme ‘A Sense of Duty’. First prize is a week at the Swanwick summer school. Closes 30th April 2012. I fancy there will be fewer entrants in the article section but at the moment I’m struggling to come up with an idea.

Finally, (following yet another rejection from Take a Break’s Fiction Feast) I am going to stop banging my head against a brick wall on markets that my writing is obviously not suited for.

Happy New Year to you all – and thanks for sticking with me through 2011!

 

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