Sunday, 17 December 2017


For this competition you're asked to submit one or two pieces of flash fiction, or a photograph for possible inclusion in an ezine from which you'll earn royalties.

The guidelines made me laugh so much I felt obliged to enter, but then I do have an odd sense of humour.

Talking of which ... Here's a trophy I won earlier this week. It's tricky to read, what with the shadows, reflections and my thumb print, but I promise you it's for humorous writing.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Next Top Writer Contest

I've been asked by Sydney Liu, a co-founder of Commaful, to pass on these competition details:

"We are hosting a writing contest called the Next Top Writer Contest where the winners get shared to an audience of over 4 million people. The contest features 8 judges that span from award winning writers to best-selling authors. The regularly hosts other contests that can be found here and this is the biggest contest to date!

The competition is 100% free to enter!

Entry is via the site itself. You can transfer past works or write something new on the site.

I think this will benefit a lot of people :)"

I've put in an entry, mostly to see what was involved. You can read it here.

There are to be unspecified prizes from the judges and sponsors as well as 'massive exposure' for the winners. Does having your work read by four million people appeal?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017


Salacin is a bitter substance with analgesic properties, which can be obtained from willow bark.

The trunk you can see at the right of this picture is our willow. If you'd like some salacin, please come round and help yourself to a branch as it could do with pruning.

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Drabble

A drabble is a story of less than 100 words. The Drabble is a site which publishes these.

There's no reward, other than the possible glory of your piece being chosen as the editor's pick, but when I came across the site I was tempted to submit something.

You can read it here.

Do you fancy having a go yourself?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Facebook group

Rosemary J Kind and I have set up a Facebook group called From Story Idea to Reader as an online companion to our book of the same name. Group members are invited to ask questions about any writing related subject.

We’ll also be offering writing tips and support. You can join up here, if you'd like to - no pressure!

Friday, 8 December 2017

It's Murder!

There's still time to enter the Wordsmag short story competition.  The theme is murder, max word count is 2,000 words, it's free to enter and there's a cash prize of £50.

Btw, after mentioning Ad Hoc Fiction's weekly flash competition, I decided to have a try. The first prompt I saw generated a 1,000 word piece instead of 150, so I sent that off to a magazine and tried again last week. My story made it through the first round. You can read it, and others here. Whichever is voted the best will win.
The competition is still running. The prize each week is free entry into the Bath Flash Fiction Award - and the prize for that is £1,000.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


No, I didn't write 50,000 words of a novel in November and so 'win' Nano. I didn't even come close (just over halfway). No, I'm not worried about that, nor do I feel like a failure. The novel is further advanced than it would have been if I hadn't signed up. I also wrote seven short stories and a piece of flash last month. Seven is more than I manage in some months where I don't do anything towards a novel, so that's pretty good.

More important than the words I've written is what I've learned about the best method to write. Best for me that is. I couldn't keep writing because I didn't plan my NaNo project well enough, because I didn't know the characters well enough to know how they'd react to the situations I put them in, because I hadn't started writing them, because the plan wasn't complete. That sounds like a vicious circle, but it isn't really – not unless I'm trying to write the entire first draft in one go. When I'm not attempting to do that, I can plan a bit and write it, then plan a bit more and write that, on and on until the end.

Another thing I've learned is that I can write seven short stories in a month if it'll get me out of writing something else. Hmmm, maybe in December I'll add a big chunk to the novel in order to get out of writing short stories?

Most importantly though, I'm learning not to feel insecure because I'm not succeeding in the same way as other writers. If we judge ourselves against others, there will always be someone who writes more words, or submits more work, or sells more, or gets better reviews, or earns more, or something.

Instead I'm going to judge myself against the me of the previous month. The current me has written more, submitted more and sold more than the old me. The Insecure Writer's Support Group hasn't lost a member though – I'm not sure any writers ever totally overcome all their insecurities.

How about you? Did you 'win' NaNo? Do something else with your time? Has the current version of you added to the achievements of the you from last month?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017


This free to enter writing competition is for the Keats-Shelley Prize of £3,000. To enter you'll need to write a poem about Liberty, or an essay about the romantics and their circles (or both - you can submit two of each.)

To be honest, I'm not absolutely sure I understand the question, so I'll be sticking with romance, rather than romantics.

Are you familiar with the hymn, or in possesion of interesting facts about Keats or Shelley?

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Small story - big prize.

The Reader's Digest are again running their 100 word short story competition. (Thanks to Carrie Hewlett for reminding me.) It's free to enter, you have until mid February to come up with something good and the prize is £1,000!

Are you wondering about a catch? There are a couple. Reader's Digest take world copyright as a condition of entry. Despite this, there will be an enormous number of entries, making your chances of success quite slim.

What do you think - is it worth a try?

I couldn't think of a way to illustrate this post, so here's a random photo of mine that you may, if you wish, use as a story prompt. If it inspires a piece of writing, of any length, please let me know.