Thursday, 27 October 2016

Quick reminder

If you planned to enter the Commonwealth short story competition and haven't done it yet, then there's just enough time left. There's £2,500 on offer for eacg regional winner and £5,000 for the overall winner.

You do need to be a citizen of a commonwealth country to enter – just like this 'Old Man'.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Staffage is the visual arts equivalent of minor characters in a novel. They're animals or people in the background. Part of the scene, but not the subject.

As I can't draw, I'm attempting to illustrate this through photos of a crow. In one he's the central character, the subject - in the other he's really just staffage. See what I mean?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Novel writing competition

Here's a competition to win a 'publishing offer', from a company I'd not previously heard of, for your novel of up to 40,000 words. Anyone can enter, work already self published can be submitted, and it's free – that's the good news.

The bad news is that it all seems a bit complicated and as though other entrants are doing the judging (but I may have got that wrong – as I said it's slightly complicated). Judging by their website, including an excessive number of exclamation marks and using a few more question marks than you have questions, might be an advantage.

Sorry if I sound cynical. I've run out of cake.

Monday, 24 October 2016

It's all Welsh to me

For this competition you're asked to write  "fiction that is written to be read/played on digital devices." It seems that it's not quite as simple as writing a story and saying it'll work on a Kindle, because they want the piece to be 'born digital'. 

There's a £300 prize for each category (including a Welsh language prize). Anyone may enter work in English or Welsh ... or HTML, Flash, or whatever the heck Twine is. You can attach your work or bung it on a cloud. 

I'm beginning to feel like a Luddite. An old Luddite.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Icelandic writing retreat

How do you fancy a writing retreat in Iceland, which includes workshops with amazing writers, cocktails, tours around the incredible landscapes, great food, accommodation, live music, time to write ...? Yes, me too!

Can you afford it? If not, then you might appreciate the chance to win a full or partial scholarship.

The photo isn't Iceland. You'd probably guessed that.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A tale of two cities

For this competition (open only to UK residents) you're asked to write a 500 story on the theme of 'making change happen'. There's a £300 first prize, plus discounted theatre tickets will be offered to all entrants.

The photos show part of well known buildings in two different cities. Can you identify them?

Friday, 21 October 2016


Here's another competition for a hallowe'en story. The prize is $50, plus your choice of book.

The deadline is scarily close, so The Sphere has kindly dipped himself in orange paint and wrestled with green and black felt tip pens to help get you in the mood.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


The 3Elements literary review is open to submissions of fiction and poetry which include the elements 'Glaze', 'Thread' and 'Murmur'. They don't pay, but they do say you can tweet about your success, should your work be accepted.

These tiles, at Byland Abbey, are hundreds of years old. 'They have glaze on them,' she murmurs in attempt to weave a thread connecting them to the post.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


hobbledehoy is a clumsy or awkward youth. I was one of them a loooong time ago, though I don't recall being referred to as such.

Is there a term for a similar adult? If so, that'll be me now.