Again, because longstanding WriteWorder Samantha Tonge has been published many, many times in the short story world, and if you want to read her tips for writing for The People's Friend click through to her website. Sam has been a stalwart of the short fiction groups on WriteWords and she really knows what she's talking about.
But Sam's now got a double celebration. Just as her collection of feelgood short stories Sweet Talk is published by AlfieDog, and hits the e-book shelves and a sweetshop or two as well, she's just signed a contract for her debut novel.
Doubting Abbey - yes, you read that right - will be published by Harlequin's imprint CarinaUK, just in time for Christmas. To get a taste of this romantic comedy, click through to Sam's Doubting Abbey blog.
And don't forget that WriteWords can help you to follow in Sam's footsteps. As well as joining a group and getting involved in feedback (you learn as much from giving others feedback as you do from getting feedback on your work), click through to the WriteWords Directory to start your search for magazines and book publishers. And then there's Jobs & Opps, which is full of the latest calls for submission, competitions: keep an eye on the Latest Additions, and Deadline Approaching columns, to make sure you never miss a possibility.
1 comment | Post Comment
WriteWords is celebrating today! Just as the celebrations for Scotwil's Yeovil win are calming down a little, longstanding member of the Childrens' Writers group Eve26, otherwise known as Eve Ainsworth, wakes us all up again. Eve has signed a two-book deal with Scholastic, and Seven Days will be published in March 2015. Congratulations Eve!
As she says here, : "5 years of trying, hundreds of rejections and some near misses ... And I really wouldn't have done without you guys. This group is fab. It kept me going when I was low and helped me keep my writing fresh and on point. So THANK YOU!"
Another cause for some cheer is the news that Waterstones - the UK's only countrywide chain of bookshops - is working its way back to health, as CEO James Daunt describes it. As ever, WriteWorders have their views.
And although self-publishing is an increasingly popular and viable way to get your writing out into the big wide world, that does, of course, mean a proliferation of services aimed at helping you do just that. How do you tell the vanity presses from the companies who honestly provide a range of services, and decide what you do and you don't need and want to pay for. And how do you tell which would suit your project best? Writers & Artists Yearbook has launched a comparison site, where you can put in what you want to do, and get a list of suitable companies. Once you've had a look, you can click through for a quote. For anyone who's trying to grapple with contracts and sizes and unit costs, that's cause for celebration.
2 comments | Post Comment
In 2005 I won second prize in the Yeovil Novel Competition with my manuscript, which was then titled Somnambulant.
2 comments | Post Comment
I was encouraged by the recognition, which helped to mitigate the disappointment of rejection from agents.
It helps to know that there are distinguished readers and good judges of writing out there who believe that your work is good and worth pursuing.
It’s an important distinction to remember: these days agents tend to assess a manuscript (or first few chapters) based on whether they think it’s marketable, not on whether they think it has literary merit. Often, they might explain this in a rejection letter along with some encouraging words. Mostly, they don’t. So, it’s difficult to get an objective opinion on your work even when your writing has advanced to the stage of agent-hunting. Friends and family don’t count.
So, armed with the hope that I wasn’t entirely deluded and wasting my time, I sent out the manuscript of ‘Somnambulant’ and to cut a long story short, had it published by Macmillan, Pan and Grazanti in 2008-2009 as ‘The Sleepwalker’s Introduction to Flight’.
A busy and demanding job created a bit a hiatus and I wasn’t able to seriously commit to another novel-length work until last year. This was ‘Resurrecting Bobby’, an historical novel set in London in 1828. It’s taken a lot of research and I’ve been at great pains to get the dialogue right. (I do loathe historical novels where the characters talk like someone out of Holby City).
I was short-listed and then a month ago received an email informing me that I’d won. Understandably, they asked me to keep the news to myself until the event.
I had a few meetings in London arranged during the week of the event and so I arranged to go down to Yeovil and pick up the prize in person.
I’m glad I did. The Manor Hotel, where the opening gala dinner took place, is a lovely old Georgian Cotswold-stone (I think) building. But, like the Tardis, much bigger inside.
Keynote speaker on the night was Santa Montefiore, who managed to be funny, warm and interesting all at the same time. I was seated next to crime-writer Babs Morton who, although a part-time medical receptionist from Northumberland, has managed to write a string of successful crime novels set in the States. A modest and charming person.
As well as Baldrick (Tony Robinson), I was privileged to meet Margaret Graham, who is one of the founders of the Yeovil Prize and the Yeovil Literary Festival. Margaret is currently involved with the Words for the Wounded Writing Prize amongst other things. The monies raised will help wounded servicemen and women. Please do enter – http://www.wordsforthewounded.co.uk
If you take a look at the Yeovil Prize website there are bios and comments from past winners. Almost without exception each of them talks about the encouragement that their prizes, commendations and short-listing provided. And that’s the point really. Most have gone on to achieve great things in their writing and I do think we struggling writers have to be grateful to events like Yeovil and Bridport for this.
If character is destiny, then in writing fiction or creative non-fiction character is the foundation-stone of your story. Whether your project is a brief evocation of a comic visit you made to A&E with your two-year-old, or a vast epic set in an alternative first-century Mediterranean, where the followers of a little-known Jewish prophet have conquered the Roman Empire, it's your characters who make us want to keep reading. We need to care about what happens to them, whether we long for them to get what they want, or dread it.
And its your main characters through whom we experience the world and the events of your story. So, how do you make your characters seem real, and their experience of the world you've dreamt up (or survived yourself) believable? How do you make sure we want to follow them through the story and find out what happens next, turning page after page until you reach the end?
"Can anyone suggest some exercises to get inside the heads of my characters?" asks WWer freebird, who's starting a new novel. "I want to really establish the characters in my mind before I start this time." WWers and Site Experts duly obliged.
There are links here to an excellent post about how even similes and metaphors in your characters voices needs to be suited to who they are.
The topic of characters names came up earlier; who needs to know them before they start the first draft? And what do you do when you realise you need to change a character's name?
Point of view and psychic distance are two of the most important ways that character comes across - much more important, really, than clothes and cars - and WWer Sharley started a fascinating discussion here, which ranged over all sorts of related issues.
Autumn does seem to have arrived, doesn't it? And it's not just the softer, yellower light, the over-sized blazers on small school children and the scent of woodsmoke in the earlier twilights; across the aspiring writer world, the first thing that's asked once the sand's been shaken out of the beach towels, and the piles of post and pizza menus combed for those dishearteningly fat SAEs, is, 'Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?
NaNoWriMo, for the unintiated, is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that those who sign up spend November writing, furiously, towards the standard goal of a 50,000 word novel. The website makes no bones about the focus of the whole thing: "the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality." The website also has busy, supportive forums, places to track and/or post your wordcount, and post some or all of your novel. In NaNoWriMo's home, the US, there's even schools-based Young Writers programme. On November 3rd a great many aspiring writers decide it's not for them, but at midnight on November 30th, a great many other, baggy-eyed, hysterical, triumphant NaNo-ers bow their heads to the smoking keyboard, listen to the shrieks going up from the forums, and wait to receive a downloadable certificate of achievement.
So how can WriteWords help?
For full members there's a thread, just started, in Private Members, asking who's giving it a go this year. And, of course, the Private Members Forum is where some of the most experienced WWers hang out and chew the fat about - just at the moment - how you know when a piece is ready to be written, what a Do-It-Yourself MA in Creative Writing might be like, and that killer question: whether Mr and Mrs should have a full stop after them.
In the Groups, the Fast First Draft group was founded on exactly the NaNoWriMo principle: for members to support each other as everyone steams ahead towards a finished draft.
And if you want to get an idea of how the project strikes others, you could try a chapter out in the Whole Chapter Crit group. Or would the close-up magnifying glass of your fellows in Polish & Perfection be more useful? Or both, of course - Full Members can join as many groups as they like, and can keep up with!
Great news for longtime WW member Scottwil, who has just won the Yeovil Novel Prize with ‘Respecting Bobby’
"Not enough people read their stories back to themselves out-loud. I don’t think enough people think to workshop their writing at a group, online or in real life (WriteWords being one of the excellent exceptions, natch). I feel slightly more of an obligation to make sure that writing for children is as good as it can be. Adults will put down a bad book but children just drink words. Make em good words, yeh?" says James at Lamplands, the new literary journal for children. Read the interview
In the Forum, reviewer Zettel says, ‘If you aren’t watching Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom on TV, why? There isn't anything better written on TV at the moment: diamond sharp dialogue...’
There’s some great new opportunities for writers this season; the BBC Northern Ireland is looking for writers in residence; and the National Poetry Competition is now open, with a top prize of £5000,
In the Groups, check out the Intensive Critique- does what it says it does, ‘an all genre active critique group, open to all members and encouraging honest, considered and detailed critique... the more you put into the group the more you get out of it. Regular status updates track the number of critiques for each piece so as to ensure that all pieces are critiqued and no work is overlooked.’
What kind of writing is your writing? There's sure to be a WriteWords group to suit. And it's not just about giving feedback to train your writerly skills, and getting feedback to help develop your writing. The groups are also the place to find support and swap information from other writers who are doing the same kind of work, and meeting and overcoming the same kinds of difficulties.
Tthere are groups for people writing for children, for those writing flash poetry, commercial short stories, non-fiction articles, and lots of others. But there are also groups for writers seeking a particular kind of feedback.
There's Polish and Perfection, where WriteWorders give super-detailed critiques to help each other hone their prose, and learn the microscopic attention that trains your writerly muscles as nothing else can.
At the other end of the scale, Whole MS read-swapping is a dating agency for WriteWorders who want to find someone to swap their books with. Someone really has to love you, to reading the whole of your novel-in-progress, but there's no other way to find out how it would strike a real reader. If you don't have a dedicated, quick-reading and knowledgable partner at home - or even if you do - then you need the Whole MS read-swapping group.
There's even a group - Fast First Draft -where critiquing isn't the point: it's all about supporting each other, celebrating word counts and ways of circummventing that naggy little voice of your Inner Critic.
Intensive Critique is the reverse - members commit to giving honest, considered and detailed critique, and are encouraged to upload regularly, and to critique at least three other writers' work for each piece they upload themselves.
So, what kind of thing do you write? And what kind of feedback would you like to give, and get?
1 comment | Post Comment
What’s happening in the WriteWords forums as we head towards the end of summer?
Well, new member alreadytaken says, ‘My dilemma is, I want to write, for the best, most virtuous kind of reasons... but my confidence is bloodied and bruised...can anyone offer reassurance/empathy?’ It turns out lots of people can, including Sharley, who suggests joining a WriteWords group ‘and get stuck in’, and Debac who says, ‘we’ve all been there... chin up, and JUST WRITE!’ Catkin suggests writing a flash piece every day for a short while, and EmmaD- let’s just say, it involves chattering white mice and you’ll now want to read the post here: http://www.writewords.org.uk/forum/47_446207.asp
Over in Private Members, there’s debate about how to negotiate the tricky field of using or appearing to use people who know in your fiction, and what to do if you send a blank email to an agent you’re trying to impress..
And Annecdotist’s latest blog post explains why writing is like gardening, all because of a connection made by tomatoes. http://www.writewords.org.uk/blogs/
Last, site expert and resident poet James Graham posts A Short History of the Martians http://www.writewords.org.uk/archive/30371.asp ‘In the twenty-first century, Wells’s warning reads like a prophecy. Perhaps we have outgrown the alien-invasion myth...’
Longstanding WWer Scottwil is celebrating being shortlisted in the Yeovil Novel Prize, in the Competitions Forum, with his novel Resurrecting Bobbie. Fingers crossed for the next round! And of course WriteWords is a great place to use when you're aiming at competitions, whether you're looking for help in a group, or looking for competitions in Jobs & Opps.
In the Technique Forum a cry for help goes up from MariaH: "Does anyone know how I can STOP constantly editing my work as I go?" she asks, and the answers might surprise you, from Well it's not necessarily a bad habit" to "turn the text colour to white on a white screen, so you can't see what your writing". And lots more besides.
And finally, a link to a blog for aspiring writers about how to spot if you haven't really got the right idea about how to reach all the things you're aspiring to, generated an fascinating discussion. Although, with the online equivalent of proper Health and Safety, we should cry Coffee Alert!, before you read things like:
If you think that there’s one way up the mountain — and that you or someone else is the magical sherpa who will guide you up that mountain — oh yeah, you’re doing it wrong.
If you keep cheating on your current manuscript by porking other, momentarily-sexier manuscripts behind the barn, yep, that’s some wrong-flavored wrongness with hot wrong sauce.
2 comments | Post Comment
HereComesEveryone, in association with Ideas Tap, are looking for submissions of political satire to feature in a one-off online magazine, Never Mind the Ballots.
The town of Newton-under-Wetherly is facing a by-election due to the resignation of disgraced former MP Sir Howard Trenchfort. We are looking for work which enagages with the political issues facing NuW and other towns like it, i.e. yours.
We are looking for submissions. Click here for more.
The Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition
Deadline: 30 November 2013
The new Telegraph Harvill Secker crime writing competition offers aspiring writers an unprecedented opportunity to be published at one of the country’s leading literary imprints, home to authors like Jo Nesbø, Fred Vargas, Stuart Neville and Henning Mankell, and receive a £5,000 advance for his or her novel.
Would-be crime writers must submit the first 5,000 words of their crime novel, along with a detailed, two-page double-spaced synopsis of how the rest of the book unfolds, including the ending. The book does not have to be finished for you to enter, but you must have a detailed plan. Click here for more.
The Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award
Deadline: 06 September 2013
Playwright's Studio Scotland are delighted to be managing the new Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award – the successor to the Meyer-Whitworth Award! A £10,000 prize and potentially two additional awards of £1000 each will be made.
Plays nominated must be in the English language and have been produced professionally in the UK for the first time between 1st December 2010 and 30th November 2012.
Candidates will have had no more than two of their plays professionally produced, including the play submitted, before the end of the nominating period above. Click here for more.
And click here for the main WriteWords Jobs & Opps page. Here you can search by what you write, and what you're looking for, and keep an eye on the newest entries, and also the ones whose deadline is approaching. Why not use a Call for Submissions to get you writing? Why not jump in and spend a day tweaking an existing story before whizzing it off to an about-to-close competition? It's all there.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | ... | 8 |