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.
There's so much information thrown around, about what writers who are trying to get published should do, from starting a blog to submitting widely. WriteWords can help in so many ways. You don't have to do all of them, except for No.1. As long as you're working on writing a great book, it's worth trying all of these, and then focussing on the ones which work best for you.
First, write a great story. From the Technique Forum to the Intensive Critique Group, WriteWords can help you write, re-write and polish your work. In Private Members you can celebrate or commiserate away from the eyes of the world.
Persevere Intelligently: ask your fellow WriteWorders for advice about when to keep going with a project and when to give up - at least for now. Thinking of doing a course? WriteWorders have experience of attending and teaching everything from one-day conference workshops to PhDs in Creative Writing. Clamber onto the Lifeboar with your fellow sufferers. And if you're finding it hard to get your courage back after yet another rejection, there's always a consoling drink and bar of chocolate on offer in the Lounge.
Research your material: WriteWorders have all sorts of jobs and experience: behind those usernames there are vets, undertaker's assistants, people who work with teenagers and people who work with computers, and a request for help in the forum will bring out all sorts of useful information.
Research the industry: use the WriteWords Directory to get the low-down on magazines, theatres, publishers, agents and so on, and make sure your submissions are well-aimed.
Research the market: the "market" for your work is actually those industry professionals, but as a community of passionate readers, writers, film- and theatre-goers WriteWords is the perfect place to discover what's be published, produced and enjoyed... or hated. There's nothing like a discussion with someone else to focus your ideas of what works in a piece of writing, what doesn't, and what you might learn from it.
Get comfortable with social media: and where could be more comfortable than WriteWords? And if you're thinking of dipping your toe in Twitter, say, there's a fund of advice and experience here - not least because everyone has a lot more than 140 characters to work with.
Have a web presence: Full Members can set up their Writer's Showcase, as new member Anne Goodwin has, for example. There you can post everything about you and your writing, and by using the link in your email signature, and anywhere else you're active online, anyone who's interested in you has a place to go and find out more.
Blog: the WriteWords Blog is a collective blog by all WriteWorders who want to join in. You can either put full posts here, or if you've already set up your own blog, use the WriteWords blog to link to your own. It all generates traffic and interest in you.
Finally, did we say write a great story? It can't be said too often. You can only write that great story yourself: nothing and no one else can do it for you, as a thread in the Getting Published forum is discussing at the moment. But WriteWords sure can help.
Not that WriteWorders aren't out there in the sun, of course. Or in the office, or the Algarve ... But the forums are still busy, because, as everyone here knows, writing isn't something you can pick up, and drop when you fancy doing something else. It's an addiction, or possibly a form of OCD, and once you've got it, you've probably got it for life. Or at least for Christmas, and Midsummer, and most of the months in between. (upstairs typing, when you should be downstairs having fun...) And that's before we've even mentioned NaNoWriMo.
So what's being talked about in the forums at the moment? In the Technique Forum alone, all sorts of things have come up. WriteWorder Jennifer1976 asked this:
I wrote the first draft of my wip in present tense (it is a memoir), and am in the early stages of editing/re-writing. I’ve got two versions on the go at the moment – one in past tense and one in present tense. I can see the benefits of either for my wip and as an exercise it’s making me look closer at my writing. At some point I will have to choose which one to go with, although I’m quite enjoying the procrastination of doing both at the mo!
and members weighed in with thoughts, links and discussion. relative merits of past tense, and present tense, And in another thread MariaH asked for some collective advice:
Does anybody know how I can STOP constantly editing my work as I'm in the middle of writing it? I never used to, but for the last couple of years I've got into the habit of rewriting/checking facts on the internet/checking a particular word is suitable/playing around with one or two sentences etc It drives me crazy and really slows me down, but it's like a bad habit I can't break.
and some fascinating insights about the whole question of process flowed in with the replies.
A thread of Debac's, from a while back, about what to do when your protagonist just would talk and think in clichés - how to make her authentic but not, well, clichéd - gave rise to this thread, about thinking in terms of what figurative language she would use.
And if you're a Full Member, and have access to the private forums, click through to threads about
How to Put Together a Plot Arc for an Editor in Private Members, while in the Lounge they're discussing Whether a Mysterious Past is Too Big A Cliché for a Protagonist.
And, of course, you can start your own thread, asking for help, insight, advice or just fellow-feeling about whatever's running in your writing-mind today. Join in!
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Flash Poetry is one of the busiest groups, partly because they have a weekly challenge. This kind of fun, informal competition can be a great way to flex your writing muscles; apart from it making you actually sit down and do some writing, instead of doing the washing up or playing solitaire, often a prompt will push you onto ground which you wouldn't necessarily find for yourself.
Plus, challenges like this are lots of fun, the standard is often high and, most useful of all, it can be really eye-opening to see where different writers go with the same prompt. Flash Poetry is on the Week 208 challenge, and of course there's all the usual mix of comments, support, and heads-ups for where members have had writing published, and future opportunities.
Other Poetry groups include - well - the Poetry Writers Group, which welcomes all comers and all forms, and the Poetry Writers' Seminar, which is more closely focussed on exercises and working towards publication. And if you can't see a group that would suit you, you could always try proposing one.
In the Poetry section of the WriteWords Directory there are magazines listed from Andropion to Young Writers as well as publishers, and competitions from Aycorn-Ukaser to Writing World. Magazines and competitions are a great way to give yourself a focus even if you think you may not win. Some offer feedback as a paid-for extra, others just get you writing to a form or a theme or a length which you might not have tried before. Sometimes it just gets you buying a magazine you might not have tried otherwise, and finding some new work you love.
In Jobs & Opps there are more poetry competitions again, in order of deadline, so why not dive in and give some it a go?
It's part of being a writer, but not the nice part: your heart is stapled to your pages, and someone who might have said that they love it and want to publish it, has just said, "Sorry, I'll pass". And sometimes only other writers know what you're on about. How can you be happy about a rejection? Well, you can if it's the first time an editor or agent has said, "Sorry, I'll pass on this one but you do X and Y and Z very well; I'd be happy to see whatever you write next."
So WriteWords can help, advise, support you at every stage. The Directory is a great place to research places to send your work. It can't help you get it published or produced, but it can minimise the chance of you wasting time and money sending it somewhere totally unsuitable.
There's years of advice and discussion in the Getting Published Forum from experienced writers: get stuck in, join in the conversation, or start a new thread to ask or give advice. Current topics include which networking sites are likely to be the most useful to launch a novel, one agent's initiative in publishing his authors out-of-print backlists, and experience of Curtis Brown's new online submission system.
In the goldmine which is the archive of WriteWords Interviews, you'll find words of wisdom from professional playwrights and authors, directors, agents, editors, poets, script consultants, the BBC Writers Room and hundreds more. There's even a collated list of the most common interview questions and answers, for example What are the typical/common mistakes that new writers make? and How did you get your first agent/commission? and dozens of others. And the group forums are, of course, the place to go for specific support and help in your form or genre.
And, finally, new full members are often baffled by talk of the WriteWords Boar, who fossicks in the sunlit shallows of the Private Members Forum. Who is this venerable, capricious creature? Well, it's a long story, but here goes.
Once upon a time, and many years ago, a WriteWorder suggested that there should be a group thread for everyone who has work out on submission, either directly or via an agent. These suffering souls find it very hard to concentrate on anything, so anxiously do they stare at the horizon, watching for a flare or signs of a rescue ship.
And so the Lifeboat Thread was born - "lifeboat thread" as in "life hanging by a thread". Cries of agony or boredom are all welcome; group support is constant; ship's biscuit and sun-cream are shared around. Those who aren't - at the moment - suffering sail up alongside constantly, and lob in fresh supplies of chocolate and sympathy.
Two or three such threads - and probably several hundred submissions - later, someone started a new thread, and a slip of a finger created the Lifeboar. The general consensus is that he looks a bit like Boris Johnson, and alternates between splashing around in the lagoon and galloping through the tropical forest with WriteWorders clingling desperately to his bristly back.
Some of the WriterWords short fictioneers are almost permanently on the Lifeboar. Some of the novelists only clamber on every few years. All find that it helps immensely to clamber on, find that there are friends there, and settle down for that unknown period which we all know as Waiting To Hear. Especially when someone passes you the bottle of virtual rum.
Even in these straitened times, there are opportunities everywhere for writers, and WriteWords can help you find them.
And it's not just about winning a prize or getting published or performed. For any writer, the challenge of a different form or audience can teach you things you'd never have learnt - or not learnt so well - while still ploughing your usual furrow. Even if you don't think of yourself as a playwright, trying to writing drama is brilliantly good for prose writers. It's not just good training for writing dialogue in fiction and creative non-fiction. It's also that it's very good for you to have to try to convey what characters are thinking purely by what they say, and their physical movement. Writing for teens is a terrific discipline which concentrates any writer's mind on making their story move forward for readers with few preconceptions and prejudices and every desire to explore the world around them - and beyond them.
For example, Bristol Old Vic have announed a new, annual open-window for new theatre scripts by writers based in South West England. Bristol Old Vic "are excited by plays that are distinct and theatrical, with live staging at their heart. They're attracted by stories that ask questions and tell us something about being alive today, plays that in some way have relevance to our own lives and consider their audience. The best way to get a sense of the plays that get them going is to read the plays they've previously produced in the past." The deadline is the 30th June, and there are more details here.
Bloomsbury Spark is "a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers." They're looking for manuscripts between 25k and 60k which are right for this challenging, exciting audience, so see here for more details.
Salt Publishing are actively seeking full-length novels for adults. They have a particular interest at the moment in literary fiction, crime, fantasy and the delightfully named "Norfolk Gothic." Seen any vampires down at Cromer? More details here.
So why not give some of these a go, or some of the others? And keep an eye on the ever-updated "Deadline Approaching" panel on the main Jobs & Opps page. Who knows? You could just slip in under the wire.
And you've want to write something for one of these, or have something already which could be developed to suit, don't forget that the WriteWords groups are ideal for getting feedback, on either of these. Your own group is the ideal place to get feedback in a detailed, supportive atmosphere from writers who know your work; and the perfect people to help you summon up the courage to actually click Send.
The general forum is a great place to ask questions and get help with the whole business of entering competitions, applying for jobs and generally getting to grips with sending your work out into the big wide world in search of a home.
And if you're a full member, the Private Members and Lounge forums are the place to ask for advice privately from some of the most informed and experienced members around.
The hot topic in the Forum today is the discussion between Sarah Dunant and Fay Weldon, which was triggered by writer Claire Messaud's reaction to a comment by a reader who said she could never be friends with the heroine of Messaud's novel.
Why can heroes can be unlikeable, but heroines not?
"Women are just as responsible for making unlikeable heroines taboo as men are. In fact probably more so. If you aren't nice you don't get to play/network with the other little girls," says Jaytee Connor
"Nowadays people want feisty women but, yes, it does appear that readers often want to empathise with these women in a way they don't need to with men," says Sharley
"Anyone who thinks that heroines aren't allowed to be unlikeable should read some of Terry Pratchett's work. There are a number of female characters in his novels, many of whom count as the heroines of the stories they appear in, who, while being admirable in many ways, certainly don't come across as particularly likeable. I don't think I would find Granny Weatherwax particularly easy to befriend, for example," says AlexHazel, but adds, " Women's flaws are definitely constrained within much tighter parameters than men's."
What do you think? Click here to join in the conversation.
On WriteWords, much of the critiquing and discussion of writing goes on in the groups.
In your group you can get feedback on your work from writers you've got to know and trust. You can learn to read any work, including your own, like a writer. You can swap tips for submitting work and doing research, share information about publishers and agents, and get help with a recalcitrant sentence or a fantastic but daunting idea for a story.
And your group is there when you want support from writing friends for those low moments, and people to join in your Yay! for the good times. Or you can just kick back and shoot the breeze with people who love talking about books and writing, and know just what you mean by "backstory", "omniscient narrator", "encouraging rejection" and "two-book deal".
Whether you're trying to Write for Children, or playing with Flash Poetry, whether you're seeking a manuscript swap in Whole MS Read-Swapping or thinking about self-publishing, there's a group for you.
And if you think there's a group which would be just what you want or need, but it isn't on WriteWords yet, all you have to do is go to the WriteWords Groups page, and propose it . When four people like the idea, the group goes live. The current proposals are these:
Sitcom - Scripts, Ideas, Submissions Will do just what it says on the tin, and only needs one more member to go live.
Not Quite Purple - is all about getting out the microscope and polishing your prose.
Eros and Cupid - is all about working with writing about love and sex
Sports Journalism - is another one which wil do just what it says on the tin
So if any of those sound right for you, click here to jump in!
The WriteWords site has so many different parts: which can help you with your writing today?
In Jobs & Opps the Shade of Loud Short Story Competition is offering a prize of £250 for a story on the theme "Far from the Madding Crowd"; the deadline's 1st of September, so if you start now you'll have plenty of time to get feedback from a WriteWords group.
In the Childrens' Writers Group LorraineC is discussing an editor's report on her novel with the rest of the group. Most of them have read it, some of them haven't, all of them write for children, so there are all sorts of perspectives available to help Lorraine decide what to do next.
In the Main Forum WWer Freebird is wondering whether she should post a review of a debut novel online, when a lot of what she would have to say is negative. Do we owe more of a duty to readers - to warn them off - or fellow writers who deserve support even when (perhaps particularly when) they're not doing so well just at the moment?
Since writers care more than most that their writing should say exactly what they're trying to say, the WriteWords gnomes are hammering away in the bowels of the site to bring an edit facility to posts: just the job for fixing those typos that slip through your fingers and onto the screen when the conversation is galloping ahead.
Don't forget you've only got ten days to enter WriteWords Site Expert EmmaD's competition to win a year's free full membership of WriteWords itself, as well as a writer's retreat (complete with wifi so you can stay in touch if you want to!) and other prizes.
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