Story Friday Feast – call for submissions!

As we hurtle towards Christmas we’re planning our next Story Friday and the theme is Feast!  We’re looking for stories long and short that touch on feasting. You might go traditional and give us tables laden with roast meats and suet puddings, or take us to far-flung corners of the globe for fresh mangoes and newly dropped coconuts. You might decide that lack-of-feast, or famine, is your interest, or look at a feast that has nothing to do with food. However you want to interpret the theme we know we will be intrigued by your offerings!

Story Friday Feast will be on November 30th, deadline for submissions is on 19th November.  Please check that you are available to come along to Burdall’s Yard in Bath on the 30th November before you submit.

We are looking for short stories or monologues, fact or fiction (but mainly fiction), maximum 2,000 words. If you want to enter a flash piece that can work too, either for the stage, or in print – recently we’ve included a flash piece in our programme for the audience to read in the interval and take home with them. No poetry, thank you.

We have some wonderful professional actors who are very happy to read your story if performance gives you the jitters. Olly Langdon of Kilter Theatre (who is also our brilliant host) will read a male voice, and we have a number of female actors who can read stories which need a female voice.  Let us know in your email when you submit if you’d like someone else to read your piece.

To submit, click here.

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12 Writing Tips To Get You Started

As Anne Frank poignantly wrote: “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” Writing can be an incredible outlet, but sometimes there are stumbling blocks along the way.

Which is why the team at READ Foundation has put together a list of 12 Writing Tips to Get You Started.

Children writing in a classroom

READ is an education charity which builds schools and enables children from poverty-stricken backgrounds to access schooling. We’re currently running a writing competition for short stories, poems and personal essays which will inspire children in their educational path. Scroll down for more details on how to enter.

The charity has gathered the best tips from well-known writers, blogs and the wider web to help writers in their pursuit of the perfect prose.

  1. Write from the heart. A book without a pulse is like a person without a spirit. – Linda F Rad
  2. We love the tips in this Guardian article on the Top 10 Writers’ Tips on Writing. Particularly this one from Katherine Mansfield: “Looking back I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.”
  3. Enter competitions, send off examples to agents, read up on literacy festivals to attend, join writing clubs either locally or online – research as many places as you can which can help you on your writing journey, whether the aim is to get published, receive feedback, or simply learn more about the writing process from the people who do it professionally.
  4. Write on a computer which is disconnected from the internet (after you’ve finished reading this blog, obviously). It’s a distraction you can do without.
  5. The “show don’t tell” mentality is well-known for a good reason: it’s true. As fiction author Anton Chekhov puts it: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
  6. Oxford Dictionaries has some excellent general advice on better writing, whether it’s a letter, speech, email or something more creative. We like the tip “guide readers through what you write”. The advice is to “help readers understand your message quickly and precisely. To do this, it is necessary to show them clearly how the different parts relate to each other.”
  7. How about a writing tip from a Nobel winning author? Alice Munro, who was given the Nobel for Literature in 2013, has spent most of her writing life focussing on short stories. She said: “Usually I have a lot of acquaintance with the story before I start writing it….stories would just be working in my head for so long that when I started to write I was deep into them.”
  8. Proofread proofread proofread. It’s relly obviously when a sentennce has speling errors in it. If you’re entering a writing competition, judges may penalise you for the errors and it could mean the difference between winning or losing a contest.
  9. Write, even when you don’t feel like it. Get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. If you can commit to writing for a certain amount of time each day, for 30 days, it’ll soon become second nature. About 30-40 days is all you need to make a new habit stick.
  10. Recognise it’s not just your characters that are human – you are too! So if you have periods of struggle, you’re not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  11. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Julie Duffy, founder of Story a Day, says “Don’t wait to write until you’re older/wiser/invited to the party. Don’t wait until you have something ‘important’ to say.” Other experts have revealed their best writing tips for beginners.
  12. Enjoy the process! It’s a journey you’ll be proud you’ve taken. Good luck!

While you’re here, we have some exciting news for you. Education charity READ Foundation is running its very first writing competition and needs people like YOU to take part. Read all about it here. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, 10thOctober 2018.

Flash Fiction Workshop in Clevedon

The Clevedon Community Bookshop is offering a flash fiction workshop from 7-9pm on Thursday 4 October 2018 delivered by Gail Aldwin.

Everyday lives are packed with tasks and activities that leave little time for reading or writing at length. Flash fiction has the ability to fit into the breaks and provides satisfying stories with all the elements of a longer piece of fiction. This workshop will explore opportunities to incorporate flash fiction into your writing and welcomes those who are already writing flash fiction and those who would like to start. Through activities and prompts you will be able to develop new pieces of flash fiction and understand more about the process of writing in this a short form.

Flyer for Gail

Gail Aldwin is an award-winning writer of short fiction and poetry. Paisley Shirt (Chapeltown Books, 2018) was longlisted in the best short story category of the Saboteur Awards 2018. She is a visiting tutor on the Creative Writing BA at Arts University Bournemouth and Chair of the Dorset Writers’ Network.

Booking is through the Clevedon Community Bookshop.  Email: enquiries@clevedoncommunitybookshop.coop or telephone 01272 218318

The John O’Connor Writing School Short Story Competition 2018

 

“The world of John O’Connor is a world of the freshly snedded turnip, the new-sawn plank, the sod shining under the plough. His gift is to render the life of the Mill Row in Armagh as deftly and definitively as Steinbeck renders Cannery Row or Bob Dylan Desolate Row”

Paul Muldoon

The John O’Connor Writiing School and Literary Arts Festival, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of John O’Connor as well as offering practical guidance and assistance to aspiring writers through its workshops and master classes in the various literary genres and writing for commercial purposes.

Entries are currently invited from aspiring writers for the third John O’Connor Short Story Competition. It is being held to commemorate the Armagh born writer whose impressive literary legacy includes a collection of short stories which still retain a timeless appeal.

Prize

The prize winner will be awarded a full bursary to attend the John O’ Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 1st to 4th November, 2018, plus a cash prize of £250. The bursary prize allows the recipient to enjoy all events in the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival 2018, and to attend one class in the writing genre of his/her choice. The winner will be notified by 2 October.

The winning entrant will be formally announced at the opening of the Writing school on Friday 2nd November, and will have the opportunity to read at an event on Sunday 4th November 2018. Single room accommodation will be available free of charge to the winning entrant.

Ts & Cs

The competition is open to those 16 years and over. Short stories must be the original work of the author and not previously published or have received awards in other competitions. Entries must be in English and between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length. There is an entry fee of £10. One entry per person. Submit your entry online by 12.00 noon on 28 August 2018.

Find full terms and conditions, and online entry form on http://thejohnoconnorwritingschool.com

A word from previous winners:

“I won the inaugural John O’Connor Short Story Competition in 2016, the news delivered to me via a lovely phone call from Cathy McCullough, a personal touch which is one of the things that makes the weekend so special. I had started writing in 2014, and the win gave me a sense of validation that is so nourishing and necessary for a new writer. That year I attended Bernie McGill’s brilliant prose workshops, which generated an idea for a novel, and Stewart Neville’s masterclass. Last year Martina Devlin facilitated the prose workshops, and again I went away full of ideas for new work. The win also gave me opportunities to read my own work in public, a prospect I once found appalling which I now actually enjoy. My stories have won other prizes, but the John O’Connor win is the one that keeps on giving. “

Louise Kennedy, 2016 winner

“Thanks to the JOCWS I have made contact with an agent who is willing to read it [her novel] when it is ready… I hope all goes as well this year as last and I will certainly be coming along to the writing workshops again. I found them really useful. “

Roisin Maguire, 2017 winner

Start your day with a burst of creativity!

Write & Shine runs a programme of writing workshops that embrace the inspirational power of the morning.  Writer Gemma Seltzer will guide you through the sessions, waking you up with words & energising you for the day ahead.

Our workshops take place bright & early in peaceful central London locations & are open to everyone, whether you’re new to writing, have some experience or simply want to add more creativity into your life. You won’t be expected to share your work, which offers great freedom & encourages all kinds of unexpected ideas to emerge.

For the summer series of workshops, we’ll find inspiration in sunshine, the lighter mornings & the 200th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth. Join us from 5 July.

Workshops cost £19 or you can purchase our seasonal membership to motivate you to enjoy all the workshops, events & online sessions we have on offer this summer. Find out more on our website: www.write-and-shine.com

Story Friday: Call for Submissions

Story Fridays‘ theme for September is ‘Tomorrow’. Tomorrow could mean Saturday – or it could mean the year 2060. For Story Friday Tomorrow we’d like to explore what happens next. We’d love utopias, dystopias, dreams and expectations in this step into the unknown. This is one where you can unleash your imaginations, go wild, surprise us with your visions for the future, near and far. Go on – you’ve got all summer to weave us your dreams!

We are looking for short stories that work out loud, or monologues, fact or fiction (but mainly fiction). Maximum 2,000 words. If you want to enter a flash piece that can work too. No poetry, thank you.

The event will be held on Friday September 21st at Burdall’s Yard in Bath. Please check that you are available to come along on the 21st September before you submit.  We like the writers to be in the audience for these events.

We have some wonderful professional actors who are very happy to read your story if performance gives you the jitters.  Let us know in your email when you submit if you’d like someone else to read your piece.

For more information go to our website.