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.

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OUEN PRESS SHORT STORY COMPETITION 2017 – FINAL RESULTS JUST OUT!

Tasting Notes & other short stories – a diverse menu of short fiction expertly crafted to tantalise and entertain.

The very best 2017 competition entries have been published in one anthology entitled ‘Tasting Notes & other short stories’ – a diverse and complex menu of short fiction, expertly crafted to tantalise and entertain.

Contributors were encouraged to explore imaginative interpretations of one or more of the various meanings that could be derived from the term ‘Taste’.

Congratulations to the prizewinners and many thanks to all who entered the competition – visit www.ouenpress.com to view the FINAL RESULTS.

Sussex based editor and writer, Philippa R Francis writing as K.M. Lockwood was placed as overall winner her work ‘Tasting Notes’. Other prizewinners include Texan-based writer Randall G. Arnold for ‘Taste of the Broken Sea, and UEA Creative Writing graduate and editor Krishan Coupland for ‘The Life of Dogbreath’.

Delighted again with the global reach of the competition, we have been enthralled by those who have opted for the less obvious approaches to the brief, as we hoped they would do what excellent writers can do – expand the subject beyond what might first come to mind.

Deadline dates and details of the theme for the next competition will be made available on our website later in the year – or you may wish to check in with us on Twitter @OuenP or Facebook @ouenpress, for more regular updates on future competitions and all our other activities.

Wishing you every success with your future writing projects.

The Ouen Press team

 

Writing Competition: Short Story, Flash Fiction, Poetry

Just over a week to go now for this great competition for a great cause. So get finalising those poems, flash fictions and short stories. Closing date is next Friday 20th July at 17.00hrs.

Just over 3 weeks to go on this one so get the biros, pencils and laptops working. Closes 5 pm on 20th July

Writing Competition in aid of the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund.

Michael Mullan (26) is battling cancer for third time and needs funds to continue availing of life saving treatment in Boston that is not available in Ireland.

How to Enter

  • Email your short story, flash fiction or poetry entry to: mmcancerfundwritingcompetition@gmail.com.
  • Pay: PayPal.Me/mmcancerfund or by clicking here. Donations in excess of the stipulated entry fee would be most welcome for this deserving cause.

  • Competition is open in Ireland and internationally.

  • Longlist of top 20 authors will be published on www.michaelmullancancerfund.com in mid-August 2018.

  • Shortlist of top 6 authors will be published in early September.

  • Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at Kildare Readers Festival on 3rd October 2018.

  • Please read the Terms & Conditions before entering: Terms & Conditions

To the Moon and Back

The A3 Review is looking for entries to their May contest. This month, they’re inviting stories, poems and artwork on the theme of The Moon. Mystery, cheesy, bloody, science-fictiony, or with cows jumping over it… they welcome all moon-inpired stories.

Stories about werewolves, high tide and low tide, moonlit sonatas, stories based on myths and folklore. Stories about dancing to the light of the moon. What happens to you on nights when the moon is full? Write about that!

For more lunar inspiration, and to enter The A3 Review‘s May contest, check out our Submittable page.

As always, the word limit is 150 words, and all artwork needs to fit into an A6 panel.

Mooning anecdotes most welcome!

Visit them at TheA3Review.com.

 

V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize 2018

The Royal Society of Literature is delighted to announce the nineteenth V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize. There is a prize of £1,000, and the winning entry will be published in Prospect magazine online and in the RSL Review.

Entrants must be resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth and likely to be available for a prizegiving event in Autumn 2018. Stories entered for the competition must not have been published previously, or broadcast in any other medium.

The judges this year are Tibor Fischer, Irenosen Okojie and Leone Ross.

Click below to enter your story online via our Submittable site:
submit

Entries can also be sent by post to:
VSP, The Royal Society of Literature
Somerset House, Strand
London, WC2R 1LA
Postal entries must be accompanied by a completed entry form (which also contains full rules and eligibility criteria). Download the application form.

The closing date for entries is Friday 29 June 2018.

2018 Bristol Short Story Prize

With six weeks to go until our entry deadline we’d like to take the opportunity (thank you, the mighty Shortstops) to say that the 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize is open for entries, and we really, really do mean open.

We’ve published a huge range of stories in our first 10 anthologies – stories set throughout history from ancient Greece to the present day, and beyond to imagined futures. There have been stories narrated by octogenarians, by children not yet a decade old, and others with narrators and protagonists at all stages of life in between. Stories written in the first, second and third persons, with the broadest sweep of styles and genres from the familiar to the obscure: historical, romance, literary, science fiction, harsh realism, surreal flights of fancy, tense thrillers, comic capers, ‘experimental’ tales, sparsely written hammer blows of what some might call flash fiction and lots more. Stories set in countries all over the globe, written by writers worldwide.

There have been high, mid and low brow stories; stories written as blog posts, album reviews, in verse, as diaries, as a series of emails, as well as a sumptuous crop of the more traditional; stories of 4,000 words and those with just a few hundred, one of which won first prize in 2010.

Our 2017 winner, Dima Alzayat (centre) with awards ceremony guest speaker Edson Burton (left) and judging panel member, literary agent Juliet Pickering, who now represents Dima.

We invite you to show us what’s possible in a short story, what a short story can be, what a story can do and what ‘short story’ means to you. Drop our jaws, make us weep, make us rethink, tickle us, entertain us, confound us, provoke us, comfort us, stimulate us, challenge us, storify us to another time or place but above all we want to encourage and inspire you to feel free to write what you want in whatever form you want.

We won’t be compiling lists of shoulds and shouldn’ts on how or what to write. Another contribution to the vast muddle won’t help anyone, there’s more than enough out there. You’re the writer, it’s up to you what you do. It’s your story. We’ll read every submission with the same objectivity, respect and relish.

In short, then, there are no dos and don’ts, shoulds and shouldn’ts, rights and wrongs. No borders, no barriers, no walls.

With that in mind, here are some details of this year’s competition:

The 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all published and unpublished writers worldwide over 16 years of age. Stories can be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online via the website or by post. Entries must be previously unpublished with a maximum length of 4,000 words (There is no minimum). The entry fee is £8 per story.
The closing date for entries is midnight (BST) May 1st 2018.

20 stories will be shortlisted and the 20 shortlisted writers will be invited to the 2018 awards ceremony in Bristol in October this year when the winners will be announced and this year’s anthology launched.  Prizes will be sent to any writer unable to attend the awards ceremony.

Prizes:
1st £1000, 2nd £700, 3rd £400. 17 further prizes of £100 will be presented to the writers whose stories appear on the shortlist. All 20 shortlisted writers will have their stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 11.

And here is our amazing judging panel: Kate Johnson (literary agent at Mackenzie Wolf), Lucy Cowie (editor and former literary agent), Roshi Fernando (writer), and Polly Ho-Yen (writer)

Full details and rules are available at www.bristolprize.co.uk

 

 

 

2018 Flash Fiction Competition

The Casket of Fictional Delights

Launched as part of the nationwide Get Creative Festival. We are looking for entries with a maximum of 300 words (excluding title). The competition is open to anyone over 18.

Judge: David Gaffney
Closing date: 31st May 2018

Entry

£5 per Flash Fiction. 

Prizes                

  • The winning Flash Fiction will receive £150.
  • The top Eight Flash Fictions will be published online on The Casket of Fictional Delights
  • The top Four Flash Fictions will be professionally recorded and broadcast in a special audio podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, TuneIn and Stitcher, promoted by The Casket of Fictional Delights.

Full set of Rules and writing Tips available on the website.

Judge David Gaffney has the following advice –

I do not expect to understand it at first. I expect to be a little confused. I hope to be a little confused. I will expect to have to read it again, and maybe again after that. And the feeling I want to have after finishing it is a feeling that I have understood something I didn’t understand before but I still don’t really know what it is.”

Enter

Good Luck Everyone

#FindYourStory