Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tell Prima what you love

Latest call for Prima fillers:

We want to hear your recommendations!
Is there a book you love or a restaurant where you can't get enough of their food.
If you love it, we want to hear about it.
It can be anything from the following list;

a book
holiday destination
item of clothing

Email us telling us what you love and why, and if we feature it in the magazine we'll send you £25! Please don't forget to send us your address with your entry.

Email wisewords@natmags.co.uk

Now then, where shall I start?!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Della Galton - new website, courses and a competition

Check out Della Galton's terrific new look website!

She has several Saturday courses coming up, including one on Characterisation and Settings on 17th April which sounds like a particularly good one.

Also, she's running a writing competition with Vanda Inman from Write Space. Another one worth entering!

Entry fee £5
Closing date 30th June
First prize £150
Word count - up to 1500
Theme - "The Lie"

Full details here.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Catherine Howard competition

I heard about this competition today (scroll half way down the page) which is organised and judged by prolific women's magazine writer Linda Lewis aka Catherine Howard.

Closing date 31st July
Word count - almost anything, 500-5000 words
No set theme
£5 to enter

Top prize starts at £100, will be more depending on how many entries received. All entrants are also entered into a raffle, which is a nice idea!

For full details follow the link.

It's so wide open in terms of theme and word count, you must all have something worth sending in. Given the judge is a women's magazine writer, hopefully that'll mean stories by womag writers will appeal to her!

Good luck to all who enter.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Same character in more than one magazine?

An anonymous visitor left an interesting question under another post:

This may be a strange question, but here goes anyway ... I have written a number of stories featuring the same main character.
If I sent a story featuring a character previously published in another magazine, do you think they would want it? Obviously the stories are different, it's just the character that's the same.

Suppose you've invented a super-sleuth Miss Marple type character, and sold a couple of stories featuring her to, say, Woman's Weekly. Could you sell the next story featuring her to eg Take A Break?

In terms of copyright I would think there's no problem at all. You've sold first publishing rights to the first magazine, but the character is yours and you've not sold any rights relating to use of the character. The next story is completely different so of course could in theory be sold to anyone.

But, I imagine that in Take A Break Towers, they read Woman's Weekly. And in Woman's Weekly Manor, they keep an eye on what TAB publishes. So would TAB refuse to buy a story featuring a character they've seen in WW? (Would they even notice?) And if the story did sell to TAB, would WW feel aggrieved that 'their' character has now been seen in another magazine, and therefore feel disinclined to buy more stories from this author?

What do you all think?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Loving the language

Here's a thoughtful post for you - Kate Long over on Nik Perring's blog, talking about how rhymes and hymns learned at a young age influenced her love of words and ultimately led to her career choices (English teacher, now full-time novelist).

There's a chance to win Kate's latest book. She's asking for comments describing your early wordy influences; best answer wins her book.

I've been mulling this over but the one which keeps popping into my head from childhood days is:

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella
But chiefly on the just because
The unjust stole the just's umbrella.

which is a bit silly really. Though I do still like it!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Poll - how did you get started?

Did you start with short stories and progress to novels, or the other way round?

Help out Olivia Ryan aka Sheila Norton with a poll she wants to use for a feature in Writers' Forum. Here's her post with details on how to respond. Hope you can all help her out!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Lady - tonight, 9pm, C4

Sorry to overseas visitors who probably can't get Channel 4.

Tonight, on Cutting Edge at 9pm, is a programme entitled The Lady and the Revamp. It's about how the new editor of the Lady, who happens to be London Mayor Boris Johnson's sister, is trying to turn around the fortunes of Britain's oldest weekly women's magazine.

Could be interesting to watch? Even though they aren't taking fiction at the moment.

Edited 10.05pm - see here for an interview with The Lady's editor about the programme.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

International magazine swap #2

It's six weeks since I suggested we try holding an international magazine swap. I heard from a couple of people that it worked well, and they'd successfully swapped magazines for research.

Thought I'd bring this idea to the foreground again now, as it was mentioned in the latest edition of E-zee writer from Writers' Bureau, so there could be some new visitors here interested in swapping.

So, same rules as before:
If you have back copies of magazines you don't want, and are prepared to post them abroad in return for back copies of other magazines, leave a comment after this post, saying what you can offer and what you would like in return. You need to include some method by which people can contact you - if leaving an email address I would advise disguising it a little to avoid getting automatic spam, eg write '(at)' rather than the @ sign.

Then anyone interested in what you are offering who can provide what you are looking for, can contact you directly.

Happy swapping!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Probably the most sensible post ever ...

... on the use of adverbs. Here, on Sally Zigmond's blog.

And a good one here from Nicola Morgan on punctuation.

I recommend you read both!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Enjoy the journey

I'm a big fan of Harold's Planet cartoons, which arrive daily in my inbox. This one spoke to the writer in me. I read it as, Who cares if I don't sell anything, I'm enjoying writing it anyway.

If you don't enjoy writing, there's no point doing it. There are far easier ways of earning money. It always amazes me when I hear of people moaning about how hard it is to motivate themselves to write anything, how every word is a struggle. So don't write! Watch TV instead.

Monday, 8 March 2010

My Weekly requirements - March/April

For publication in June/July, My Weekly are looking for the following categories:

  • 1400-1600 word twist ending stories, preferably either light-hearted or very moving
  • 700 word coffee break stories, again either light-hearted or very moving
  • 1200 OR 2000 word romances, preferably light-hearted
  • 1200 word family stories with children
  • Long reads (which I think are 2500-3000 words)

Only send one story per month. Put contact details on every page of your submission (that includes you, Brenda!) Include a 30-word piece about your inspiration for this story.

Email stories as a Word attachment to myweekly@dcthomson.co.uk or lsmith@dcthomson.co.uk
If you've previously had a story accepted mark your submission for the attention of Liz Smith.

Keeping up with My Weekly guidelines is like chasing a moving target. But these aren't too different from the last lot, and they are a nice magazine to work with. Good luck all!

Edited 9/3/10 to add - I believe My Weekly are still not taking submissions from authors they have not previously bought a story from. Which is disappointing.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


I'm pleased to announce the winner of Kate Long's A Mother's Guide to Cheating is Ellan. We chose her description of a short story because she summarised it very concisely but also made it clear how much she'd learned from it, and how much it inspired her to want to write that kind of story.

Well done Ellan! Please can you email me via my shiny new Contact Me link in the top right of the blog, and let me have your address. We'll then get the book in the post to you.

Thanks to all who took part in the competition. It was great seeing how different stories had made an impact on you for so many different reasons.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Bits and pieces of news

There are a few bits of news from the world of womag which I'd like to draw your attention to - thanks to all who've passed me these snippets!

Firstly - note new required word-count at Yours. Stories need to be 1000-1200 words (previously they took up to 1500). See Olivia Ryan's blog for more details. Note too they are up-to-date with submissions up to December, so if you are waiting to hear about one sent before then, do query it.

Secondly - My Weekly's 6-month cut-off period is not always set in stone. People have had stories accepted after 7 or 8 months. So if you've got something out there you are about to give up on, it could be worth giving it a little bit longer...

Thirdly - the bad news is, as long suspected, The Lady are no longer taking unsolicited fiction. I think for some time now they have only published stories from their competitions. Must admit it's been a long time since I tried them anyway.

Finally and most importantly - does anyone know what's happening about payment from Take A Break? They always used to pay reasonably promptly within about 4 weeks of publication. I've heard recently of writers (not me, I haven't sold to them for months, sob sob) who've not yet been paid for stories in the March issue, which has been out for more than a month now. I do feel strongly that the relationship between writer and magazine should be a professional one, and both sides should treat the other with respect. Keeping writers waiting for payment they are due is not fair and we should not have to put up with it. All comments welcome on this topic, and as usual, feel free to remain anonymous if you prefer.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Win Kate Long's latest novel

Just a reminder you have only a day left to enter the competition to win a signed copy of Kate Long's latest novel, A Mother's Guide to Cheating. Details at the end of the previous post. Deadline 8pm Friday.