Friday 29 July 2022

The last time

This is the last time I'll litter one of my posts with pictures from our trip to Ireland. If you see more they'll be there for a good reason, not randomly strewn about the place, just because I can.

Of course this rule doesn't apply to photos of our next trip, or the garden, interesting things I spot on a walk, cakes...

Free entry writing competition news

This competition from Exisle Academy is for "any genre, fiction or fact - that helped or would have helped you at a pivotal moment in your life" the prize is "up to $2000 worth of training and coaching with Exisle Academy", including the opportunity to discuss developing a book with our editors" plus optional publication on their website. You have up to 1,500 words and the closing date is 28th August.

I do sometimes base fiction on real life events, so might have a go at this.

The Morley prize is for 'unpublished writers of colour'. This can be a novel or creative non-fiction book. The prize is £500, plus a consultation with a literary agent.

I'm not eligible to enter this one. If I was, and had a suitable book to submit, then I definitely would.

The Daily Mail are running a novel writing competition with a £20,000 prize and agent representation. "The contest is for first-time authors who have not had any work of fiction published before." 

That's another I can't enter, but if I could I would.

Globe Soup run free writing challenges with £500 prizes. All those registered will be sent a genre and a secret challenge, and given a week to come up with a story of up to 2,000 words. That sounds as though it could be fun, so I've registered.

My news

I've started mentioning some of my published stories on my website again, so if you're interested in what inspired me, or if there's a true story behind the fictional one, take a look at the blog section there.

Womag stuff

There are some writing tips on The People's Friend website. They're written with that magazine in mind, but are also good general advice.

Would you be interested in more specific tips and advice about writing for this market?

Tuesday 26 July 2022

From short stories to audio drama - guest post by Glenda Young

Hello, my name is Glenda Young and I’ve been writing short stories for women’s magazines since 2015. My weekly soap opera Riverside has appeared in The People’s Friend since 2016. Riverside is a joy to write because it’s fun, frothy and I’ve built up a wonderful community of endearing characters. 

It’s a feel-good story of family, friends and community featuring romance, heartbreak and secrets, as well as gentle wit and humour. Writing Riverside is the writing highlight of my week. I absolutely love it.

And I’m now honoured to announce that Riverside has been adapted into an audio drama. Not just that, but each cast member is either a current or an ex-soap star from TV and radio soaps including Neighbours and The Archers. 

The audio scripts are adapted and written by Ian Skillicorn of Wyndham Books from my original characters and stories. Hearing the voices of the characters I've created has been amazing. In fact, I had a few tears listening to the first episode. I’ve lived with these characters in my head for over 6 years and to hear them speak in the audio drama is beyond wonderful.

If you’re thinking of doing something similar, or anything else, with your short stories that have already been published in women’s magazines, always check the rights in your contract you’ll have signed with the magazine publisher. If you’re unsure about the rights, you can ask here on Womag where the friendly community will always advise. 

With Riverside, although I knew I held the rights to my work, I double-checked with The People’s Friend magazine before I embarked on the audio drama. 

Riverside the soap opera now has its own website at where you can check out the synopsis, cast and characters. Riverside will be available from Audible, Amazon and iTunes from Wednesday 27 July. 

Glenda Young


Monday 25 July 2022

In case you were wondering...

 Here's the final result for the poll I mentioned in my last post.

I asked those who said 'no' why not. Those who responded said something along the lines of not having anything against the idea but that they didn't feel it would make any difference to them personally.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Cut off period?

"Would you find it helpful if magazine editors were to give a cut off point, after which we could consider submissions as rejected ?"

That's the question I asked in a poll on the Womagwriter Twitter account. As not everyone is on Twitter, I'm also asking it here. If you'd like to participate in the Twitter poll there's still time - it's the pinned tweet on the account and runs until the 25th. Ideally I'd like actual responses to each individual story, and naturally I'd like them all to be positive! Obviously no editor can accept everything she's sent and I fully accept that I'll get rejections. The problem, for me, is when no answer comes at all. In that case can I eventually assume the story isn't going to be used and I'm free to submit it elsewhere? If so, how long should I wait?

I have stories which have been with a magazine for over two years. When I queried I was told they're still under consideration. That particular publication almost certainly will give me an answer eventually. Some never do, and they don't answer queries either. Personally I'd find it helpful if all magazines, where the editor doesn't respond to each submission individually within a few months, were to have a cut off point after which the author knew the story was no longer under consideration. So far over 90% of those who've responded to my poll say they would find this useful. Do you agree with them?

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Back to normal

OK, normal might be stretching things, but I'm back from Ireland and attempting to get back into writing more regularly. I did produce some stories whilst away, and jotted down lots of ideas, but I spent more time exploring and having fun - and have the photos to prove it! 

Free entry competition news

The British Czech and Slovak Association have a competition for fiction or non-fiction writing. They have very specific requirements, which may seem off-putting, but do mean there are likely to be a fairly small number of entries, giving you a better chance of winning the £400 than if it were an open theme.

Womag / competition news

Both Prima and Best are running short story competitions. Best are offering £500 for a spooky story of up to 1,200 words. Send to

Prima are taking all rights on all entries. If you really want to give up the right to ever use that story in any way, just for the privilege of entering then you can look up the details yourself as I don't want to encourage anyone to take such a step.

Womag update

In case you've somehow missed it, there's a database of womag submission guidelines and requirements on this blog. I update it regularly and you can access it anytime from the link at the top of the page (is that visible on phones?) or here.

My news

I've had sales to TAB and TPF, but mostly there's nothing to report short story wise, not even rejections. It's demoralising waiting years for a definite response – I'd rather have a rejection than a 'it's still under consideration. Maybe it will be used next year.'

Update - I've just had another acceptance from TAB for a story sent out this week! 

As an experiment I took all my ebooks 'wide' ie, instead of being exclusive with Amazon I offered them through other platforms. I did sell a few, but not enough to make up for the loss in payments I got through kindle unlimited, so have reversed that decision. If you'd like to read any of my books through kindle unlimited (or buy the) you can find them all here.

How do you obtain most of the books you read? Do you use kindle unlimited?

I get quite a few books from the library. I love libraries, and love that some of my books are read that way.

A plea from me

If you find this blog helpful, interesting, encouraging or want it to continue for any other reason PLEASE leave a comment. These help the blog in lots of different ways.

Sunday 17 July 2022

Over To You


Womag news

Do you have any womag news?

Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Any other news?

Feel free to use the as a picture prompt. If you'd like other writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.

Free entry writing competition news

I'd love to hear your competition news.

Do you have writing tips to share, questions to ask, or suggestions for this blog?

Friday 8 July 2022

Rumours and photos and stuff


Recently I've come across rumours and reports that various womags are either ceasing completely or are going to discontinue publishing fiction. As far as I've been able to discover, these are all misunderstandings of one form or another. Sadly it does seem to be true that Secret Attic is no longer in operation.

Not quite true is the rumour that I've given up blogging and writing and am just hanging about in the campervan looking at the scenery and eating cake. Of course not! I've also been walking, photographing, swimming – and even doing a bit of writing. (I know you'll believe me about the photography part!) 

Keeping up with online stuff hasn't always been easy, so apologies for the lack of posts and replies to your comments.

Womag / competition news

Avon Books and My Weekly have launched a short story competition with a £1,000 prize. To take part you need to be female, over 45, unpublished and un-agented.