Saturday 29 July 2023

Writing resources

In my last post, I asked if anyone had suggestions for improving the blog. Thanks to everyone who commented. I'm really pleased that it seems to be working well as it is, so will continue with the regular posts on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month, with an extra one if something crops up, I get a guest post, or it otherwise seems like a good idea.

Marguerite suggested sharing information about writing books we've found useful, or helpful websites and courses. I like that idea (and not just because she suggested my two writing books go on the list!)

If you know of a resource which you think readers of this blog will find useful, please say a little about it and add a link, in the comments. It's fine to mention your own books, blogs etc, but please make clear whether what you're mentioning is something you've created, or something you've used and benefitted from. And please give a little info, not just a link.

General comments, rather than specific recommendations about writing resources are also welcome.

I'll do my best to collate these into a new post or page with clickable links. Don't worry if you can't make the link you leave active in the comments – it is possible, but I don't know how. 

I'll start off...

My own submissions database contains lots of information on submitting fiction to women's magazines, including their requirements and where to send you stories (and the rest of this blog is pretty terrific too!)

My book A Year Of Ideas contains writing prompts for short exercises as well as complete pieces of work. I know they work as I've used them all myself, and readers of the book have reported sales after using it.

The book From Story Idea To Reader, which I co-wrote with my friend Rosemary J Kind is an accessible guide to all aspects of a writer's life.

Both the above books are probably best suited to newer writers, or those returning to writing after a break. They're available as ebook, paperbacks and through kindle unlimited. There's also an audio version of From Story Idea to Reader (which you can currently get free if you start an Audible free trial)

Saturday 22 July 2023

Writing Group?

In a comment to my last post Sheelagh mentioned that, for her, this blog functions a little like a writing group, allowing her to feel part of a writing community. I love that idea! 

Are there any ways you feel this blog could do more to offer support and encouragement to those who read it? I can't guarantee to adopt your suggestions, especially time consuming ones, but all suggestions are welcome. 

A few random ideas of mine are –

Post weekly with the posts between the current regular twice monthly posts being discussion topics.

Extra posts with invitations to share your social media, blog or website links.

Posts inviting blog readers to share links to their books or other published works.

More frequent 'over to you' posts.

All those are things which I could set up in advance and could still run in my absence, so needn't take up too much of my writing and travelling time.

Talking of writing groups, if you use Facebook, here's one you might like to join.

The photos are all views from the mobile writing retreat (campervan) taken at stops during our recent trip to France. As well as photos, I got a few story ideas. One has already been written and submitted, another is being woven into a novel. See, I really am a travelling writer!

Free entry writing competition news.

Thanks to Sharon Haston for telling me about this short story competition from The Sunday Post. Sadly it's one of those where you give up all rights on your story just by entering. I wonder if the big name authors who are judging realised that before agreeing to get involved.

Saturday 15 July 2023

Over To You


 Do you have any womag news?

Any market news? Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Still waiting to hear back on outstanding submissions? Do you have a question? Can you offer tips or encouragement to other writers?

Any other writing related news, questions and comments are also welcome.

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

Free entry writing competition news

Thanks to Fiona for sending the link to this short story competition which offers publication and a cash prize.

This short story competition has a £100 prize.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. As well as allowing us all to share information, help and encourage each other, comments also show editors, competition organisers and others that the blog is read and will therefore be more likely to provide information for me to share with you.

The next scheduled post is next week - 22nd July.

Saturday 1 July 2023

Summer's here!

How are you enjoying the weather? Personally I like it hot and sunny, as long as I don't need to be too active. It can be draining though. If you're finding it hard to write at the moment, here's an idea which might help.

Free entry writing competition news

Green Stories are running another short story competition. The theme is microbes and the top prize £500.

A tip for entering any competition with a theme, prompt, genre requirement etc – make sure it's obvious you've written your piece to fit the requirement. One of the entries in my local writing group's short story competition was disqualified by the judges because they didn't feel it fitted the brief. That's a shame as the person concerned is a good writer and had created the piece specifically for the competition, it simply wasn't clear to the judges that was the case.

Btw, the winning entry (mine!) was praised for its layout, grammar lack of filler words and the fact an original title (as opposed to the competition theme) was used. Obviously the actual story is the most important element, but it's worth paying attention to the details because if two or more entries are close, as I'm sure they were in this case, that might well make the difference.

Other publication opportunities

Stand magazine is a new to me, although well established, paying market, which considers poetry and short stories. The style seems to be more literary than womag – does that appeal to any of you?

Womag news

Angela Gilchrist has been replaced as editor of The People's Friend by Stuart Johnstone, who has previously been a My Weekly editor. More details here.

The new fiction editor at My Weekly has been announced. She's Kirstyn Smith

I don't yet know what difference, if any, these change will make. 

This isn't really news, just a clarification. It's YOURS FICTION which is currently on hold with an uncertain future. The regular YOURS magazine is continuing without change, so you can continue to submit work there.

As YOURS FICTION had a policy of, if you've not heard in three months then it's a no, I think it's safe to assume anything submitted there won't now be used. Submission to the regular YOURS should all eventually get a reply. That can take up to six months, although do sometimes come more promptly.

My news

I'm using my website more now. If you're interested in reading about my writing life, take a look.

For those wondering about the TAB FF story of mine accidentally credited to another author – I have received an apology and payment. My guess is there was a change round when the magazine was laid out and switching the author name got overlooked.

The next scheduled post is 15th July. There may be travel photos!