Writers Connect Newsletter

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(Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

Welcome to Issue 26 of the Writers Connect Newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: Writing Competitions
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Humorous Quote
  • Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: Writing Events

There have been some new competitions announced since the last issue, so in this issue, we have added several writing competitions that close at the very end of this month, July 2020. Following these is the announcement of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

Comp 1: Ten Stories to Make a Difference

This competition comprises ten original short stories for young readers by ten writers and ten illustrators. Five famous illustrators will illustrate stories by five emerging writers, and five emerging illustrators will illustrate stories by five famous writers.

About: The stories will explore or touch on the theme of difference, inspired by the subject in any way

Open to: Writers under 26

Word count: 10 pages, between 750 and 3000 words

Theme: The theme is difference

Closes: 30 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prize: Three winning entries each £500 + matched with a published children’s illustrator + time with a publishing editor and art director to perfect their story + publication in a short print run + receive 10 copies of their book + feature in a major promotional campaign

Details herehttps://pop-up.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Pop-Ups-10th-Birthday-Competition-BRIEF-MAY-2020.pdf

Comp 2: Wow! Women on Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling.

About: Creative nonfiction essays on any topic and in any style, from personal essay and memoir to lyric essay and hybrid … and more

Open to: Worldwide submissions in English by women writers

Word count: 200 to 1,000 words

Theme: Open topic

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: $12 (US) or for $25 you receive a critique

Prizes: First = $500 + publication + one item from CreateWriteNow’s Store + interview on WOW! Women On Writing Blog. Second = $300 (see website for more). Third = $200 (see website for more). Runners up = $25 amazon gift certificate (see website for more). 10 honourable mentions (see website for details)

Details here: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php#EssayContest

Comp 3: HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award

The Historical Writers’ Association is looking for short stories that transport readers to the past.

About: Unpublished short stories in English on any theme, genre or period. The only condition is that the story must be set at least 35 years in the past

Open to: International 18+

Length: Up to 3,500 words

Theme: Any theme or genre

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: £5

Prizes: First = £500 + publication in Whispering Gallery and on www.historiamag.com + mentoring session with author and agent + tickets to receive your award at HWA Crowns Ceremony in London 25 November 2020. Two highly commended awards (see website for details)

Details here: https://historicalwriters.org/awards/ddshwass-award-2020/

Comp 4: The Ruritania Prize for Short Fiction

This short fiction competition caters to residents of central and eastern Europe.

About: Original, short, English language fiction from Central and Eastern Europe of English-language fiction, translated or otherwise, as long as previously unpublished

Open to: Writers currently residing in or who have previously resided in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the South Caucasus.

Word Count: 1,000 to 4,500

Theme: Stories that reflect the environment in which they were written

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: Winner = €350 + guaranteed publication in the upcoming sixth issue of Panel Magazine. Second & third place = €50 & €20 euros respectively + close consideration for publication by the magazine

Details herehttp://panel-magazine.com/the-2020-ruritania-prize-for-short-fiction/

Melbourne Writers’ Festival

This year, for obvious reasons, the MWF is being held online. It will run from 7–16 August with a Pay What You Can ticketing model. The full program will be announced at 5pm, Wednesday 22 July. Follow MWF on their social media for updates: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube.

Word of the Day

inamorata

inamorata is a borrowing from Italian (original innamorata), meaning a woman who loves or is loved; a female lover. It is included in the Macquarie Dictionary Blog of 24 June 2020 as one of a list of ‘unusual, beautiful words’.

Humorous quote

Writer’s Block: When your imaginary friends stop talking to youUnknown.

Get Inspired

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up—Jane Yolen, American writer of fantasy, science fiction and children’s books, 1939—

The Writers Connect newsletter is generally produced fortnightly.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂


Contact us for all your editorial needs:

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Create Memorable Characters

As creative writers, we all want to create memorable characters.

photo of man and woman in dressup for blog create memorable characters
Photo by JJ Jordan from Pexels

TV Characters

I love watching a good movie. Recently, because I seem to have exhausted Netflix’s current supply of these, I’ve been watching a couple of TV series, a French one – The Hookup Plan – and a Norwegian one – Home for Christmas. Nothing like cultural variety, I say.

Are the Characters Memorable?

The two series are entertaining, and I’ve been observing how the characters are portrayed in a TV series. More characters are given significant ‘airtime’, whereas a novel tends to focus on a protagonist and one or more central characters.

But it got me thinking. What makes the characters in these series memorable? In fact, are they memorable? Will I even remember any of these characters a couple of weeks after I’ve finished watching the episodes? I suspect not. And it’s not really the aim of the series.

However, as creative writers, we do want to create memorable characters.

Is Your Creative Writing Process Subconscious or Academic?

All writers create differently. The process for me tends to be subconscious rather than academic. By this I mean that for me, the creative writing process just tends to ‘happen’ – aside of course from research and planning (such as creating chapter structures, timelines, character lists…). Academic creators tend to consciously plan out most aspects of the writing, including how to create memorable characters.

Regardless of whether you’re a subconscious or more of an academic creator, it’s worth exploring some of the factors when thinking about how to create memorable characters. If you’re a subconscious creator, you’ll tend to do this after the fact – after you’ve created a character. As an academic creator, you’ll think about it before creating a character.

Suggestions from a Screenwriter to Create Memorable Characters

Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network (2010), about the founding of Facebook, has some winning tips on how to create memorable characters.

Know what they want and what stops them from getting it

‘It all boils down to intention and obstacles. Somebody wants something; something’s standing in their way of getting it. They want the girl, they want the money, they want to get to Philadelphia—it doesn’t matter, but they have to want it bad. If they need it, that’s even better,’ Sorkin says.

It’s interesting when he says that thinking of a character’s physical characteristics ‘absolutely comes last, if it comes at all.’ In the course of my professional day, I read lots of character descriptions. One of the ways of handling this that doesn’t ‘work’ is when a character description overtakes a scene or the action. While Sorkin’s ideas refer to screenwriting, and we need character description in novels, it’s worth bearing in mind not to subordinate the storyline or action to character descriptions.

Be empathetic

To create memorable characters, one of the essentials is to have empathy towards your characters. ‘You can’t judge the character,’ Sorkin says. This is challenging when your protagonist is the antihero, which is how Sorkin views Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in The Social Network.

Don’t confuse characters with real people

This is an interesting one, because we’re always being told to create realistic characters. We need to do this by keeping the lines clear. Sorkin often writes about real-life characters but he holds no illusions about his characters being anything other than creations. ‘The properties of people and the properties of character have almost nothing to do with each other,’ he says. Insightfully, he adds, ‘I know it seems like they do, because we look alike, characters and people, but people don’t speak in dialogue, their lives don’t unfold in a series of scenes that form a narrative arc.’

Let your characters fail

If we get too close to our characters, we may be hesitant about having them experience the necessary obstacles and challenges that create story. To maintain our audience’s engagement, keep our characters relatable and help create memorable characters, we have to step back, like a parent with a child, and allow them to make mistakes. ‘They don’t have to succeed in their goal. They can fail. But they have to have tried as hard as they can possibly try … The obstacle has to be formidable.’ Sorkin continues, you may not ‘have a happy ending, but that’s OK.’

Give them a voice — yours 

Sorkin refers to the opening breakup scene of The Social Network and how challenging he found writing it, because he’d never written such young characters before. ‘I think I maybe wrote six lines before I said, ‘This is just god-awful. They’re gonna have to talk the way everybody talks in everything that I ever do.’

Ultimately, it’s your voice that makes your writing unique. You may need to eavesdrop on conversations around you in your local café to help your characters sound authentic, but in the end, you need to use your own voice.

Acknowledgement

Aaron Sorkin’s 7 Tips for Creating Memorable Characters, https://screencraft.org/2017/08/31/7-tips-creating-memorable-characters-aaron-sorkin/, Accessed 31 August 2017


Improve Your Writing Technique

I invite you to download my fun, easy-to-follow eBook. It’ll help you enhance your writing technique and skills!

Read a reader’s review

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WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 24

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close during August and September 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Sydney Hammond Short Story Writing Competition 2020

The organisers, Hawkeye Books, are looking for ‘jolly good tales’ that are positive, that show growth, are light-hearted, heart-warming and gut-wrenchingly beautiful. They may be sad but they want evolution to shine through.

About: In this competition, the organisers are looking for storytelling ability and adherence to the competition theme, as well as the correct use of spelling and grammar and conforming to the competition guidelines. Multiple entries permitted

Open to: Appears to be open (check with organisers)

Word count: Up to 1,000

Theme: ‘If only…’

Closes: 1 August 2020

Entry fee: $10 (Australian)

Prizes: First = $250AU Hawkeye Gift Voucher + anthology front cover design based on winner’s story. Shortlisted (2nd – 4th) = names published. Top 40 stories published in anthology.

Information and entry here: https://hawkeyebooks.com.au/writing-competitions/sydney-hammond-memorial-short-story-writing-competition-2020/

 

 

Comp 2: Yale Drama Series Prize for Emerging Playwrights

Here’s a competition for emerging playwrights. Take advantage, as I don’t see many competitions open to playwrights. Besides, it’s an amazing prize, along with the kudos of the play being staged.

About: Submissions must be original, unpublished, full-length plays

Open to: Worldwide submissions. Plays must be written in English

Length: Must be 65 pages minimum

Theme: Not stated; only that translations, musicals and children’s plays not accepted

Closes: 15 August 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: Winner awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of manuscript by Yale University Press and a staged reading at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater

Details here: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/yale-drama-series-submissions

 

 

Comp 3: Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Organised by ‘Winning Writers’ for a published or unpublished work.

About: To see previous winners, see here https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/contest-archives/tom-howard-margaret-reid-poetry-contest-2019

Open to: No restriction on age of author. Authors from all countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea (due to US government restrictions)

Length: 250 lines maximum per poem

Theme: See under ‘Prize’ below

Closes: 30 September 2020

Entry fee: $15 (US) per poem

Prize: First – Tom Howard Prize = $3,000 (US) for a poem in any style or genre. Margaret Reid Prize – $3,000 (US) for a rhyming poem or in a traditional style. Top two winners also receive two-year gift certificates of $100 value. Honourable Mentions = 10 awards of $200 each (any style). Top 12 entries = published online

Details here: https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/tom-howard-margaret-reid-poetry-contest

 

 

Comp 4: Book Pipeline: Adaptation Competition

Here’s a great opportunity for authors of any genre to submit their published work for a chance at a significant prize.

About: Published books, graphic novels, short stories, or plays for film and television adaptation. No genre restrictions

Open to: International, 18+

Word Count: Not stated

Theme: Open

Closes: 15 August 2020

Entry fee: $60 (US)

Prize: Winner = $10,000 (US) + film/TV industry circulation + project development. Two runners-up = $2,000 ($1,000 each). Plus every entrant receives general feedback on their submission, specifically on its adaptation potential after final judging

Details here: https://bookpipeline.com/shop/adaptation-contest (Note: I found this page a little confusing as there are two competitions and the T&C here relate to the unpublished competition. Make sure you follow the guidelines for the published work)

 

 

Comp 5: Teens of Tomorrow Short Story Content

A wonderful opportunity for young writers to showcase their work and get published.

About: Future-focused YA fiction, any genre

Open to: International 14+

Word Count: 2,000 to 5,000

Theme: Reflecting socio-political issues faced by young people now and into the future

Closes: 31 August 2020

Entry fee: £4

Prize: First = £200. 2nd = £100. 3rd = £50. Top ten tales to be published in anthology

Details here: http://contest.oddvoiceout.com/

 

 

Word of the Day

vilipend 

I know the word ‘vilify’ but I’d never heard of ‘vilipend’. It means to treat with contempt, or to express a low opinion of, the same meaning as ‘vilify’. Although vilipend entered the English language in the 15th century, according to Merriam Webster, it ‘fell into relative obscurity by the 20th century’ – hence why it’s not in common use. It is however listed in the Macquarie Dictionary.

 

 

Humorous quote

‘The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary’ (James Nicoll, Canadian freelance game and speculative fiction reviewer).

 

 

Get Inspired

I’m proud to mention author Helen Brown in this newsletter. We both attended journalism school in New Zealand when we were just out of school and although I didn’t get to know her very well, I caught up with her and another journalism colleague in Melbourne a couple of years ago.

Helen’s nine-year-old son Sam was hit and killed by a car in 1983. Soon after that, her family adopted a kitten and she wrote her best-selling book Cleo about a small black cat who helped mend a family’s broken hearts.

In Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family, Helen says, ‘Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house … They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing … Cats don’t beat themselves up about not working hard enough. They don’t get up and go, they sit down and stay. For them, lethargy is an art form. From their vantage points on top of fences and window ledges, they see the treadmills of human obligations for what they are – a meaningless waste of nap time.’ Thank you, Helen, for bringing us back to what really matters, and for your contributions to the writing world.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

A Tassie Author

A Tassie Author is part of ‘Let’s Talk with the Authors’, a series of interviews with authors who have worked with editors4you or WriteDesign Publications. The promotional opportunity is also open to other authors (contact us for details).

A Tassie Author: David Alomes

photo of David Alomes a Tassie Author
David Alomes: A Tassie Author

Promoting Your Books

Around Christmas 2019, I offered my authors a simple way to promote their books through an author interview.

As we writers know, it’s one thing to write a book. It’s quite another to promote it. Writers tend to shy away from promotion, but it’s vital to kick the shyness habit and get our books out there in the big wide world.

In this interview, the profiled author is David Alomes, an author from Hobart, Tasmania, whose sci-fi novel First Adult is his first novel and the first of a trilogy.

David, tell us about your book

First Adult portrays the type of world where humanity could very easily wind up, a divided world split into two competing and opposing philosophies. Into this broken world is born a healthy child, the first in generations, and he is raised away from the troubles of the world.

His story is one of struggle and loss but ultimately one of hope as he finds new ways to move his world past the troubles of old into a better way – for not only his world, but for the galaxy as a whole. With that hope comes a huge responsibility. He is faced with the challenge of changing millennia of conflict, with the possibility that it will crush him if he doesn’t succeed.

The book questions our values, and perhaps even has readers cheering for the bad guy – if you can figure out who that is!

How did this novel come about?

My professional career is based on numbers, not words. I’ve been a career CPA and financial planner all my working life but eight years ago, a discussion with my daughter spurred me on my writing journey. A simple ‘what if’ discussion ended up with a concept for a book. What would the world look like if…

The book I sought to write turned out to be a trilogy. I had to write a prequel first to make sense of what I had started, and one more to finish the tale. Hence, Book One First Adult was born and published, receiving five-star reviews from the likes of Pacific Book Review.

In between writing, I have retired and travelled and generally have lots of fun, but writing keeps pulling me back. Perhaps the tale wants to be told, or perhaps I’m just too stubborn to quit.

What helped you while you were writing this book?

Having written 15,000 words, I found I did not have enough experience using Microsoft Word to go any further, so I sought guidance. At that point, a discouraging word would have seen me put down my draft and retreat to what I knew. Instead, I received encouragement and understanding. The first words out of my initial coach’s mouth were, ‘You cannot edit what is not on the page.’ Truer words were never spoken. 

Along the way, I seem to have taken an abridged writing course. In my numbers career, I quickly figured out you never stop learning – and I have applied this to my writing. Using resources like a professional editor, having my books reviewed and having beta readers has helped heaps, not to mention joining writers groups. I’m fortunate to have family and friends who have supported my endeavours. My daughter gifted me The Emotion Thesaurus, which I now cannot live without. It helps me add a lot of colour to my writing! And it helps me to show rather than tell in my writing.  

It hasn’t hurt that sci-fi is now an accepted mainstream writing style! With over 6,000 hours of writing experience now, I’m more confident in my writing style, which has changed several times with experience. Now, being retired, I can focus more on a writing career. I still feel that someday I may be able to look myself in the mirror and see an author and not a numbers man.

Can you tell us about self-publishing your book?

You hear horror stories, and, well, sorry to say they are true. I tried a few authors’ reps and publishers but without success. I finally received a publishing contract with a UK publisher, but found they were more a vanity publisher (please read here to avoid this pitfall) and I would still lose control over my book, so I declined.

Self-publishing gave me control over most of the aspects of publishing, and I’m very happy with the final in-hand book.

Don’t start me on marketing, however! Just when you think your hard work is over, you realise it’s barely begun! My advice here is, make sure every sale goes through a platform (like Amazon), as the bigger your recorded sales numbers, the more you get noticed! Buying the books yourself at a discount from your publisher gives you $$, but does not get recorded as a sale.

Think long term and get noticed … I’m still working on this myself.

What are you currently writing?

I’ve just finished Book Two of the trilogy and it’s about to have its final edit. A complete rewrite of my original first draft has become The Death of Violence. This expands the story of Book One to our poor little planet and asks questions like, ‘Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?’ ‘Does the world’s master criminal have to stand up for us all and defend us from indiscriminate murder and mayhem?’ ‘When do things from our past hinder us and not help?’ ‘Wherever you live in the galaxy, why are there always foods that taste just like chicken?’

I’ve also written the first chapter of Book Three, but I have another story I’m busting to put to paper. Stay tuned! It seems words are rushing out of me at a rate of knots.


David’s book is a great read, and you can find it by clicking on the cover below.  You can also visit David’s website: https://www.davidalomes.com/

book cover for a tassie author
First adult by a Tassie author David Alomes

WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 23

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close at the very end of July 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award

It’s heartening these organisers encourage simultaneous submissions. They acknowledge that ‘writers have the right to continue promoting and offering their work while waiting for the decisions of literary organizations’

About: Hidden River Arts offers this award for an original collection of short stories. Previous publication of individual stories is acceptable (see conditions on organiser’s website)

Open to: International writers in English. Multiple submissions, and simultaneous submissions (i.e. submission elsewhere)  accepted

Word count: No limit

Theme: Appears to be open. Check with organiser

Closes: 30 July 2020

Entry fee: $20 (US)

Prize: $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Press

Information and entry here: https://hiddenriverarts.wordpress.com/awards-deadlines-and-guidelines/hawk-mountain-short-story-collection-award/

 

 

Comp 2: 12th Casa África Essay Prizes

This inclusive competition allows essays in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English

About: Original and unpublished essays on African themes to enhance people’s knowledge of the African continent – written in Spanish, English, French or Portuguese

Open to: International, 18+

Word Count: 15,000 minimum to 20,000 maximum

Theme: Climate change in Africa

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: €2,000

Information here: http://www.casafrica.es/en/agenda_europa_africa.jsp?DS28.PROID=916523

 

 

Comp 3: Seán O’Faoláin Short Story Competition

What a fabulous opportunity for short story writers to visit beautiful Ireland, COVID allowing…

About: Original, unpublished and unbroadcast short stories in English. Multiple and simultaneous submissions accepted

Open to: International

Word count: Maximum 3,000

Theme: Any subject, in any style

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: €18

Prize: First = €2,000 + publication + accommodation at Cork International Short Story Festival + 1-week residency at writer’s retreat. Let’s hope COVID allows, because read on! ‘Located just outside the colourful village of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Anam Cara is a tranquil spot structured to provide support and sanctuary for people working in the creative arts. It offers private and common working rooms as well as five acres of walking paths, thirty-four nooks and crannies, a river cascades and a river island, gardens, and a labyrinth meadow. Editorial consultation is also available.’ Wow! Second prize = €500 + publication. Four Runners-Up = €250 + publication

Details here: https://www.munsterlit.ie/SOF%20Page.html

 

 

Comp 4: Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

An exciting opportunity for young poets to strut their stuff and be published

About: Work must be original and unpublished and written in English

Open to: Young poets 11—17 internationally writing in English

Word Count: Any length

Theme: Open

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prize: First 15 winners = publication in anthology + attendance at residential writing course at one of the prestigious Arvon Centres, or mentoring from a professional poet (age dependent). The 85 commended poets = publication in online anthology and names in print anthology.

Guidelines & entry here: https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/foyle-young-poets-of-the-year-award/

 

 

Comp 5: Winchester Poetry Prize 2020

While I’m sure all writing competition judges look for the ‘wow factor’ in writing, the judge of the Winchester Poetry Price actually says so: ‘Then there’s that extra thing, the wow-factor … the moment a poem becomes literature’

About: Previously unpublished poems on any theme

Open to: Anyone 18+

Word Count: No longer than 40 lines (excluding title)

Theme: Any subject, any form or style, in English

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: £5 first poem, £4 each subsequent poem

Prize: First = £1,000. 2nd = £500. 3rd = £250

Details here: https://www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org/prize

 

 

Word of the Day

pyjamas

Did you know that the name of this snuggly garment originates from a Persian word pāy-jāmeh (‘leg clothing’)? The word was only introduced into English around 1800.

 

 

Interesting Fact

In English, loanwords – words that are borrowed from other languages – make up an astonishing 80% of the English language and represent around 350 other languages.

 

 

Get Inspired

Spanish author Rosa Montero, renowned journalist and correspondent for Spain’s El País newspaper, has an interesting perspective on writing: ‘The truth about being a writer is that you do not choose the stories you tell; the stories choose you. Therefore, you do not choose characters either. Novels are like dreams you dream with your eyes open; they are books which appear in your head with the same apparent immediateness as they appear in your dreams at night.’ In speaking about her novel Te trataré como a una Reina (I will Treat you like a Queen), she says, ‘I almost went crazy because my characters did not let me say what I wanted and kept forcing me to speak about things I had … [not intended] to mention. So I came to the conclusion that I had to be true to them, because they had a life of their own.’

If you’re interested in reading an article by Rosa Montero, here’s a great one published in El País about cultural prejudices and stereotypes: Never Mind the Bullfights https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/30/spains-changed-national-character

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

Writers Need to Know their Target Audience

Know your Target Audience

Writers need to know their target audience regardless of the type or genre of their writing: creative writing, business writing, poetry, essays… Arguably, it’s even more important in creative writing because readers choose to buy your work – or not!

dartboard with arrow in bullseye for writers need to know their target audience

Why do Writers Need to Know their Target Audience?

When, before you start writing, you have clear in your mind who your audience is, it’s much more likely that your readers will find your writing engaging. You’ll maintain their attention and interest in the story.

How to Find your Audience

You know what you want to write? You have imagined who your audience is? That’s great, although imagining your audience isn’t the same as knowing it.

Let’s say you’re writing a crime thriller targeted at both women and men aged 35 upwards. To define your target audience, as Dana Sitar advises, think of five people you know reasonably well who read crime thrillers. It could be friends and/or family. The caveat here with family is they will usually love what you write. Alternatively, they will be overly critical, so choose your five wisely. If you are clear about genuinely seeking honest feedback and say you’re not precious about your work and want their objective opinion, in my experience, people will oblige.

Think again about your five chosen people. When did you last see them reading a crime thriller? Do you know why they chose the particular novel they were reading? How do you imagine them reacting to several of the action scenes you’ve written in your book? If you told them about your book, do you think they would want to read it?

If the answers to the above questions are ‘I haven’t’, ‘I don’t’, ‘I can’t’ and ‘No’, then consider a different novel. While there are no guarantees of sales in the publishing world , it’s better to be sure of a ready audience. After all, you’ve put a lot of hard grind into writing and you’ll put just as much into promotion.

If you come up trumps with your hypothetical questions, then ask these people what they think of the idea for your novel. The advantage of asking them is that you’re running your idea by a realistic target audience (Sitar).

When Family and Friends are not your Audience…

As above, if you know that your family and friends will either love your writing, thinking you’re the smartest person on our planet, or criticise it, then it’s best not to ask this group for their opinion. To gain objective feedback on your writing, ask other writers – whose opinion and ethics you trust. You could join a supportive writers’ group to read out excerpts of your work and gain feedback that way.

Sometimes Knowing your Audience Happens Intuitively

When I wrote my non-fiction eBook Ten Ways to Supercharge Your Writing Skills, I followed my own advice and had a specific audience in mind! These were writers who were seeking to improve various aspects of their writing skills. Nevertheless, I have to admit that with my historical novel, Winter in Mallorca: Turmoil to Triumph, ‘defining my audience’ happened intuitively rather than consciously. The inspiration for the novel came to me while on a visit to Mallorca in Spain. I knew with certainty this was the novel I’d always wanted to write.

It seemed to work! Last June, on the writers’ retreat in Spain, I read out excerpts from my novel to the other writers. Their unanimous feedback was interesting: they related to and enjoyed the readings. (None of them wrote in the same genre or were normally readers of historical novels or love stories.) I’ve also been surprised by a similar reaction from my readers. Many of them have said they’ve never read an historical novel in their lives but they loved the book. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, just giving a real-life example. You may not always consciously define your audience, but you need to be aware of addressing a particular audience regardless. As I was writing the novel, I thought of my readers as lovers of history and historical fiction, with an interest in Chopin’s life.

Why Writers Need to Know their Target Audience for Pitching

If you’re planning to submit your manuscript to publishers and agents, have your target readership clear. This is especially important if it’s your first novel. Be prepared to answer in a considered way the question ‘Who do you see as your target audience?’ Don’t just say ‘It has universal appeal’ or ‘Anyone who likes a good story’. Kim Wright illustrates the inaccuracy of such statements: ‘They’re probably trying to imply that their book has equal appeal for men and women, young and old, that it cuts across all racial and national lines and thus has the potential to be a best seller. Hmmm…yeah.

Checklist for Knowing your Target Audience

  1. Before you start writing, have your target audience clear in your mind.
  2. Think of five people you know who read and enjoy the genre you’re planning to write.
  3. Ask yourself: have these five people recently read a book in this genre? Why did they choose to read that novel? How do you think they would react to several of the scenes in your book? Do you think they would want to read your book?
  4. Ask these people for their feedback on your book idea.
  5. If you have started or even finished writing your book, become aware of your audience retrospectively (before publishing it). Make any necessary adjustments to the writing.
  6. Be prepared to answer the question, ‘Who do you see as your target audience?’

Acknowledgements

Bay Tree Publishing, The Ten Most Important Things Every Writer Needs to Know, https://baytreepublish.com/ten-things-every-writer-needs-to-know/ , n.d.

Dana Sitar, Who Is Your Target Audience? Use This Simple Trick to Figure Out If They Actually Exist, ‘Writers Digest’, https://www.writersdigest.com/publishing-faqs/does-your-target-audience-exist-use-this-simple-trick-to-figure-it-out, 6 Feb 2019.

Kim Wright, Who Is Your Target Reader? ‘Writers Digest’, https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/who-is-your-target-reader, 8 April 2012

The Dreaded Writers Block

We make much of the dreaded writers block. It’s such a common phrase that most people, not just writers, know its meaning.

laptop and coffee for blog The Dreaded Writers Block

The Dreaded Writers Block Hits me

Writers block has recently afflicted me and today, I decided to explore the reasons. My hope is that these insights may help some of you become unstuck in your own writing.

Procrastination and Indecision

One thing I’ve historically been excellent at is procrastination. (What? Now? Do I really have to?)

Another is indecision. (I thought I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.)

I’ve been thinking about whether either has played a part in the dreaded writers block affecting me lately.

The Book I’m Working on Now

Many years back, I visited Spain, one of my favourite places in the world – I’m sure I must have had a previous life there 😊. (This was years before my 2019 visit.) The reason for that trip was to accompany my nine-year-old daughter, who was to spend several weeks over the Christmas holiday period with her dad in northern Spain.

Meanwhile, in southern Spain, I spent the weeks carrying out research for a second historical novel. (I published my first in November 2019, Winter in Mallorca: Turmoil to Triumph.) The setting for the novel I’m currently working on is also Spain, but in the 1500s as opposed to the 1800s.

Every story has its accompanying story, and I tell the story of that trip in the travel narrative I’m publishing later this year.

That Novel…

So, I hear you asking, what about that historical novel you went to Spain to research all those years ago?

Thank you for keeping me on track.

I told you, I’m an excellent procrastinator. So yes, it’s taken me all these years to set myself the task of continuing to write that novel.

Committing to Writing through Workshops

Queensland Writers Centre Year of the Novel pic of book for blog The Dreaded Writers Block

To commit to writing my novel, I signed up in late 2019 for the Queensland Writers’ Centre Year of the Novel 2020 workshops. The course description promised it would allow me to ‘follow through with your New Years’ resolution to get that book out of your head and onto the page.’ The five full-day Sunday workshops were to be run throughout the year. By the end of 2020, I intended to have the first draft completed.

Sadly, I had a prior commitment in February so was unable to attend the first workshop.

However, I was motivated. I followed the notes from the workshop and set myself a writing routine: two mornings a week, and Saturday afternoons. It needed to be a realistic goal. For during the week, I set aside one hour before work. For Saturday afternoons, it was one hour minimum, but I placed no maximum on it.

Then COVID-19 hit. That put an end to the workshops for the foreseeable future.

But I Kept Going … for a While

I remained stoic. I can do this, I told myself. Just keep up with the routine. By the time the workshops restart, I’ll be well on my way with the research.

Then the Dreaded Writers Block Brought me to a Grinding Halt

Researching historical material these days is amazing. Compared to when I was researching for Winter in Mallorca, in the days before internet availability (yes, I’m that old), there is so much material available in so many formats. There are podcasts, videos, background documents by experts in so many different fields … No longer do I need to rely on books, which, I have to say, are difficult to come by in Australia for historical research about Spain.

Nevertheless, some 10 days after lockdown restrictions, my researching energies petered out.

Why I Think the Dreaded Writers Block Hit

Did it have to do with procrastination, or indecision?

I’ve realised that for once, no, it didn’t.

Did it have anything to do with COVID-19? Only indirectly.

Work has remained steady. In fact, I’ve been ultra-busy working on clients’ books, for which I’m very grateful. I’ve identified this as one of the reasons I haven’t had the energy to put into my own work.

Another reason is that while I enjoy research, it can also be frustrating – in the sense that I can’t progress the writing until I’ve done a significant amount of research.

Getting Out of My Head

How COVID-19 indirectly played a part in the dreaded writers block is because when I physically change my surroundings, I get out of my head and into a more creative space. With our local cafés currently closed or serving takeaways, bringing a takeaway coffee back to my home office doesn’t get me out of my head in the same way that taking my laptop to the local café for a few hours does.

I admire writers who work by shutting themselves away in their writing room for a day or for several hours at a time. I’m much too fidgety for that. Taking myself away from distractions, out into nature, down near the beach or to a café, helps create a different environment and clears my head. I become more creative. Everyone’s different, but it works for me.

I’ve Missed my Fridays

For several months before coronavirus restrictions, I’d begun to set aside one day a week for business development, working on rather than in my business. First, it was Thursdays. Then I made it Fridays, as I got so creative on Thursdays that I couldn’t settle down to work again on Fridays!

The restrictions have changed my routine and I’ve been working from home every day.

Today, the second Friday of May, I’ve changed all that. Here on the Gold Coast in Queensland, we’re blessed with a benign climate, even in winter. In fact, it’s even better in winter, with the days mild, not too hot and almost always sunny.

setup at waterfront with laptop, coffee, cushion to write blog The Dreaded Writers Block
All set up at the waterfront for writing this week’s blog The Dreaded Writers Block

Adiós to the Dreaded Writers Block

I’m sitting on a bench seat at the waterfront, with my laptop, my cushion and a coffee, writing today’s blog. Finally – with a clear head thanks to the beautiful water view, the salty breeze rustling the palm fronds above, and the chirping of birds in the trees around me – I’ve resolved the dreaded writers block. (No thanks, however, to the bloke who plonked himself down near me and immediately started making calls on his mobile. But then your meditation is supposed to help with that, Gail – focus on the positive, no judgement, Om, Namaste…)

Writing this blog from my new environment has helped me realise I need to change my writing routine – from Tuesday and Thursday mornings to Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes. I’ll bring my lunch down to the waterfront (it’s a bit too cool even here on early winter mornings). And on Saturday afternoons, for now, I’ll give myself a break without feeling guilty!

I wish you luck with your writing routine and I’d love to hear what works for you. Leave a comment below if you feel called to do so.

waterfront view for blog the dreaded writers block
Waterfront view

WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 21

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for writers connect! issue 21 newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Welcome to Writers Connect! Issue 21

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close during July 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Nowhere Magazine Spring 2020 Travel Writing Prize

Here’s something for travel writers

About: For novice or veteran writers. Entries may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or essay, in English. Previously published work is eligible

Open to: All writers, internationally

Word Count: 800–5,000 words

Theme: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry or essay

Closes: 15 July 2020

Entry fee: $20 (US). Multiple entries allowed

Prize: Winner receives $1,000 + publication in Nowhere. Up to ten finalists will also be published

Enter here: https://nowherepublishing.submittable.com/submit/161855/spring-2020-travel-writing-prize

 

 

Comp 2: The Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest

This is an American themed contest so it may have a narrower audience than other competitions we usually feature in the newsletter. But if you’re American, or live in America, then have a go!

About: This contest features the most renowned American fiction writers. Stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal website/ blogs)

Open to: American authors

Word Count: 1,500–5,000 words

Theme: Character- or plot-driven pieces in any fiction genre

Closes: Not stated. Check with organiser

Entry fee: $10 (US)

Prizes: $1,000 + publication in Jan/Feb 2021 edition of  The Saturday Evening Post. Five runners-up = $200 each + stories featured online

Guidelines and entry link: https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/fiction-contest/

 

Comp 3: HG Wells Short Story Competition

From America, to the UK, there’s something here for everyone

About: The story can be set anywhere, feature any characters and be written in any style. Story may not have been previously published

Open to: Not stated, check with organisers

Word Count: 1,500–5,000

Theme: ‘Vision’

Closes: 6 July 2020

Entry fee: No fee if 21 years or younger. £10 otherwise. £5 with student ID

Prize: Two competitions: The Margaret and Reg Turnill Competition for young writers 21 years and under. Winner receives £1,000. Competition for over 21s winner receives £500

Rules & entry form here: https://hgwellscompetition.com/how-to-enter/?v=79cba1185463

 

Comp 4: The Rattle Poetry Prize

We always try to feature a competition for poets, so here you go

About: Poems on any subject, in any style, of any length, in English

Open to: International poets

Word Count: Any length

Theme: Appears to be open

Closes: 15 July 2020

Entry fee: $25 (this is a 1-year subscription to Rattle, or a 1-year extension for subscribers)

Prize: Winner = $15,000, ten finalists = $500 each + publication in Rattle Winter 2020 issue. One $5,000 Readers’ Choice Award chosen from finalists

Guidelines & entry here: https://www.rattle.com/prize/guidelines/

 

We’ll leave it at four competitions for this time, and feature more with a July deadline in the next issue of Writers Connect!

 

Word of the Day

hiraeth

This is a rather beautiful Welsh noun that means homesickness or nostalgia, an earnest longing or desire, or a sense of regret. How could you use it in your writing?

 

Interesting Fact

Probably the whole world knows that J.K. Rowling, who wrote her first manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone while sitting in cafes in Edinburgh, had her manuscript rejected 12 times. It’s a reminder to persevere even when your manuscript is rejected. Commissioning editors and publishers are human, they’re subjective.

 

Get Inspired

Choose a genre you don’t normally write in. Let’s say, mystery. Here’s the writing prompt for your mystery: You open a book and a note falls out. It says: ‘If you are reading this, you have been chosen’. Write the first 500 words of a novel or a 500-word short story around this.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

An Author, an Accountant and an Introvert

AN Author, an Accountant and an Introvert is part of ‘Let’s Talk with the Authors’, a series of interviews with authors who have worked with editors4you or WriteDesign Publications. The promotional opportunity is also open to other authors (contact us for details).

An Author, an Accountant and an Introvert: Lynda Steffens

Promoting Your Books

Around Christmas 2019, I offered my authors a simple way to promote their books through an author interview.

As we writers know, it’s one thing to write a book. It’s quite another to promote it. Writers tend to shy away from promotion, but it’s vital to kick the shyness habit and get our books out there in the big wide world.

In this interview, the featured author is Lynda Steffens, an author, an accountant and an introvert from the Gold Coast whose book Accounting Revolution is a guide for accountants. Lynda describes the profession as ‘overworked’ and accountants’ efforts as ‘undervalued’. As she herself has done, Lynda encourages accountants to go beyond being ‘bean counters’ and evolve their current business model to run a powerful high-level accounting and business advisory service.

lynda steffens books for an author, an accountant and an introvert
Lynda Steffens, an author, an accountant and an introvert

About Lynda

In her own words, Lynda ‘lives and breathes’ accounting and is passionate about the industry that has shaped her career. She is the founder of The Small Business Project, a three-phase program that incorporates Business Metamorphosis®, Leading Edge Business™ and Ready Set Coach™ workshops and programs. Lynda has more than 25 years’ experience as an accountant, business advisor, practice manager, speaker and coach.

Lynda, did you always want to write a book?

I never saw myself as an author but the universe had other ideas, lol! I was developing workshops to leverage and scale my coaching and consulting business when the universe kept sending me hints about writing a book. For example, in a professional speaker workshop I attended they advised ‘writing a book’ was recommended. Next, a very well respected coach and friend of mine said ‘writing a book’ would take my business to the next level. They recommended a trusted friend who could help me with that and then this friend’s workshop just happened to be coming to the Gold Coast. I kept blatantly ignoring all the hints, mainly because I never thought I could write a book. Then one day, after being doggedly stalked on social media by book writing courses and offers, I found myself in a book writing information session and discovered to my horror that I really needed to write a book! I’m sure the universe was sitting back and having a good old laugh at me for having this grand epiphany, and the rollercoaster of feelings that followed.

What was the hardest thing about writing your book?

As a first-time author and a recalcitrant one at that, the hardest thing was getting started. I needed accountability. So in true ‘me’ style, I announced it to the world via social media that I was writing a book and well … then there was no turning back. I had to make it happen.

I found the process of writing somewhat difficult to begin with and had to try a few different methods until I settled on just typing out the manuscript.

As an introvert, I found the speaking and transcribing method recommended to me just didn’t work. For me, planning was super-important and I mapped out the entire book before starting any of the content. I also didn’t follow the most logical sequence but instead jumped around a bit if I got stuck on a chapter. 

Lynda Steffens photo for an author, an accountant and an introvert
The author of Accounting Revolution, Lynda Steffens

What kept you going on writing your book?

I just knew that I had to get my message out and support accountants to grow and transition their businesses. I often talk about my love affair with the accounting industry as having all the hallmarks of a trashy soap opera. Starting out as a 14-year-old girl with rose-tinted glasses, to a somewhat more jaded 20-something-year-old who flirted with other careers, to having a business divorce in my 30s and falling completely out of the love with accounting altogether, I’ve come back full circle in my 40s to be more in love with the accounting industry than ever. This is because I see the fathomless potential of the amazing people and professionals in the industry, who can bring so much to a business relationship if they just learn how to connect and engage with their clients.

You describe accountants as overworked and undervalued. How can accountants communicate their value to their clients?

That’s a great question. You have to communicate your value to your clients in a way they understand. You have to change the conversations you have with your clients.

The two biggest concerns for the accounting industry today are the impact of technology, and adapting to the rapid pace of change while remaining relevant. If accountants don’t change the way they engage with clients, then they run the very real risk of completely losing their relevancy.

So Accounting Revolution gives accountants the tools, steps and actions needed to venture beyond the traditional realm of the accountant, into the role of esteemed business advisor.

You mention you are an introvert. I imagine it’s a trait shared by many other accountants. How do you see an introvert taking the leap from a behind-the-desk role to an in-front-of-a-workshop-audience role?

Ah, the million-dollar question. To us as introverts, the world simply seems set up for extroverts always playing to their strengths and not ours, but that’s simply not true. You just need to scratch the surface, look a little deeper, learn about yourself, and you’ll find it’s as simple as finding your way, not an extrovert’s way but your way. For accountants that means structure and process. By using structure and process, I show accountants that they too can advise, consult and coach their clients with confidence and that the transition to an in-front-of-a-workshop-audience role as you put it is actually not that hard, it just takes some time and practice.

In what ways have you used your book since publishing it?

I’ve now been able to use my book as the foundation for workshops and it’s become the central feature of my business marketing. My book helps me to get speaker engagements and media attention that I could have never achieved without being an author.

As a business person writing a book to support your business, did you seek testimonials before publishing your book?

Yes, I did, and in my view, it’s really important for this type of book. I sought testimonials from a number of sources including clients and other accounting colleagues and included them in my book.

You also self-published your book. Can you tell us (1) why you chose to self-publish, and (2) how that looked for you?

For me self-publishing was the simplest and easiest way to get the result I needed, which was a book I could sell and market using my own business contacts and channels. I had heard plenty of horror stories about self-publishing, finding out you signed over rights to your book and generally just getting yourself stuck in agreements you couldn’t get out of, so I made sure I did my research. I interviewed a number of author services businesses before I made my decision, and based my choice on how well they explained their packages, how easy they were to talk to and finally on the recommendations of other authors before me. Thank you, Gail, for your advice and assistance in this area as it was crucial.


click here to watch Lynda’s video

Find out more about Lynda and her book Accounting Revolution at these links:

Latest news, blogs and workshops https://lyndasteffens.com

Drop her a line at [email protected]

Find her on Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/therealaccountant

See her LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynda-steffens


WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 20

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to Writers Connect Issue 20, the newsletter that keeps you up to date and inspired with writing goings-on.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In Writers Connect Issue 20:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close during June 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

Comp 1: Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020

Here’s an opportunity for previously unpublished, or self-published, poets, fiction writers and life writing writers, to gain recognition and have their work published

About: New writing in fiction, poetry or life writing

Open to: New writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background

Word Count: Maximum 3,000 words

Theme: Appears to be open

Closes: 1 June 2020

Entry fee: Per category, £10 single entry, £16 double entry. Limited number of subsidised entries at £6 per entry

Prize: Winners of each category = £1,000 cash prize. Publication in Wasafiri in print and online. Also offered the Chapter and Verse or Free Reads mentoring scheme in partnership with The Literary Consultancy (dependent on eligibility). Shortlisted writers will be published online with Wasafiri and may also be eligible for Free Reads mentoring.

Enter here: https://www.wasafiri.org/enter-the-queen-mary-wasafiri-prize/

Comp 2: Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition

The name of this comp makes the mind pop! It’s no holds barred, although it comes with a catch: the opening and closing lines from a classic work of literature are provided; you write the rest 

About: Two competitions, any genre. For the first, the opening and closing lines are from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. For the second, they are from Beloved by Toni Morrison

Open to: All writers, professional and amateur, internationally

Word Count: Up to 2,500 words

Theme: No theme or genre restrictions. Simply start with the opening and end with the closing lines provided

Closes: 4 June 2020

Entry fee: $10 (US) per entry. Unlimited number of entries

Prizes: winning story in each contest will receive a USD $500 cash prize and a complimentary copy of the forthcoming 2020 Literary Taxidermy Anthology; runners-up will receive a USD $50 cash prize; and both the winner and runners-up will be published in the forthcoming 2020 Literary Taxidermy Anthology. Honourable mention authors will have their name included on a special page in the anthology

About the competition & entry guidelines here: https://literarytaxidermy.com/contest2020.html

Comp 3: Bath Flash Fiction Award

An opportunity for submitting a piece of writing up to 300 words on any theme or subject

About: Must be original, previously unpublished, written in English and be for adult or young adult readers

Open to: International, 16 years+

Word Count: 300 words excluding title

Theme: Any theme or subject

Closes: 7 June 2020

Entry fee: One entry £9. Two entries £15. Three entries £18

Prize: First = £1000. Second = £300. Third = £100. Commended (two entries) £30. 50 authors offered anthology print publication. All published authors shipped free print copy

Details here: https://bathflashfictionaward.com/enter/

Comp 4: Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition 2020

For all the poets among you, here’s your chance to be recognised in the land of Chaucer!

About: Poems on any subject, in any style, not exceeding 60 lines

Open to: International writers 18+

Word Count: Maximum 60 lines

Theme: Any subject, any style

Closes: 15 June 2020

Entry fee: £5 per poem

Prize: First prize = £200. Second = £100. Third = £50. People’s Choice prize = £25. Best-Read Poem receives a bottle of bubbly

Details & entry form here:

https://canterburyfestival.co.uk/poet-of-the-year-competition-2020/

Comp 5: Dreame: The Multi-professional Billionaire Writing Contest

Here’s an intriguing name for a writing comp. Let your imagination go wild and create a character and a plot related to a particular profession

About: Original works of fiction, in English, with characters who have a clear profession

Open to: International writers

Word Count: 3,000 words uploaded initially to confirm eligibility

Theme: Recommended to include elements of romance, and/or sci-fi, horror-thriller, suspense, fantasy

Closes: 30 June 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prize: 1st = $1500. 2nd = $800. 3rd = $500. 4th–10th = $300 (all US). Plus more…

Details here: https://www.dreame.com/act/customactivity/20200330Multi-Professional?theme=20200330Multi-Professional

Word of the Day

Dickin Medal

Celebrating our animal friends, the Dickin Medal (appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary), is awarded to an animal for an act of bravery or loyalty, often during times of military conflict by an animal attached to the armed forces. The word originates from the surname of an English animal welfare pioneer, Maria Elisabeth Dickin (1870–1951), who founded the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. The Dickin Medal was first awarded in 1943.

Interesting Fact

Washington Irving (1783–1859), author of Rip Van Winkle – a short story about a villager in colonial America  who fell asleep for 20 years and missed the American Revolution – was an insomniac. Sure sounds like wishful thinking, poor man!

Get Inspired

Spark your creativity this week by choosing an image that inspires you – it could be a scene in nature, a painting, the photo of a family member or loved one – and write 500 words about the image.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Writers Connect Issue 20.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂