We stayed with friends in this lovely one-time miners cottage which dated back to the 1700s – and Bonnie came too. (She thought she was a goat and/or sheep and kept going higher and higher on the peaks, when we were out walking. I was a nervous wreck).
All this gallivanting has meant that writing, Morning Pages, marking for the Writers Bureau, blog posting and general ‘stuff’ has been neglected and now I’m madly trying to catch up and not get stressed.
Random Word Competition – Closing Friday
So far I’ve had about 40 entries for my flash fiction 100 word writing competition but there’s still time to enter (midnight this Friday is the closing date!) if you want to have a go. I’m going to try to print them all out without seeing who sent what (if I can!) so that I can pull together a shortlist, over the weekend, as impartially as possible. And then I’ll get someone else to judge the shortlist. More details here.
A Little Prize
You know how I’m always telling you to be original if you want to do well in a competition? Well, I followed my own advice recently (smuggie alert!) and scooped a much-needed £100 cheque.
If you look on page 28 of the current Writers Forum magazine, you’ll see that I’m the winner of a little competition they ran over Christmas. They wanted a kind of writerly ‘cracker joke’, that involved a pun on a well-known writer’s name. For example: “What do you call a writer who juggles a pint of ale with a snooker cue in her hand?” (Beatrix Potter) or, a more straight-forward one, “Which writer is kind to dogs?” (Pat Barker).
Mine was, “What do you call a writer who will let you borrow £100?” (Len Deighton)*
The editor made it quite clear that his favourite entry wasn’t mine, but “What do you call a writer who falls asleep in an Indian restaurant?” (Edna Curry) BUT as Edna Curry isn’t well-known (apparently she’s an American romance writer but I haven’t heard of her – have you?), he couldn’t award first prize to that one as it hadn’t followed the rules (it had to be a ‘well known writer’).
So, mine was picked because I wrote something reasonable but also because I stuck to the rules (I used a well-known writer) AND, just as importantly, no-one else had sent in the same idea. In fact, as part of his judging process, the editor eliminated any duplications. So, you may think the Pat Barker one is pretty good, but lots of people sent that one in, so he didn’t want to choose it. By eliminating any duplicates, it was ‘easier to choose a clear winner’.
Remember that, when you enter any kind of competition! If yours is the same as someone else’s, it could work against you. Dare to be different, if for no other reason than your story will stand out if it’s original.
*he writes spy and thriller novels – oh, and cookery books. He’s the author of The Ipcress File, amongst others. (But of course, you knew that!)