Back from Fishguard, Back to ‘Work’

SunshineHi, I am back from Fishguard and I had a great time.

As this was an ‘extra’ holiday that I hadn’t expected to have (long story) and because I’m off to Swanwick for the first time in less than 2 weeks, I didn’t actually attend any of the workshops at Fishguard. I reckon I’m going to get my fill of those at Swanwick.

At Fishguard, I ran 4 workshops and my friend and I organised the literary quiz on the first night but other than that, I chilled out, walked along the sea front, enjoyed the sun and did some writing (not least, my Morning Pages every day), so I didn’t come back feeling worn out, but actually refreshed, which is how you should feel after a holiday, right?

One of the ‘workshops’ I ran was actually an attempt at re-creating the ‘Write Invite’ flash fiction competition.

So, at 5.30pm, I revealed the 3 themes to my contestants and they had half an hour to write a story and hand it in for judging. It was fun – I think! (Although there was a lot of sighing and huffing and puffing and ‘this is rubbish!’ from one of the ladies taking part, so I think perhaps it was more stressful for some).

Kate Hogan very kindly left a comment recently about my story ‘Starfish’ which is in the current issue of ‘Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special’. This story started out as a ‘Write Invite’ prompt in 2012 – and that’s not the first time that’s happened to me. Even if you don’t win ‘Write Invite’ (and I’m not on commission here!), you might end up with a fully-formed idea for a longer short story, that you can then submit to a competition or to one of the magazines.

And talking of competitions (smooth link or what?), The Writers & Artists’ Yearbook have launched their latest short story competition (closing 15th February 2015) and it’s free to enter.

First prize is fabulous: £500 cash, a place on an Arvon residential writing course of your choice and publication of your story on the website.

All you have to do is enter a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words, on the theme of ‘Joy’ and email it to with “WAYB15 competition” as the subject line. More details here.

There’s no entry fee but you do have to be registered on the website and it’s open to ‘all ages, professions and nationalities’.

I’ve read the winning entries for this competition for the past two years and they’ve been.. how can I put it? ‘Different’. Think experimental, outrageous, striking, memorable! (easier said than done, I know but trust me on this one! When the results come out, you will see what I mean…). Good luck!

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13 Responses to Back from Fishguard, Back to ‘Work’

  1. Patsy says:

    Glad you enjoyed your holiday.

    I’ve only done Write Invite a few times and never won, but I have later finished and sold about half of the stories so I agree it can be a good ideas generator.

    • Patsy, I’ve only done it a few times recently, too. I’ve won it a couple of times in the past, which was a real thrill but the competition is stiff! There are some real Write Invite afficionados, who do it religiously every week! It’s good fun though and a great idea.

  2. julielees says:

    Sounds like you had a great time, Helen. I tried looking for the stories of previous winners on The Writers & Artists’ Yearbook website but couldn’t find them. Am I looking in the right place? Do you have a link? I’m interested to read them. Thanks!

  3. Tracy Fells says:

    Sounds like you had a productive time at Fishguard. Hope you enjoy Swanwick, Helen, and sorry I will miss you as not going this year. Also thanks for W&A competition – it’s my ambition to win an Arvon course as have heard great feedback on them.

  4. Ninette says:

    I’ve done Write Invite many times and been lucky enough to win a few. Before I did it for the first time I was very nervous so I thought I would do some practice runs. I got my husband to write down three prompts, turned the paper over and then wrote for half an hour. We did this probably four times before I actually entered the competition and it worked well for me, it gave me confidence to write something in 30 minutes and also meant I ended up with quite a few stories that could be developed.

    • What a great idea, Ninette! (and what a clever husband!) I can see a little job emerging for MY chap! (tee hee). I’m sure it is a case of the more you do it, the better you get (and the less nervous you become!).

  5. juliathorley says:

    Lovely joyful post, thank you, Helen. I’ve got a stack of notes about competitions I want to enter. If only I didn’t have to work… I’m supposed to be writing a lesson plan for this afternoon’s yoga class at the moment, but as you see, I’m easily distsracted.

  6. I must have a look at Write Invite, it sounds like fun! As for the Writers and Artists year book competition, what a fantastic prize! Its definitely worth a punt isn’t it? Although, I must admit its a tough call given what has won previously.

    Happy to hear Fishguard was fun, and I may see you at Swannick, although I can only manage a day this year.

  7. Great post – though it made me feel exhausted reading it! Maybe I need to exercise my legs as well as my fingers….

  8. philippabowe says:

    Helen, your Fishguard trip really sounds ideal, the perfect combination of relaxation and creativity. And the Write-Invite thing does sound fun and stimulating, I may have a go, tho’ am trying to not let myself get distracted from the novel right now…Thanks for posting the link to the W&A winners, I LOVE the winning story, it’s so wonderfully strange, a bit like something you keep catching out of the corner of your eye and are not sure exactly what it is but you keep watching…

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