It just so happens that I’m featuring three chaps on the blog today, so I couldn’t resist it. (For ‘wise’ – which makes them all sound about 102 – you might want to substitute ‘informative’, ‘helpful’ and ‘inspiring’!)
I like to think they’re each carrying their favourite tipple (and the one at the end is actually licking his lips in anticipation..)
Wise Man#1 First off, it’s the maestro of horror and lots of other genres, Mr Stephen King – Free Short Story Competition c/d 18th Dec 2015
The Guardian‘s running a competition, in conjunction with Hodder & Stoughton (Stephen King’s UK publisher). The man himself will be choosing the winner, from a shortlist of six and the prize includes publication on The Guardian website and a ‘chance to improve your skills at a Guardian Masterclass’.
Your story (maximum 4000 words) must be inspired by and reflect some aspect of the brief King has provided:
“There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like a waltz with a stranger you will never see again, or a kiss in the dark, or a beautiful curio for sale at a street bazaar..”
There are more details here on how to enter the competition (and sorry guys in foreign parts, but you have to be a UK resident to enter).
Even if you’re not intending to enter the competition, you might find this post useful. It’s by novelist James Smythe: ’10 things I learned about Writing from Stephen King’.
I’ve said it before (yawn!) but if you’ve never read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing‘, get it on your Christmas pressie list NOW!
Wise Man#2 Second wise chappie is Mr Alex Gazzola.. (take a bow).. who has just launched a new e-book – 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make
(I wanted to be the first person to write a review but I see that Mr Simon Whaley – who is also wise, by the way – has beaten me to it! :()
One of the things I always tell my students is that they’ve got much more chance of having non-fiction published, than fiction. Not necessarily because it’s ‘easier’ (because I don’t think any kind of writing is easy) but because there are more markets and a little less competition.
Think of all those thousands and thousands of publications (not just the ones in WH Smiths!) – and all the websites – that need articles to fill them. Yes, many of them have in-house writers but a large percentage of them will accept – and pay for – work by freelancers.
If you’re interested in writing non-fiction, then have a look at Alex Gazzola’s excellent blog, Mistakes Writers Make .
Interestingly, on the very day that I was thinking of asking him ‘When are you going to turn your blog into a BOOK?’ – he emailed me to say he’d done exactly that! (Spooky, I know, but it’s the truth).
This is the first in a series but don’t be put off by that little word ‘beginner’. As Alex says himself (ahem, 55% of the way through the book – just to prove I’ve put my money where my mouth is and not only bought his new book but read it..) “this ebook is aimed at those just starting out in non-fiction and aiming to write for magazines, newspapers and online markets. But I hope fiction writers and established journalists, for instance, might find something useful here too…”
And I think you will. Whether it’s advice on how to long to leave it before you chase up your query, or whether you should worry about your idea being ‘stolen’ or what you need to consider when you actually write an article, there’s lots of good stuff in this e-book and it’s all written in a friendly, relaxed style.
Wise Man#3 Finally, someone I’ve never mentioned on this blog before: Mr Christopher Fielden.
Christopher’s website includes a huge and well-maintained list of writing competitions and also some useful advice. For example, whether cash prizes from writing competitions are taxable (er, yes, I’m sorry but they are!).
He also runs a wild and wacky humorous writing competition (the current one closes 31st July 2016, £7 entry fee), which involves the winner being taken ‘to Hull and Back’!
Have a look at the website here for more info.
The competition has a fabulous first prize of £1000 (in addition to going to Hull and back..! And appearing in the competition anthology), is open to anyone, anywhere and any style or genre of story will be considered, including children’s, as long as it is humorous or funny in some way.