Writing Retreat Up For Grabs!

retreatLovely Author Jojo Moyes, who I wrote about here last year is offering her cottage in Suffolk for a week to a writer to “kick-start or even finish” their work.

This is the post she’s put on Facebook:

Are you a writer, and wish you had some peace in which to write? I know what it meant to me when I was trying to get published. To this end, we are offering our cottage, free of charge, for up to a week to a writer – published or unpublished – to kick-start, or even finish their work.
It is fully furnished, welcoming, and set near us in deep countryside on the Suffolk borders. The week must be taken before the end of this year. If you are on a limited income, we can also provide help with travel and food (UK only). (We will even remove the television and turn off the wifi if that helps…)
I can’t guarantee I’ll be around, but if I am I’ll be happy to have a coffee and offer any advice I can. Or you can just enjoy not having to speak to anyone at all!
To apply, simply email us at writerscottage1@gmail.com with no more than 500 words on why this would make a difference to you. All voices welcome.
Deadline: 30 September 2016.

What are you waiting for?! (and let me know if you’re successful!)

On a different note, there’s an interesting discussion over on the womagwriter blog at the moment, (partly caused by yours truly), as it has been ‘revealed’ – not that it was ever a secret – by Douglas McPherson, in one of the articles he’s written about my winning serial, that Shirley Blair, fiction editor of the People’s Friend, is also a writer herself (*gasp!*) and sometimes has stories and serials published in the magazine under a pseudonym.

Now, let’s all just calm down. Can/should we really get uppity about other people who choose to write – regardless of their ‘other’ job? It’s a free country, after all. I read the other day that Nadiya Hussein, winner of last year’s ‘Great British Bake-off’ has been contracted to write 3 contemporary women’s fiction novels for Harlequin…. everyone’s doing it!

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17 Responses to Writing Retreat Up For Grabs!

  1. Wendy Clarke says:

    I didn’t know this but I imagine it’s only the odd one or two. I can’t say it bothers me… as long as they still buy mine!

    • My thoughts exactly, Wendy! At least Shirley’s a writer – and therefore understands us, poor tormented arty types that we are – and isn’t just a ‘wannabee’, as I suspect many editors/sub-editors and literary agents might be….! (ooh, controversial!).

  2. Sara Kellow says:

    I’m reading a novel at the moment by a highly respected TV presenter- and it’s dreadful – wandering point of view, clunky dialogue, overuse of adverbs. It seems amateurish and I feel cheated as a reader.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Hmm, Sara, I think I might know which novel – and TV presenter – you are talking about. It received rave reviews and some of my friends loved it but I thought it was dreadful (if we’re talking about the same one, of course…!)

  3. Patsy says:

    I agreed to the guest post on the womagwriter blog because several people had expressed to me their surprise (and in some cases annoyance) that this happens. Many writers, myself included weren’t aware of it until recently.

    As it’s no secret – now anyway – I’m very pleased that Shirley from TPF has responded with more facts on the situation.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Yes, Patsy, I think Shirley’s explained it all very well. And as others have said, PF is a big market – they take hundreds of stories each year – so there’s plenty of room for everyone. The hardest thing about writing for PF, imo, is not ‘competition’ from the fiction editor but actually writing and submitting something that’s suitable for the magazine.

  4. juliathorley says:

    I get very annoyed by people who are offered author contracts just because they’re already famous for something else.. Can you imagine the reverse – say, Val McDermid being offered the chance to drive an F1 car in the Monaco Grand Prix? Of course, if they turn out to be brilliant at it, that’s fair enough.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Julia, I must admit, I had my tongue firmly in my cheek when I put in that line about Nadiya because it annoys me too, when ‘celebrities’ who are famous for something else, be it baking, acting or presenting, are suddenly, apparently ‘out of the blue’ offered publishing contracts. It does make you wonder, too, how much ‘help’ they get with their writing…

      • juliathorley says:

        Some years ago I helped a celebrity write a book, but it had both our names on the cover. She sat and talked, and I turned her words into the text. This was slightly different, though, because it was a non-fiction book and she was the expert. I was merely the amanuensis.I was comfortable with this, but if she’d asked me to write a novel for her in her name, that would have been another matter

      • That’s interesting, Julia. Are we allowed to know what book/celebrity it was…?!

      • juliathorley says:

        Sharron Davies and the book was called ‘Pregnant and Fit’ – which we both were!

      • Ooh, Sharron Davies, I like her! (Being as I like swimming and all that). Good for you, Julia. I googled the book and there you are, co-author! I’m impressed!

  5. Keith Havers says:

    What a generous gesture by Jojo. I don’t need the cottage retreat but good luck to those who get it.
    I think it has always been suspected that some editors submit their own stories. They know what the market requires so, why not?

    • Helen Yendall says:

      I agree with you, Keith. I don’t have a problem with it either but I would really love to know what Shirley’s pseudonym is…! (don’t suppose we will ever find that out though and fair enough!)

  6. What a great opportunity for someone. I didn’t know that about Shirley and I’ve met her a couple of times at our Scottish conference – she’s never given any hint of writing them herself!

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