Getting Inspired & Motivated

Greetings. It’s May! I can’t quite believe it, can you? (*panics quietly*)

Random Word Competition

Don’t forget, if you’re intent on entering my little ‘random word’ competition, it closes at midnight this Sunday, 5th May.

Don’t leave it to the last minute! Remember, on Sunday evening there’s also the ‘feature-length’ final episode of Line of Duty!

So far I’ve had 20 entries but I usually get about 40, so I’m expecting a flood of entries between now and the closing date.


And if you are keen on writing ‘drabbles’ (that’s a piece of fiction of exactly 100 words. The stories for my competition don’t have to be 100, by the way – that’s the maximum wordcount), then you might like to take a look at the Writing Writers’ website.

Every month they run a free-to-enter drabble competition, with a prize of £35. BUT (there’s always a but), the results are decided by a public vote. In other words, it’s a bit of a popularity contest.

Voting for competition#4 has just opened and, should you feel inclined to have a look, my story, about a wayward postman, is #51. If you want to vote (and you only have until 10th May), you just have to send a blank email to: with the story# you’re voting for in the subject line of the email. Next month, you might like to have a go yourself! (In fact, drabble#5 is open for entries now!).

ChipLitFest 2019: What I learned

Last weekend I went to a couple of events at ChipLitFest (that’s Chipping Norton Literary Festival), which is one of the many festivals local to me.

It’s always interesting and inspiring to go to a literary festival, in my humble opinion. You can always learn something and it’s great to be around other people who love books and words and writing.

Firstly, I saw crime writer Mark Billingham interviewing Nicci French and Ambrose Parry and there were 5 people on the stage!

As you probably know, ‘Nicci French‘ is actually two people: married couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French and ‘Ambrose Parry’ (you might not know this one because they’re new), is the pseudonym of another married couple, Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. Both couples write ‘as one’.

Mark Billingham was clearly in awe of how they manage that. He said he and his wife argue enough about who’s going to take out the bins! It was a joke but I can see his point.

One of the rules that Nicci French have – which might help them preserve both their writing partnership and their marriage – is that they each edit the other’s work (they email it to each other) and there is NO discussion or arguing about what the other partner does. Ever. It’s not even mentioned over breakfast.

I bought Ambrose Parry’s first novel (‘The Way of All Flesh’), which is set in Victorian Edinburgh and ooh, I am enjoying it. So, there you go. A new author discovered and I’m reading a book I would otherwise not even have heard of.

I also went to a workshop on novel-writing by Amanda Reynolds, which was great fun and although it was aimed at writers of all levels (eg: some people hadn’t – yet – written a word!), I still managed to come away with 3 ‘action points’ – things that I’m going to try with novel #2 (in the hope of making it a less painful and protracted process!).

Something that’s struck me this week (but I’m taking it as a positive, rather than a negative!) is, firstly, that Amanda Reynolds was a local creative writing tutor in Gloucestershire at the same time as I was setting up my own class in Moreton in Marsh.

We were in touch a few times by email and she was always very helpful and encouraging. I’m assuming that she doesn’t teach those classes any more and.. ahem, she now has 3 published psychological thrillers to her name.

And today, Wendy Clarke, who was blogging and submitting short stories to women’s magazines, the same as me, a few years ago, is still blogging but is also celebrating the launch of her first novel today. Well done, Wendy!

Hmm. Now, I could say that I’m feeling a bit left behind. But instead, I’ll say, that’s encouraging and motivating. If they can do it, so can I! (maybe. hopefully. let’s see).

This entry was posted in Books, Competitions, Cotswolds, Novels, random word competition. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Getting Inspired & Motivated

  1. Just voted – took me a while to realise you have to scroll to the bottom of the page & then send an email.

  2. Wendy Clarke says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine writing with someone else! Thank you very much for the mention- it’s been a long journey to publication but worth every minute 😀

    • I agree – writing with someone else must have its drawbacks! But on the other hand, at least it’s another voice urging you to ‘get on with it’! (which I need)


    When I voted in the Drabble comp, I suggested that they had an independent judge rather than make it a popularity contest. You might like their reply : ‘Thanks for the feedback. This is the reason we are running just one more contest as voting method. An update will be announced on the 27th May, if not earlier.’

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