‘Read Aloud’ Button on Word + a Monologue-Writing Competition (free!)

Boasty-Boasty Corner

I’ve had a little success since I last wrote: my entry in the TamLitFest short story competition came second! Hurrah.

It’s only a £50 prize (still very welcome!) and the story will probably be going into an anthology and might also be recorded for local radio. It’s encouraging and motivating to have one’s work ‘recognised’, albeit in a very small way (and one of the main reasons I occasionally get organised enough to enter writing competitions!).

Also, this week, an article of mine has appeared in the September (September!?) issue of Writing Magazine. I called it ‘It’s All Been Done Before’, they changed it to ‘Lacks Originality?’ (hmm) but anyway, it’s there, on page 54.

I’d completely forgotten what I’d written, as I submitted it to them back in February (once I’d got the ‘OK’ from the editor to actually write it. Never send a whole article ‘on spec’, always send a pitch first. I’m sure you know that!).

It had been so long since I’d written it, that I was able to read the article as though it was by someone else. My conclusion? Not bad!

That Extra Wedding Guest

There was an extra guest at our wedding earlier this month. Someone who didn’t need a seat, or their own room or even any food or drink. My husband’s great-niece (as it turned out! No-one knew if his niece was expecting a boy or a girl), was born yesterday and is called Penelope!

Unusual/’old fashioned’ names are making a comeback, aren’t they? (And, just as an aside, growing up in Ireland, my mum had never come across the name, so when she read about a character called Penelope in a book, she assumed it was pronounced ‘Penny-lope’). Anyway, we were very grateful that little Penelope – all 8lb 8oz of her – didn’t decide to make an early entrance and steal our thunder on the day!

‘Read Aloud’

I’ve just discovered the ‘Read Aloud’ button on the review screen of Word (or at least, on my version. They might not all have it, I suppose).

You can write a story and then press the button, sit back and let the computer read it to you (in a robotic male voice that gets the intonation wrong quite a lot of the time!). It’s not perfect but it’s not bad.

A story that I wrote without a lump in the throat, actually brought tears to my eye when I listened to it (and no, not because the reading out was so awful). Anyway, have a go yourself, if you can find the tab/button (and if you want to stop it, you just press the tab again).

Lancaster One Minute Monologue Competition – Free to Enter c/d 31st August

And finally, if you like writing monologues – or think you might like to – there’s a competition here asking for monologues of 1 minute, which is free to enter.

You can submit up to 4 monologues and some of the entries will be performed at Lancaster library on 23rd November. There are some examples on the website (recordings of monologues performed last year). ‘Families’ is a really interesting one. Just one word! Repeated in different ways and with different facial expressions and stresses. (So that’s all about the performance, rather than the words) and I thought ‘Thirty Five Years Ago’ was good too (and is performed with no script! Eek!)

The best written monologue will win a £50 prize. The top 30 monologues will be read at the live event (you don’t have to be there – they will nominate someone to read your monologue if necessary) and the one judged by the audience to be the best will also win a £50 prize.

If you live in the Lancaster area, you might also like to go along to the (free) workshop they’re holding on August 16th at the Toll House Hotel 2pm – 4pm. Book your place at Eventbrite.

Good luck! I might have a go at this myself – it looks like fun!

The most famous Penelope of them all? Ms Pitstop herself.

This entry was posted in Competitions, Magazines, Successes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to ‘Read Aloud’ Button on Word + a Monologue-Writing Competition (free!)

  1. Dorinda Cass says:

    My favourite doll, aged about 9,( me not the doll), was called Penelope. I was always reading so will have come across it somewhere. A chicken in one of my sister’s ‘pony’ books was called Dorinda! Something for me to aspire to.

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Aw, love the fact that your doll was called Penelope. I can only remember one doll – she was called Rosebud and she could talk! (I didn’t give her the name Rosebud by the way, that was the manufacturer’s name!). Dorinda is a really pretty and unusual name. What are the origins of it?

  2. juliathorley says:

    I prefer your original title, but it’s a great article either way. I’ve been thinking just that: ‘What’s the point?’ But of course you’re right. There’s nothing new under the sun. Congrats on the comp. I love a competition deadline and it’s even better when there’s a theme. Having written a book of monologues, I’d better have a go at the Lancaster comp – or perhaps I’d better not. I’m not sure my ego would take another rejection at the moment!

    • Helen Yendall says:

      Thanks for your comment, Julia. (You often comment and I do appreciate it!). I think we all go through that ‘what’s the point?’ feeling, every now and then, don’t we? Must admit, I prefer a comp when there’s a theme too. It adds another layer to it – how original can you be in interpreting the theme? I recently entered the Glos Writers comp and the theme for that was ‘numbers’ which was a good ‘un! I think you should have a go at the monologue comp! As Ernest Hemingway (I think it was him), said: “What if I Fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” Good luck!

      • juliathorley says:

        Thanks for the encouragement, Helen. I’m feeling sorry for myself because I’ve just lost an editorial job: not through any fault of mine, but just another print publication ‘regrouping’ because of the march of the internet. Off to strap on my wings…

      • Sorry to hear that Julia. It’s not easy trying to earn a living through ‘words’ is it? Hope you find something to replace it soon.

  3. Kate Hogan says:

    Well done on the competition, Helen, and thanks for all the fun posts and advice. Good wishes Kate Hogan

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