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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Short Story Competition 2017: Shortlist


Once again, our annual Short Story Competition has proven as popular as ever. We've had thousands of entries (2,134, to be precise!) and it's been an absolute joy to get a glimpse of your writing. A shortlist, however, had to be settled on, with this year's judge - our very own editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Alysoun Owen - whittling things down until just ten entries remained. And here they are!

Chasing The Shadow – Jane Fraser

Evie – David Simmons

Encounter – Annie Fairfax Kemp

Into The Abyss – Louise Mangos

A Taste Of Something Different – Lee Wadmore

Crescent Bay – Emma Davies

One Moment – Amanda Staples

Passed Over – Marie Gethins

The Suitcase – Hilary Hopker

The Pilgrims – Steve Hosking

The winner and two runners-up will be announced here before the end of March, with Alysoun due to provide feedback on each of the chosen entries.

For those of you who haven't made the shortlist this year, enter the code #

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Be a Better Writer

In her book, 10 Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard advised would be authors to – ‘Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray’. Whilst Ernest Hemmingway famously wrote, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is just sit at a typewriter and bleed.’

But surely there’s more to great writing than simply praying and hemorrhaging at your desk… I’ve analysed advice by famous authors in an attempt to discover how to become a better writer.  My favourite tips are listed below; let me know what you think of them.

1. “Find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” – Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451

How to use it:

At first glance it seems Bradbury is advocating a sort of voodoo magic in the creative writing process whereby protagonists take care of the plot for you. However I think what he’s really saying here is that your characters should …

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10 Writing Touchstones: Identity

‘Just be yourself’ is about the worst advice anyone can give. It’s the “just” that does it. The perceived thing changes: if you’re self-conscious, you’re not the same as when you’re unobserved. You’re also different with every friend, pet and family member in your life. Every personality has facets, every life has eras and everybody has good and bad days. Still, these sides and eras are united in an essential self. When feeling confident, engaged and safe, that self can be accessed more fully. That’s the goal, on the page or off. It’s difficult to eliminate stress factors, self-doubt and self-consciousness. Being yourself is anything but a “just”.

Writing to please yourself is the best way to learn about your own identity as a writer. Your voice and ideas aren’t compromised; you’re free to experiment and explore. Each Green Ink Writers’ Gym warm-up begins with one rule: no editing or self-criticism. This licensed self-exploration makes the blank page …

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Authors, achieve more in 2017

Last year, the team at I_AM Self-Publishing created our first ever author goals worksheet, which we shared right here on www.writersandartists.co.uk, and it was the most popular piece of content we have ever created. This year, we have gone back to the drawing board, read up on the advice from top goal achievers and successful entrepreneurs, and put together a new 30-page guide and workbook – Author Goals: Your guide to achieving more  which you can download here.


Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” - Tony Robbins, bestselling author & entrepreneur


Why bestselling authors set goals

Writing, publishing and marketing a book well takes time and effort. The authors I know are busy people who often juggle this with their other work, as well as family and general life commitments. Also, as creatives, authors can sometimes have lots of ideas that pull them in lots of different directions, but struggle to …

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10 Writing Touchstones: Observation

‘Can you teach Creative Writing?’

There have been and will continue to be well-publicised arguments about whether something so individual can or should be taught. The answer, though, should depend on what we mean by “taught”. Creative ability can’t be learned by rote, or recited like a times table. However, good habits and stimulus from a good teacher will provide an introduction to key techniques that encourage the student to move forward towards their own discoveries. 

‘Can you learn Creative Writing?’

You can always become more fluent in your own voice. If you are a writer, at any stage in your career, you should never stop learning. The longer and more successful the career the more true that is, so if you’re a relative beginner you have no excuse not to be learning creative writing. 

Perception drives reality. So pay attention.

You can also teach yourself to think and live like a writer. The rest is passion and hard work and don’t kid yourself it’s always …

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