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Writers' & Artists' Blog

What Happens When You Put 14 Crime Writers on Lock-down?

I still have the message in my WhatsApp Authors thread:

 What do you guys think about putting together a charity crime anthology?

Like all the best ideas, it was thrown out without any real forethought or belief it would be taken up. I went downstairs to make a cup of tea. When I came back, there were fourteen replies flashing on my phone. They all said the same thing, or variations of it.

 I’m in

Great plan

Let’s do it!!

 And just like that, Afraid of the Light, was born. Of course, we had no way of knowing then it would hit #2 on the Kindle charts on publication day (just pipped to the number one slot by Stephen King) and go on to sell nearly a thousand copies in its first week with all proceeds being donated to the Samaritans.

Nor could we possibly know the world would be in lock-down when we launched it. And although putting out a new book in these circumstances was unusual to say the least (partying on Zoom is most definitely not the …

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Winner Announced: W&A Short Story Competition 2020

We're pleased to announce the results of our 2020 Short Story Competition! 

Firstly, here are our two brilliant runners-up with a few words from our judge Kerry Hudson on why they made the cut. Congratulations to the following writers:

Sunburn by Rose-Glendon Doyle

Kerry: "What I was so impressed by in this piece was the quality of the writing and, in particular, the writers ability to use description in such a unique way that it felt you were reading about something fairly familiar for the very first time or suddenly seeing it from an entirely unique perspective. This is a poignant story that is full of heart."

A to Z of Wendy Harrison by Shelley Hastings

Kerry: "I loved this funny, thoughtful and entirely different take on what a person's narrative might look like. The voice and writing and so distinctive and I would happily have read much more of this piece."

We're pleased to announced that this year's winner is Rachel Bower with her story, Potted Plants.

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Shortlist Announced: W&A Short Story Competition 2020

Thank you for your patience while we made our way through all of the brilliant entries for our 2020 Short Story Competition. Reading hundreds upon hundreds of entries while we moved to remote working was a challenge, but it also reiterated the importance of stories for us and why we love what we do.

We enjoyed losing ourselves in your wonderful words and we thank every single person who entered. You helped us to forget about the world outside for a little while. 

However, a shortlist had to be decided. So without further ado, here it is!

An A to Z of Wendy Harrison by Shelley Hastings

Funeral Blues by David Butler

Gyuri's Trip To The City by Gabor Fellner

Potted Plants by Rachel Bower

Sunburn by Rose Glendon-Doyle 

Happy New Year by Justine Bondare

The winner will be announced on our website blog pages no later than 15th April, by judge Kerry Hudson. We will also announce the two runners-up.

And a little something for everyone who entered the competition. …

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Draft One Complete... Now What?

‘The End’ – when I wrote these words I:

A.      Cried

B.       Did a cartwheel in a field

C.       Drank prosecco on a school night

Draft one complete. Now what? No, seriously, now what?!

About 20,000 words too long, my characters changed names every couple of chapters and I’ve spent about three pages describing a bath.

I floated in the ‘I’ve finished’ bubble for a short while.  I had a break from it all, got married, went on holiday, came home and opened my Word document again…

Oh God.

What. A. Mess.

‘A dirty draft’, ‘a brain splurge,’ or (my favourite), ‘a vomit draft’… I learnt these delightful phrases when frantically googling for the ‘what next’ answer.

I have to say, ‘vomit draft’ is the one I identify with most.  I don’t know about you but it invokes the most relatable imagery.  My messy …

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Winner Announced: Writing for Children & YA Competition

It hasn't been easy for our judge Linda Strachan. Faced with an impossible choice, to pick one from six brilliant stories, she's finally delivered her verdict.

But before we reveal the winner, Linda has a few words to say about what she was looking for in the story. 

Linda: It was a very difficult decision to make as all of the shortlisted stories were strong and appealed for different reasons. I wanted a story that was well written, original in concept and yet still able to grab the reader it was aimed at and made me want to read on.  

Writing a synopsis is always a challenge but it was also important to understand where the story is going and if it would be strong enough to sustain any initial promise to a satisfying conclusion.

So, without further ado, we can announce that the winning story is...

Wildlands by Emma Murphy

Congratulations, Emma!  

LindaI was torn between all the stories on the shortlist, but Emma's entry combined great writing with a …

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