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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Writers are stronger together

Tom Anderson

Writing is undoubtedly the loneliest profession possible. I’ve tried to think of others and there are both silly and serious ones that do come to mind – but what makes writing so lonely is the way you can be right in the thick of it and surrounded by people, and yet essentially stuck in your thoughts and completely unable to share them.

There are many who love this arrangement, not least the English poet Wordsworth with his ‘bliss of solitude’. Famous writing recluses like Thomas Pynchon, Harper Lee (who had a great friendship with Truman Capote so she kind of doesn’t count), J.D. Salinger all come from America. Wales - where I live - however, is an immensely sociable country. We turn elite sport into a community sing-a-long, and in our arts and culture scenes we do all we can to support anyone else who’s looking to do what they do as long as it’s done with the flag of this proud nation in mind. 

This is where literary societies come in. The Welsh Academy, the …

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Win a share of £1200 to spend on editing, proofreading and design

FicShelf is an online platform that’s revolutionising the world of publishing. Our vision is to support independent authors to make a living from their talent, and to professionalise the self-publishing process.

At FicShelf we think that good books deserve good editors, proofreaders and cover designers. Through our Marketplace writers and publishing professionals can connect to form their very own publishing teams, and we’re providing all the tools needed to develop high quality eBooks.

But we also believe that lack of funding should never be a barrier to great writing. That’s why we are launching a brand new Funding Platform, which will help authors to finance the different aspects of the publishing process.

Our Funding Platform will go live on the 15th April, and to celebrate its launch, in conjunction with ALLi’s IndieReCon, we are offering up to three authors the chance to win a share of £1200 to get their funding campaign started.

Simply send a 500-word synopsis of your …

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Writers' & Artists' Short Story Competition 2015: the winners

Weathering by Lucy Wood

The time has come. Author Lucy Wood, guest judge for this year's spectacularly popular short story competition, has chosen her winner. So without further ado, here we go....


The first runner up, who will receive a copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015 is.... 'Joy' by Matthew Mundy.

Feedback from Lucy Wood:

Writing a ghost story on the theme of joy is an interesting idea and I really enjoyed this story’s foreboding atmosphere. Right from the beginning, we are aware of something uncanny – why can’t Ben reach his girlfriend’s house? I like the way the snow mirrors this tension: the world seems strange and menacing. The writer uses some nice details, like the paw-prints in the snow, to create a vivid scene. And the odd, shadowy figure of Weep, who lingers at the edge, adds another really interesting layer, showing us what could happen to Ben if he doesn’t let go of the past. The idea of letting go, and accepting the past, gave this ghost story a strong …

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Self-Publishing - Designing your Cover

Oak and Mist

The old adage says ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’

But I’m afraid that this is exactly what many of today’s book purchasers do. With such a wealth of books available to choose from, having a strong, professional looking book cover is one way to stand out from the crowd. Of course, an exciting blurb and a well-written story are also very important, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. Whether you create the cover yourself or work with a designer, there are several things to consider when designing a cover for your book:


  • Make the finished design as professional as possible. Just as your story should be properly edited and formatted, so too should your cover look as though it has been designed professionally.
  • How the design works at different sizes. You may have commissioned a beautiful painting or detailed photograph that looks amazing at full size, but which loses many of the details when it’s at thumbnail size (the online display size for your book). Using …

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Writers' & Artists' Short Story Competition 2015 Shortlist

Writing competition


As ever, we've had an absolutely fantastic response for this competition. With thousands of stories of an extremely high standard, our judge has had her work cut out trying to narrow down so many great entries. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work!

However, tough as they were, decisions have had to be made. 

The shortlist of writers whose stories are being considered for a cash prize of £500 and a place at an Arvon writing course are as follows:


Untitled by Simon Pearson 

Poppy Jones and the Ding Dong Song by John Clarke

The Joy of Confession by Daniel Packer

When Joysticks Become Control Columns by Mike Martin

My Name is Marcus Harvey by Frances Hurd

The Joy Chair by Michael J. Fleming

Ramblings by Klinte Mie Jepsen

Antelope by Fiona Mitchell

Ode to Joy by Richard Newton

Speeding by Dorit Kedar

Moss Coloured Memories by Jenny Harding-Rolls

What’s in a Name? by Rachel Vickery

Joy story by Matthew Mundy

Sing for Joy by Margaret Abbett

Other Shoes by Jonathan Skinner 

Joy by

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