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Writers' & Artists' Blog

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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The Waiting Game: What To Do After Finally Submitting Your Manuscript


I dreamed of the day I would hold my finished novel in my hand, ready to be sent off into the world to land on mountainous slush piles and into the bursting email inboxes of literary agents. 

‘Oh, I shall dance and stand victoriously on the dining table!’ I thought. ‘Then I’ll throw up the sash and just like Scrooge, I’ll shout, “Hey, you boy! I have written a book! A novel. Go to the butchery and buy the biggest goose they have to celebrate and feed the town!” Yes, nothing will be able to shake me. It’ll be nothing but smiles and excitement, for I would have written a book. That was something I was definitely prepared for. 

However, something I certainly was not prepared for, was the rollercoaster that is the submission process; the excitement of pressing send, the burst of unshakable, proud belief in your work as it hurtles towards the inbox of a chosen literary agent, and then the minutely refreshes of email, the grief of missing your characters, and the …

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Adventures in Self-Publishing - The Ghost

Hello! I’m a writer and journalist currently self-publishing my first novel, a psychological thriller called The Ghost.

I chose the self-publishing route because I was eager to get my story into the hands of readers while retaining as much creative control as possible. After attending the Writers & Artists Self-Publishing In The Digital Age conference in November 2014, it seemed clear that self-publishing was the way to achieve that.

I decided to go with Matador, the self-publishing imprint of Troubador Publishing, because of their hybrid approach – offering author autonomy with the industry-standard professionalism of commercial publishing. (They are selective about which books they choose to publish and, to some degree, authors are expected to conform to certain house styles.)

Having spent most of my working life as a writer and editor, I was concerned that my standards would be exacting – or even exhausting. But the Matador publishing team have been unfailingly positive, …

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