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Writers' & Artists' Blog

The Lies I Tell Myself As A Writer

I was on a packed tube one sweaty Saturday, when a woman beside me said to her friend, ‘I worked on my novel yesterday. About three thousand words...’ 

‘Oh, cool,’ he said. 

‘Not sure about that,’ she laughed. ‘I read it back this morning and it’s rubbish. I should’ve gone out with you instead.’ 

I can’t tell you how much that comforted me as a writer, who was at the time in a creative slump, convinced I’d never write anything worth reading again and no other writer knew such frustration. Without knowing, without meaning to, the stranger in the tube carriage put my mind at ease; her words were like a nonexistent nod that said, ‘We are all the same.’ 

There’s something to be said for knowing you aren’t the only one, that ‘it happens to the best of us’, that most writers – perhaps even every writer – has that little voice inside their head that enjoys talking them out of writing and away from their desk, talking their pen away from …

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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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