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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Do I Have the X-Factor?

Justine John

I know I should hate the X-Factor, but, I admit that I don’t.  I love the sheer banality of the old fashioned entertainment, the on-the-edge-of-your-seat competition, and the tears of joy at someone accomplishing a dream, even if it is rigged.  I also know it’s heartless to laugh in the face of a person who possesses profound stupidity, to the point of humiliating themselves in front of millions of viewers across the country, and further, no doubt, on the internet.  It’s so sad, but, in my opinion, it’s also highly enjoyable.  And even though Sting called it ‘televised karaoke’ (I agree, but karaoke is fun), Moby said it ‘cheapens music’ (I agree, but some music is overpriced anyway) and Calvin Harris thinks it’s ‘a joke’ (I agree, a very amusing one), Simon Cowell is a genius for developing a media storming spectacle that not only attracts an audience of millions but one that has also created life-changing opportunities for …

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Approaching the King of Welsh Noir for writing advice

Nia CampbellIn April, I made a deal with myself - a deal so unlikely of swinging in my favour that I could continue under the blissful pretence of self-motivation without actually doing anything.

I joined Twitter and said, “If Malcolm Pryce (author of Louie Knight Aberystwyth novels and one of my favourite writers) ever follows me, I’ll write and ask him to read the first chapter of my ‘book’”.

Of course, there was no chance whatsoever that this was going to happen, so I knew I was pretty safe. But guess what? He did. Not even two months later, a notification popped up on my phone alerting me to a new Twitter follower: @exogamist. The name rang a bell. I clicked through only to come face to face with the King of Welsh Noir himself.

I use the term ‘book’ in its loosest sense; what I had, in fact, was about eight incomplete chapters about a gangly teenage boy living in the small Welsh town of Port Talbot. Under normal circumstances I would have dismissed my ‘deal’, but the fact …

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Killer Fiction Competition - Winners

Writing crime and thriller fiction

The time has come to announce the winners of our Killer Fiction competition - we've had an absolutely fantastic response, and choosing just one winner has been very difficult. With hundreds of stories of an extremely high standard, our judge and literary agent Diana Beaumont 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. So, without further ado, the three winning entries are...

The winner

Golden Hour by Bean Sawyer

Diana's feedback:

The writing is atmospheric and draws in the reader into this police procedural. The authors evokes feeling of a teenage girl out with her boyfriend and stuck in charge of her younger brother (and dog) well. It’s one of those nightmarish moments you could imagine – distracted for a moment and then the boy disappears while the couple are too wrapped up in each other. We are introduced to DCI Floyd (it might be good to make it …

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I Think, I Hope

Justine John

And so I’ve begun.  Begun to be a writer.  I think.  I hope.  I’ve got a manuscript.  I’ve got a mentor.  I’ve got a Twitter account. I’ve joined a writer’s group.  I’ve even got a pseudonym (titter).  And now I’ve got a blog! 

I still feel like a rookie though.  A novice.  A fledgling.  A beginner.  It’s even hard to call myself a ‘proper writer’ because I haven’t published anything. 

I’ve always written something – teenage poetry, industry articles, and good letters.  I wrote the first chapter of my novel long ago… before I had the story.  Before the ‘what’s it about?’ had revealed itself.

I am almost fifty now.  I’ve had a lot of jobs.  Good ones, and some of them well paid.  Some of them even satisfying.  I ran my own company for fifteen years, organising events.  I led a young, dynamic team and …

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Write Something That Affects the World

The GOODFRUIT literary contest

We often underestimate how the smallest things in our lives have the biggest impact.

When we talk of ‘making something of ourselves’ most of us feel like we need to have a special talent, skill or job. We underestimate what we’ve already got – our opinions, our experiences to date. So we just carry on as normal.

I believe everyone has something of worth to share. For me, I am the person I am today because of the things I’ve read and heard. I can’t put my finger on what it is about them. Maybe it’s the author’s story that touches me, the quality of the writing or maybe the thing I’m reading is just really relevant to that particular point in my life. But I’m thankful there are writers out that there that have impacted me so significantly.  

Writers like C.S. Lewis have succeeded in having that effect on millions of readers. But how did they make such a strong impact on culture and society through their literary works? A recent article I …

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