Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Horrors of proofreading....

The prodigal blogger hath returned! YAY....don't get too excited now...

Working as a freelance proofreader (I mentioned in an earlier post that proofreading can help improve your grammar and language skills) I had the misfortune of proofreading a rather horrendous manuscript. No, I shall not divulge who this mutilator of words is, for I am bound by honour ( and a non-disclosure agreement).

I can, however, say that this particular aspiring author was full of it. The interesting aspect about proofreading is that one gains insight into the author's way of thinking (especially if said author wrote a self-help book and elevated himself above the status of "mere man"). Arrogant and very self-absorbed this author managed to disgust me to such an extent that I sent back the manuscript after proofreading it halfway. I simply could not subject my brain to further torture. Poor brain was huddled in a corner like a junkie pleading for me to "make it stop, make it go away..."

Much to my horror the author quoted himself frequently in the manuscript. Said author had no evidence or citations to prove his points. All his points carried the validity of "I believe," and "I recommend." Every single one of them. People, if you are going to write a psychology-based self-help book, then you best have references and citations to validate your argument. What you think and believe does not carry weight, unless it is validated by a credible source in this case.

I still shudder at the memory...absolute horror.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Worst Nightmare for a Writer

This happened to during #CampNaNoWriMo; I was happily working on my novel when the little hated window of "register software" made it's unwanted appearance. Turns out a virus corrupted Office and somehow removed the serial key. That was my worst nightmare.
Although the more common bad experiences with PC's are files bring deleted, either accidentally or by virus. So to prevent your worst nightmare from ruining your progress here's what you can do:

-back up your WIP. Email your work to yourself. Don't trust memory sticks, I learned the hard way that they too can fail! Or use Dropbbox or Google Drive to back up your work  It's safe and private and accessible from your smart phone even.

-Have back up software. If you got a backup of MS Office then great! But if you can't afford to fork out the cash  then rather use Open Office. It's got all the functionality of Word and it's FREE. No worries about licences that suddenly expire.

-if it was accidental deletion you can always try recovery programs with some success.

-print a hardcopy. This sounds nuts, being in the digital age and all. Trust me on this, a hardcopy will save you when all of the above failed. And it makes editing easier too.

Well hope this helps. And may you never have to learn the hard way how important it is to back up your work. PC's fail. We tend to forget that.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Proper Manuscript Format

Unless you are a famous author like J.K Rowling or Stephen King chances are you have to abide by proper manuscript formatting, unless you want your work thrown onto the reject pile. Even the famous authors need to stick to manuscript formatting.
Proper formatting allows the editor to quickly spot mistakes and using the proper format creates a professional impression.
It is always important to follow your publisher's guidelines for submissions.

Here's the link to William Shunn's guide to proper manuscript formatting click here.

I will place the link under the right hand tab as well, under Interesting Links.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

When Life Hits

For some reason people have the impression that  authors have glamorous lives. Going on adventures and doing crazy things all in the name of their current work in progress. Sadly this is not true for most authors. Most of us are regular people with regular jobs and lives. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing. Things like moving, changing jobs, joblessness and other life stressors impact writing negatively and can lead to writer's block. 
I've been there numerous times. That awful place when life and problems just gets the better of me, causing my writing to stop completely. This is where support comes in handy. I've blogged before about author groups. They really do lend the support one needs when life sucks your creativity. Also I've blogged before about alleviating writer's block. One of the important steps being that you should identify the stressor.
What I failed to mention was the importance of gaol setting. Setting a daily and attainable goal will help with the writing. Don't sat a goal of a 1000 words a day if you know you will only manage to write 500. Anything you write above this goal is a bonus and deserves a pat on the back.

The most important thing, however, is to have faith in yourself. If you believe you can achieve your gaol then you will. And remember, life does not stay sucky. It improves. Sometimes it just takes a little time and effort.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

#writetip : Joining a writing group / community

Talking from experience now, going at it alone as a writer is a recipe for writers block. You hit many stumble blocks as you try to develop your story. Some of these stumble blocks being plot holes, character inconsistencies and just the plain old "I-ran-out-of-ideas" dilemma.
I found that when I joined an author group I was not the only writer experiencing these problems. In fact they are pretty common. The great thing about the writing community is the support. Authors, whether they be established or just starting out, will help you to the best of their ability. You quickly learn so much more about the writing world than if you went at it alone. And the the great thing is nobody judges you. We all were newbies at a stage.

Why not learn from others' experiences?

There are some great author groups on Facebook, the links I will post below and under the 'Interesting Links' tab.

Authors Critique Group -- Facebook
Writers' Group -- Facebook
Authors and Book Lovers Discuss -- Facebook
Creative Writers' Forum -- Facebook

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Our responsibility as authors

Gutenberg's printing press necessitated the spread of literacy during a period when only the rich and fortunate could afford expensive texts. Roughly 500 years on and one would think illiteracy is a thing of the past, yet this is not so.

Around the world the rate of illiteracy is still startling, it is not limited to Third World countries, although illiteracy seem to be more prevalent there. My own father is not exempt. At age 73 he still struggles to read, but he tries, even though his efforts are heartbreaking...and I am ashamed to admit, annoying at times, because like so many others I take the gift of literacy for granted.

As authors, creators of content, weavers of fantasy and romance I feel we have a personal responsibility to help eradicate illiteracy. In today's world one cannot survive without the ability to read. The internet, the paper, the books we write and even our shopping requires us to be literate. There is not one activity in our normal lives that doesn't require us to read. So should we not ensure that others can go about their daily lives without having to guess by the picture on the package if the product in their hands are soap or fabric softener? Could you imagine living in a world  when you are so utterly shut out and blinded?

As authors, we should do something. After all it would be to our benefit as well. Higher rates of literacy means more potential readers.  Throwing money at the problem is out of the question. Money cannot solve a problem, especially when the problem so desperately requires human involvement and commitment.

I feel it is time we as authors give back. Either through our time or by providing free resources. Even if you just donate one book to a child in need, or raise awareness for a reading campaign in your area. It is the small efforts that eventually make big changes.

Let's make illiteracy a thing of the past by paying it forward.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Publisher Open to Submission: Asimov's Science Fiction

Click HERE to go directly to the page

Below find some information from their web page.

Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine is an established market for science fiction stories. Asimov’s pays 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8-8.5 cents per word for longer material. (Works between 7500 and approximately 10,000 words by authors who make more than 8 cents a word for short stories will receive a flat rate that will be no less than payment would be for a shorter story.) We seldom buy stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000 words, and we don’t serialize novels. We pay $1 a line for poetry, which should not exceed 40 lines. We buy First English Language serial rights plus certain non-exclusive rights explained in our contract. We do not publish reprints, and we do not accept “simultaneous submissions” (stories sent at the same time to a publication other than Asimov’s). Asimov’s will consider material submitted by any writer, previously published or not. We’ve bought some of our best stories from people who have never sold a story before.

In general, we’re looking for “character oriented” stories, those in which the characters, rather than the science, provide the main focus for the reader’s interest. Serious, thoughtful, yet accessible fiction will constitute the majority of our purchases, but there’s always room for the humorous as well. SF dominates the fiction published in the magazine, but we also publish borderline fantasy, slipstream, and surreal fiction. No sword & Sorcery, please. Neither are we interested in explicit sex or violence. A good overview would be to consider that all fiction is written to examine or illuminate some aspect of human existence, but that in science fiction the backdrop you work against is the size of the Universe.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Monday, 23 February 2015

Publisher Open to Submission: Black Inc Books

Below find the details just as they appear on Black Inc. For more information click the link Black Inc or alternatively check the right hand "Interesting Links" Tab

Black Inc. Publishing

Submission Guidelines
Black Inc. is happy to consider proposals for general non-fiction, including history, current affairs, biography and memoir, and for fiction. Black Inc. does not accept unsolicited proposals for poetry or children’s books. Please take a look around our website to get a sense of the range of books we publish.
Please note that we do not accept submissions by post. Owing to the number of submissions we receive, we cannot discuss submissions by telephone or in person, and we cannot provide detailed editorial feedback.
If you would like us to consider your work for publication, please send an email containing:
  • A short (up to 1000-word) synopsis of your work
  • An indication of the total word count of your manuscript
  • A list of your previous publications and any other relevant information about yourself
  • Attached as a Word document, your complete manuscript
For non-fiction only, if the manuscript is not yet complete, please send a proposed chapter outline and a sample chapter.
We aim to respond to all submissions within twelve weeks.

Friday Flash

Recently an author made me aware of Friday Flashes...below is the information from their site. The link to Friday Flash is on the right hand side under the "Interesting Links" tab as well as below the copied information.

Call for Article Submissions

We here at Friday Flash Dot Org are both proud and honored to be a part of the #FridayFlash community.
We have grown quite a bit since I started a little experiment on Twitter to explore how social media might be used to help writers develop their online presence via the little hashtag, #FridayFlash. The response has been tremendous, with hundreds of people participating over the three plus years we’ve been doing this, many on a regular basis. Since its inception on May 29th of 2009 we have gone on to expand to FacebookGoogle Plus, and launched this website. The goal of all these efforts is to help you develop a bit of a following in order to expand your base, while encouraging you to continue to develop your voice and skills as a writer. Toward that end we attempt to provide you with with relevant and worthwhile content on a weekly basis with the Friday Flash Report, the News Flash, and one writing related article each Thursday.
Estrella has been doing a bang up job as our Editor keeping this site fresh and alive week in and week out. However, in order for her to continue to bring you fresh content each week we need contributors to fill the bill. While we have wonderful contributors, both regular and periodic, who share their thoughts with you on a continuing basis we are beginning to feel the pinch for fresh content. Some of our contributing writers have had changes in circumstance, myself included, which prevent them from posting on a regular basis. As a result the number of articles available to fill the editorial calendar is dwindling, and we may not be able to continue to supply fresh content each week without your help.
While this presents us with an editorial challenge, it provides you with a bit of an opportunity.
If you are a current or former member of the Friday Flash community, and you would like to help contribute to the cause, please consider contributing an article or two for our Thursday feature post. We will consider any nonfiction writing related piece that is original, thoughtful, and well written.
Some of the topics we will consider include, but are not limited to:
  • General writing tips
  • Challenges presented by your current writing project, and how you overcame them
  • Reviews on writer’s workshops or conferences you’ve attended
  • Your personal writing environment – how you make it work
  • Reviews of books on the craft of writing that you have read — what advice worked, what did you find lacking
  • Articles about stories, authors, characters, or settings who have inspired or influenced your work
  • Success stories – thoughts on your first sale, NaNoWriMo, how you got published or landed an agent, your journey as an indie author
We cannot pay you except via your name on the byline, your bio in the footer, and our eternal gratitude.
If you are interested in contributing to Friday Flalsh Dot Org with an article on writing related topics please contact Estrella or me via email or a Twitter DM and we will give it every consideration as a potential article in one of the upcoming Thursday slots.  
Thanks, and keep on writing.

Sharpen Your Grammar and Earn!

A handy way to improve your grammar and developing a sharp eye for detail is to do some freelance proofreading work. There is no shortage of people who require the services of a proofreader. Proofreading helps to keep your mind sharp by not only exposing you to various writing styles and thought processes, but also by helping to develop a sharp eye for detail. Inevitably your grammar improves and you become more aware of sentence structuring. It was through some proofreading work that I finally learned what the split infinitive was. We all have our habitual mistakes we make during writing. Whether it is sloppy sentences, concord errors or the dreaded apostrophe, we all make mistakes. 
Proofreading on the side helps to create awareness of how we use language as writers. In the end it helps to enhance our writing. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Instant romance ruin character development

Today I will be discussing my pet peeve. It is a disease that becomes ever more present in new novels. A sickness of writing called “instant romance”. This is where the characters barely know each other but declare they are soul mates (I had the misfortune to read one such novel where the lead met her love interest and immediately declared he was her soul mate. It killed the story.)
There is nothing inherently wrong with a love element in novels, in fact, novels need that love element or love interest to resonate with the reader on a deeper level. But personally the instant romance thing is kills a story for me. The minute there is instant romance involved I will toss the novel aside like the cheap fodder it is and refuse to read it further. Why? Simply because character development becomes neglected. The author already stated the love interest in the novel between character A and B (and sometimes C, then you get the ever popular love triangle) and thus sees no need to further develop the characters involved. Instead the characters become caricatures of daytime soap operas, where they experience unrealistic emotional angst or simply cannot choose who they want between character B and C.
A good romance or love element in a novel, regardless of genre, will develop with the characters. Even if the characters are introduced from the start as being an “item” that information should not hinder the development of the characters or the romantic connection between them.

Simply put I’m trying to say this: instant romance/love does not happen in real life. Instant lust happens, not love. Feeling attracted to someone the moment you see them, feeling aroused and lustful is something that happened to us all. We all saw a stranger who made us hot under the collar, but we did not run around proclaiming our undying love for said stranger, now did we? So why should our characters do it? Love is something that grows and develops over time. 
The best romance novels and films leave you aching for love and there is no reason the love element in your novel should not develop equally naturally (within the limits of what you are writing). 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Trap of Stereotypical Characters

Let me describe a plot to you: a gorgeous female who either has a helpless personality or a completely badass one and a mischievous eye-candy, hulk of a man. The female character is heir to the throne but she doesn’t want the responsibility, or she’s a rebel. The man is her companion and they either met along the way and can’t stand one another or fall hopelessly for each other. There is competition for the female’s attention and affection from another male who later appears and a love-triangle develops leaving the female helpless to choose between the two potential suitors as she completes her quest in emotional agony……....
Does that vague plot sound familiar? That is because it is present in numerous Young Adult, Fantasy and Romance novels (with some variations but the gist stays the same). It sounds glamorous at first with the beautiful woman who is either a badass, sensual or helpless being aided by the man who Is often described as eye-candy and being unable to express his emotions. This glamour soon fades when one start to identify these stereotypical characters in other novels and one soon realises that the fiction world runs amok with them.
These typical character types have been moulded into our reading and writing culture so deeply that we come to think of them as preferable. The females must be described with unattainable beauty. The men must have uncommon bravery. Previous authors who moulded these characters rendered them in such a glamor that normal characters seem dull. Who wouldn’t want a heroine whose “slim, dark limbs, dazzling smile and sensuous nature” can make any man melt? Or how about a here whose body is “coved in tight ropes of muscle”?
What I’m trying to get at is this: We are objectifying the male and female characters, either accidentally or purposefully rendering them as desirable sex objects for the opposite sex. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but with the media already saturated with stereotypical images of men and women, you have to ask yourself if you really want to contribute to a culture that values looks over intellect. Apart from contributing to this media culture of appearance, the stereotypical character creates distance between the narrative and the reader. It is hard to identify with a character that fits the mould of glamour and perfection when you are an average Joe.
In all the novels I read over varied genres one thing is painfully clear: few authors give their characters average looks and hardly anyone makes their female leads chubby with stretch marks. The writing scene has become stale. The gorgeous has become mundane due to our obsession with glamour and beauty.
 How refreshing wouldn’t it be if the next novel you read contained characters to which you could relate?  So take a sobering look at the world around you and at what you are writing. We don’t need more stereotypes to add to the mediocrity available in current novels.

Review: Uncommon Effort (Blog/Website)

 The Uncommon Effort is a site dedicated to business and the success thereof. Effective, practical advice and insights dominate the sight, never losing the singular focus of business and improving the success of those involved in business.
The topics are fresh, frank and engaging and one leaves this site feeling well educated and a bit wiser. Certainly the Uncommon Effort is a treasure trove for businessmen and entrepreneurs, but as my reader you may be wondering what a review of this site is doing on an author blog. Would it not be better suited to be reviewed by an entrepreneur? 
Let me put this question to you: What are authors, especially indie authors other than entrepreneurs? Even if you are not an independent author this site will prove to be of some value to you. Practical tips on how to increase productivity and time management can be found on this site. These tips are invaluable not only to authors, but to any individual seeking to increase their productivity whether at work or at home. 
I give this site a huge thumbs up. The sober, unpretentious approach of the Uncommon Effort is something we all can learn from. Sharing freely for the sole purpose of helping. 

You can the link to site under the "Interesting Links" tab to the right or you can connect with them on Facebook, LikedIn and Twitter.

Why it is important to read different genres

There exists many different genres in the literature world. Romance, mystery, horror and fantasy to name but a few.  Each of these genres have their own strengths and appeal. Learning to borrow these strengths from various genres can greatly enhance your work. In order to familiarize yourself with these various potential strengths you need to get out of your reading rut.
People often become stuck in a reading rut when they prefer a particular genre. I'm quite guilty of this as well, preferring epic fantasy (in the style of Tolkien) and crime novels. This reading preference leads to a problem in writing: monotony. 
Let me explain: you tend to write what you read. Thus if you only read certain types of books your writing will reflect that. Your plot and characters run the risk if becoming a copy of the novels you read.
Publishers and readers don't want another version of the same tale. To avoid falling into the copy-and-paste trap it is important to read widely and to incorporate the different genre elements into your work.
Learn to drip information to the reader which is typical of the crime and mystery genres. If romance is involved have your characters grow together and utilize the emotional intensity which can be found in romance novels.
Each genre offers a valuable way of communicating information to the readers without running the risk that your novel will be another typical copy of the genre that you read.  Keeping your writing fresh will engage the readers and make for a pleasant read.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Best Writing Tips on Twitter

Here is a list of the best writing tips I came across:

Bad boy characters are attractive because the unobtainable, scary, dangerous person is exciting, and it creates conflict

Quirks, foibles and phobias are quick ways to create empathy and identification with your MC e.g Indiana Jones’s fear of snakes

Ending every chapter with a cliffhanger can become monotonous.

‘However’ is a conjunctive adverb and therefore requires a semi-colon before it and a comma after

Tell everything in detail. You can always go back to delete them. :-)

It's all about the story. When deciding what to cut, ask yourself: does it serve the story?

"A character is someone who wants something. Because...a person is someone who wants something."

It's your story. Own it. Write it. Stay away from those who don't believe in your dreams.

Flash fiction will improve your writing in more ways than one.

In genre fiction, too little use of description is as bad as too much. Draw the reader in but don‘t unnecessarily slow the pace

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Writers and Filmmakers Competition

The winning filmmaker wins up to $25,000 to shoot one of the top 10 scripts. WInning writer receives up to $10,000 for their short script!
Writers judge filmmakers and filmmakers judge writers. It’s that simple! We fund you to collaborate.
The writers review films and decide the best filmmaker. The filmmakers read scripts and decide the top 10 scripts. The winning filmmaker selects one of the top 10 scripts to shoot and we fund the production. The screenwriter gets paid and their script made. The filmmaker gets funded to shoot the script.
Visit to enter for free and pay when the competition starts (That way we are not holding your money). Approximately 500 writers and 500 filmmakers can enter - That is a MAXIMUM of 1000 entries. Imagine competing with only 500 people. TIFF and Sundance had over 15,000 entries last year.

Contest: Lush Stories

For our poetry lovers, comes a competition just for you. There's a $100 1st Prize up for grabs, and a challenging deadline of 2 weeks in which to enter.

Competition Theme:

St. Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14 each year. It is an occasion in which lovers express their love for each other.

Writing a poem for a loved one, has always traditionally been a popular medium in which people articulate their feelings for each other.

Breaking with tradition, as we like to do, as an additional challenge to our authors, you need to show your linguistic ability by expressing the emotion of love, in a way which isn't cliche!

With that in mind, certain rules need to be adhered to: 

- Poems must not use the words, "love", "rose", "stars", "ocean" or "heart". 

- Poems must include the word, "Valentine".    
Entry Details Here

Writing tip: The Advantage of Open Platform Contests

Contests range in size and prizes offered. These prizes can be anything from cash, gift vouchers, publication or even just a custom coffee mug (sometimes it is a combination of everything). However the true value of a writing contest does not lie in the prize or publication offered. No, it lies in the fact that taking part in writing contests hone your skills.

Competition brings out our best effort. In open platforms where readers can vote and comment on a particular entry one can quickly learn the shortcomings present in your writing. One gentleman took the time to constructively point out that my lead character was too perfect. This is something that I probably would not have noticed, but by entering an open platform contest I now know what I should be careful of in future pieces.

Even though your friends and family who regularly read your work may be honest in their opinion they are biased as well. They know you and at some level would not want to discourage you or hurt your feelings. So it is difficult to find out what the true strengths and weaknesses are in your writing.

Strangers on open platform contests do not know you and therefore will write dead honest reviews over your work (that being said, a little patience is required because not everyone who reads your entry feel the need to write a review). You can gauge the success of your piece by the number of votes, reviews or views it garnered. Competition on these platforms are stiff and reading entries from other people will help you refine your writing skills and will help you to word your thoughts better.

Even though the prizes in open platform contests can be a bit tawdry, the feeling of accomplishment and pride one gets from seeing what other readers have to say about your work is a reward in itself. Plus these contests are fun to enter!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Inkitt Contest Second Entry - Letter to my Stalker

I decided to enter a second, shorter story into the contest. Here's a little teaser:

Foolishly you will run after me as I take off to the closest building. But even in the confines of those four walls you will be there. I will exorcise you from my life. Your presence will be forgotten, sweet stalker.

And here's the link to read the full story. Votes and comments are very welcome

Inkitt Contest still Running

The Inkitt Contest is still running.

My story, Lover's Rose is doing quite well considering the stiff competition. Here's a little teaser to entice your votes...or your much appreciated critique.

Over the past two weeks strange things have been happening to Sarah. She mostly attributed it to her pregnancy. It was not uncommon for women to experience difficulties leading up to birth. At least this was how the redhead tried to comfort herself. Idly she wondered if experiencing hallucinations were part and parcel of pregnancy difficulties. Tasting blood in her food, feeling unseen things bump into her…it all played a role in elevating her stress levels.
In the bathroom shower Sarah turned open the hot water faucet and let it run. Soon little clouds of steam rolled thickly through the small bathroom. Casually stripping out of her robe Sarah glimpsed into the mirror before it fogged over completely. A scream caught in her throat, allowing only a dry whine to escape.

Staring back at her was not her reflection of scarlet locks and green eyes…

Here's the link to read the full story 

Review: Lover's Rose (Inkitt Contest)

Really loved it. Had a great story line. Could you please give me a vote on my story 'Chambers of horrors'; the one you reviewed because I accidentally posted it again and all of my old votes vanished. Would be great if you could :). Maham

Review on Lover's Rose in Inkitt Contest

A Critique of a great read
Hi Sacha, Great story! Really gave me a strong sense of claustrophobia and at the end - terror. The character of Rose was particularly enthralling and your style adds to the sense of dread and horror. I love the way you subtly drip us information:: long distance relationship , pregnancy the ex... The scene is set beautifully. It is, thus far, the best story I have read in the horror competition. and I have definitely given it a vote. It is only because I enjoyed the story so and I rated so highly than I am prepared to offer some critique on points where I think the story could be tinkered with to improve. I have not taken the time to do this for other stories. However, if you prefer not to read my criticism please stop reading NOW. If your are still reading, then you have my congratulations, you are truly brave: My points on the Lover's Rose are as follows. Sarah: While the events and feelings she endures during the story are rendered balefully and beautifully she suffers a little from being a plain character with few flaws meaning the two other characters are of more mystery and interest. I call it Harry Potter syndrome, and this can be found in many a novel. She is generally reactive in her actions, rather than proactive and is too innocent to emphasize with (though this could be my own twisted mind at work). For instance when she goes to make her second hot chocolate and says "I need a hot chocolate", instead you could have her saying "I really need a whiskey/wine". this makes her look a little deviant but as she has hot chocolate afterwards brings *a conflict to her character. Description: We learn very early that Sarah is a red head and you refer to her as "the redhead" very often too often in fact. Do not be afraid to use normal pronouns and highlight other physical attributes other than the red hair. I will hold my critique there and really hope I did not offend or upset you, as I mentioned I only critiqued because I loved the story. Though if you would like to read my story "The Chamber of Twisted Echoes" it is also in the competition and I would love your vote, criticism or even both (if I am really lucky) ;) Thanks for the great read, Fred


Follow the link on the right-hand side to vote for my story. 

Best motivational video ever for creative people and startups..

Best motivational video ever for creative people

Best motivational video ever for creative people …:

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Narrative Winter 2015 Story Contest

Winter 2015 Story Contest

OUR WINTER CONTEST is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers. We’re looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.
Narrative winners and finalists have gone on to win the Pushcart Prize,the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Atlantic prize, and have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and others. View all the recent awards won byNarrative authors.

As always, we are looking for works with a strong narrative drive, with characters we can respond to as human beings, and with effects of language, situation, and insight that are intense and total. We look for works that have the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world.

We welcome and look forward to reading your pages.

visit the link for more info Narrative Contest

Innovative Short Fiction Contest

The Conium Review's 2015 Innovative Short Fiction Contest is open for submissions. Winner receives a $500 prize, publication, five contributor copies, and a copy of the judge's latest book.
This year's judge is Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot (FSG Originals), THREATS (FSG Originals), Museum of the Weird (Fiction Collective Two, and AM/PM (featherproof books).
$15 entry fee. May 1st deadline. Submit any combo of short stories or flash fictions up to 7,500 total words.
Full guidelines here:…/innovative-short-fiction-contest/
Or send work directly through Submittable here:

Overcoming Writer's Block

Whether you are a casual writer or a published author, we all had to deal with writer's block at some point. It is frustrating, wanting to write, but the minute your fingers touch the keyboard or pen, your mind goes blank.

Writer's block can vary in form and severity. Some writers experience writer's block if they don't want to write a particular scene while others go into complete shutdown at the sight of a keyboard.
This creative slump can be very demotivating, especially if like me, you had constant writer's block for the past year and a half.  

Luckily there are some things you can do to help clear the block:

1. Do something new: Being stuck in the monotony of daily life can zap all your creative juices. Try to break the routine once in a while. Go out, do something different. See some new sights or go and visit that friend you hardly see. Take the Ice-bucket Challenge if you have to. Getting out of your routine will help get the creative juices flowing again. 

2. Think Positive: Negativity drains one's energy, but being positive and excited about what your are writing and where your story is heading will go a long way in preventing writer's block.

3.  Keep Writing:  “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou

4. Lighten UP! Taking yourself too seriously can really damper creativity. Yes, your work is important! Yes, we all want to be the next J.R.R Tolkien, J.K Rowling or Maya Angelou, but that is no excuse not to have fun. All work and no play is a creativity killer.  

5. Identify the cause of your block: Are you bored with your characters? Do you think your story needs more spice? Are you looking for inspiration for a new novel or poem? Are you stressed?  Once you identified what caused your block you can address the problem.

We all experience writer's block, even the famous writers you admire. It is not the end of the world to have a case of writers block, because it can be overcome just like any other obstacle : by not giving up.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

SA Writers' College Contest Closing date 31 March 2015


2015 Annual Short Story Award


For Emerging Writers in South Africa


This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the Short Story genre. The contest is open to any emerging writer residing in South Africa who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format (print or digital).
To celebrate our anniversary of ten successful years at SA Writers' College, we are offering bumper prizes in 2015.Anniversary-badge

  • First Prize: R 10 000.00
  • Second Prize: R 5 000.00
  • Third Prize: R 2 000.00
The top five entries will be published on our college site and the top five winners will receive editorial comments on their submitted works.




  • Entry is limited to South African residents only.anthology-400
  • Entrants must submit a story of maximum word count: 2000 words. Any entries exceeding the word count by 50 words will not be considered.
  • Writers can interpret and represent the theme in any way they choose. Stories that appear to be entirely unrelated to the theme will not be considered.
  • We strongly recommend that writers read through the competition archives or the past winning stories to see what kind of writing appeals to us at SA Writers' College. We enjoy highly original writing that is authentic and thought-provoking.
  • We aim to support and acknowledge beginner writers, so we only accept stories from writers who have been published fewer than four times in any genre, in any publication (for payment or otherwise). This does not include articles for community or work newsletters where the circulation is under 1000.
  • Stories must not have been previously published. Entrants must own full copyright to the story submitted.
  • Only one story per entrant is allowed.
  • Only e-mail submissions are acceptable, with stories attached as Word Documents. Mark your entry clearly with the subject line: SAWC Annual Short Story Competition, and submit according to rules below.
  • If you have not received an acknowledgement of your submission within three days, please re-send your entry.
  • Queries and submissions must be sent to Nichola Meyer:

  • Your first page of your Word document must include the story title, your name, email address and total number of words of the entry.
  • Do not include your name on any page of your story, except the title page. All entries will be judged blind.
  • Use a font such as Arial or Times New Roman, size 12 or more. Use 1.5 or double spacing between lines. We prefer a clear line between paragraphs rather than indenting.
  • Make sure your story has been edited and polished according to tips and guidelines provided on our college site under “Writing Resources”.

Archives View our Archived Competition Entries Here

  • The competition is open to anyone living in South Africa over the age of 16.
  • The competition closes at midnight on 31 March 2015. The shortlist is published on 18 April, and the winners will be announced and displayed on our website by 30 April 2015.
  • Prizewinners will be notified via email as well as on our web site; please ensure you supply a valid email address with your entry.
  • Prize money will be paid via electronic transfer.
  • We only accept entries written in English.
  • Entrant must own full copyright of the piece.
  • Writers retain copyright, but give permission for their work to be displayed on our website.
  • The judges' decision is final; no disputes will be entered into.
  • If your entry has not been acknowledged within 72 hours, please contact us –your mail may have got lost in transit.
  • SA Writers’ College reserves the right to extend the competition deadline, or cancel the competition should the entries not be of publishable quality or up to the required standard.