Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Short Story Competition

Category: Fiction - Short Story  

No set theme or subject matter, write what you like to write!

Words: 1000-2000

Opens: 22nd June at 8am (UK time)

Closes: 21st July at 8pm (UK time)

Winner announced: 31st July

Entry Fee: Free

First Prize: £30 + Publication

Second Prize: £10 + Publication

Third Prize: £10 + Publication

5 Runners-Up: Publication

Winning stories & Runners-up will be published in the Slingink Magazine



Ready to send your entry?

Maximum of 3 entries per writer, per month.


Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Write From The Heart

Write from the heart - that's all you really need to do.

Never try to second guess the market or try to be clever with your audience - or those who would help you achieve your aims.

Be true to yourself and be honest with your readers - because that's the only way to create anything of value and to sustain an artistic career of any kind.

It's easy to get fooled by the system into thinking that you work to get paid, therefore you can write anything for money - but it doesn't really work like that.

Not with art anyway. Not with anything creative.

Creativity requires more than just turning up and punching the clock.

Writing, painting, sculpting, playing an instrument, making movies, anything that requires personal expression, needs a soul at work.

Your soul - your time and passion and commitment.

That's what creativity of any kind demands:


It's intimidating, sure, when you see so much finished stuff around - you know, finished books, completed movies, and mastered songs that just glow with semi-perfection - all neatly packaged and oozing confidence and, well, some kind of stature.

And all available for sale...

It's hard when you want to be one of those people who has a book out there or a song or a film - and you know you haven't even started or worse actually, you're half way through something that feels like it's never going to be completed let alone recognized and available as a finished product.

It can be extra intimidating to see so many people with finished products who are social networking constantly - trying to get themselves and their own books, films and music seen and taken seriously.

Especially when on the same page some fabulously famous people are doing exactly the same - and they have the fame, the kudos and the riches to do it well!

How can you possibly compete in a world where just about everyone is shouting, "Look at me, look at me!"

Thing is, it's not about competing.

It's just about being there - and being yourself and being honest.

People might criticize you (but actually they rarely do).

Most likely people might appear to ignore you.

But that's okay too.

How many times have you seen people online and not said anything - just stored away their image or their 'thing' in your brain and moved on?

That's pretty much what everyone else is doing.

They may never contact you or involve themselves with you but they know you're there.

And there is just where you need to be.

You gotta be in it to win it, as they saying goes.

That doesn't mean you spout bollocks all day though.

People respond best to sincerity.

Consistent sincerity - the kind you can't fake.

Do what you do, feel what you feel, and write what you write...

Love what you do and do what you love.

And get it out there.

And the world, my friend, will know.

Trust in yourself and your dreams.

And write from your heart.

Till next time.

Keep writing!

Rob Parnell's Writing Academy

Monday, 20 June 2022

Fiction Editing

Fiction editing requires a totally different group of skills than your solid foundation of English language expertise. Editing fiction requires expertise that is seldom innate. No matter how good your grammar expertise might be; instead, you’ll have to study what it is to write fiction, and also what it is to publish fiction. If you need to become fiction editor, seek out fiction producing and fiction editing training. Googling “how exactly to create fiction” or “how exactly to edit fiction” should offer you enough material as a starting point to learn and research for several weeks.

Similarly, editing memoirs, for which presently there is a huge market for, requires specific editorial skills. Memoir editing isn’t unlike fiction editing, for the reason that it requires the advancement of an intriguing story line, frequently partially fictionalized , whether it’s chronological or not. Research your options thoroughly if that is a genre you intend to pursue.

You couldn’t choose a better target time to become freelance editor. Self-publishing has turned into a huge and genuine market, no longer stigmatized by the words “vanity publishing.” Right from the start the discipline of indie publishing is growing, I dare say, exponentially. Research and find out about this niche. In general, it’s an astoundingly good time to enter this business.

Yes, it’s a real goal oriented job, but there’s a good caveat. Don’t imagine for another moment that editing is not fun. It’s quite interesting to deal with literature all day, although sometimes it really is a challenge. It’s mostly about reading, examining, and critiquing poor or worse, sometimes incredibly bad writing. It’s frequently on subjects you may never be thinking about. If you increase your reading and writing as a result it’s captivating for you to learn more about foreign subjects. Trying to decipher somebody else’s poor composing and adapting to their design, or adding some design if none is obvious, is exceedingly difficult, and surely puts the mind to work. And sometimes it could be all about fact checking or formatting footnotes and reference lists and bibliographies effectively, which requires another very different expertise, usually employing either Chicago, APA, or MLA styles.

Whatever else it might be, freelance editing isn’t a hobby job. It’s not at all something you can merely start doing because it appears like a simple method to improve your income. Learning to be a professional freelance editor necessitates as a lot of experience and real life education. Do not pass up chances to upgrade your expertise by attending conferences, taking courses, reading greatly, and joining discussion forums with your colleagues.

If that is a career path that interests you, you’ll have to have a love for English words and for dealing with the written expression. Passion is certainly key to this line of work. The very best freelance editors have great passion for this work. Nevertheless, you probably do as well, or you wouldn’t end up reading this. In the event that you think freelance editing may be the right profession for you, I wish for you all of the best in your trip to becoming an editor.

© Brian J White

Sunday, 19 June 2022

How To Write Engaging Fiction

This is a question every writer or new writer has asked themselves from time to time. How to write fiction that people will not only want to read, but enjoy and remember a long time after they have finished the book.

This article although aimed at novels can easily be applied to short stories.

The first thing to appreciate when constructing engaging fiction is to start with a strong main character or protagonist. You want your main character to stand out and be able to carry your story right through to the end. This is even more important for longer fiction as you obviously have to engage the attention of your readers for longer.

What makes a memorable character can be many things. Unusual physical appearance can help such as for example, a very tall man who has a lot of tattoos and a bald head. However, it is the personality of your main character that will stay in the minds of your readers more. Readers want to be able to identify with your main protagonist or at least sympathize and root for them when they are presented with obstacles or opposition.

Your main character does not have to be perfect by any means, but they have to be likable, appealing and believable. They need to seem almost real. Even if your main character has many flaws, their good points should still outweigh them.

Another aspect to bear in mind when writing engaging fiction is your plot. Good fiction should contain conflict, that is, a hurdle or obstacle that your main character needs to overcome in order to achieve what they want. It would be very difficult to write engaging fiction without a strong plot. Regardless of the genre you are writing in, the same rule applies.

A good plot should aim to grab the reader's attention from the beginning of the book and should contain sufficient tension and cliff-hangers. This is especially true when writing thrillers or crime fiction. When writing engaging fiction the plot should not be predictable but should keep your readers intrigued until the end. However, even if you are writing romance fiction for instance, the plot should not be obvious. It could even include a credible twist.

Your style of narration is another way to write engaging fiction. Third person narrative is popular for good reason. It allows you to follow the thoughts and view the world of all your characters both major and minor. Third person narrative also assists with plot as you can better understand the actions and motivations of the antagonist, for example.

By contrast first person narrative although restricted to your main character has the added advantage of you seeing the story unfold closely through the eyes of your main protagonist. This intimate view of storytelling can add excitement and tension, thus making writing more thrilling.

Finally, the time span of your book or short story can make your work more compelling. Obviously, the shorter the time span, then the more tense your story is going to be, again very useful for thriller writing. However, a longer time span will allow you to include more details thus creating vivid memorable fiction.

© S P Wilson

Sharon Wilson is an aspiring writer who is serious and passionate about the art and craft of creative writing. She has undertaken several courses in this field and has gained extensive knowledge of writing novels and short stories. Sharon has a keen interest in poetry and is an avid reader. Her blog is dedicated to all writers, especially the new writer:

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Creativity: Why Bother? 10 Benefits of Expressing Your Creativity

As a child, you may have yearned to play the piano professionally, to act on Broadway, to write a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Perhaps you mentioned your aspirations to someone and were met with laughter or the assurance that there was no money in it. You swallowed your creative dreams and satisfied yourself with listening to music on the radio, to reading books or watching movies. How often have our creative selves been swept to the sidelines, to being the observer? We internalize the belief that we don’t have what it takes to make it big, and of course we don’t because we have hardly tried.
It's time to go for it. There is no proof that you will get rich, famous, or even produce anything worthwhile. Ignoring this urge to create isn’t making it go away. More and more people are heeding the call from within themselves to act upon their creative urges. We sense that there is something behind this creative urge, that expressing ourselves creatively may be the missing piece to a fulfilled life.
Creative expression, whether through mundane means or through art, is worth the effort. I have seen the difference in my clients’ lives when they are expressing themselves. Here is a list of benefits of expressing creativity that you too, can have. Added up, they can amount to a richer life.

1. Expanded sense of time. Countless artists have discussed the experience of timelessness that one encounters in the creative zone. Time is limitless when you are in the creative ‘zone.’ Strangely enough, when you give time to creative pursuits, you gain time. Who couldn’t use the feeling of more time?

2. Freedom. Creativity invites messiness and exploration. Here’s an opportunity to return to that feeling of being a child, to not know, to not be ‘good’, smart, the expert.

3. Enhanced relationships. Many people fear that if they begin living their creativity, then their relationships and other priorities will suffer. They won’t want to drag themselves away from the creative zone. However, when we are actively creating, we feel better about our relationships. We tend to be more generous to others. We have more to give because we have answered our urge to create.

4. Living integrity. When we are actively working on our projects, we honor our innate creativity. We live the belief that creativity does matter. This feels better than wishing we were writing, or talking about writing, but not doing it.

5. Save money. Expressing yourself can control the urge to impulse buy. Do you ever find yourself shopping just for something to do? Expressing yourself creatively can often fill the need to shop for the heck of it. Save money and do something creative instead of buying something you don’t really need or want.

6. Energetic, lighter quality to life. Call it a good mood. Call it a natural high. When we’ve done our creative work, we gain energy for our other responsibilities.

7. Connection with other creative people. When we are creating, we are connected to all of those who have gone before us and those who work now in the challenging but rewarding field of artistic creativity. What a gift in a world where we feel more and more isolated from each other.

8. Faith and confidence in our impulses. When we create, we recognize that our work does matter even if it is not published, displayed or presented to the public. We trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them. This confidence carries over into decisions we make in other areas of life.

9. Honoring the source of creative ideas. Where does creative inspiration come from? Some think it is God, or other divine source. We honor the gift of creative inspiration when we listen and act on our ideas, and by doing so, we are connecting to a deeper wisdom than our own.

10. Self-knowledge and discovery. Creativity is the route to authenticity. As we create, we plumb the depths of our being, accessing what we think and believe. You may be surprised at the resources, thoughts and impulses that you discover there.

These ten benefits do add up to more fulfillment and balance in life. I invite you to create a plan to match your creative vision. Give yourself the time and space to be a beginner. Write to me and let me know what benefits you have experienced. Have fun!

© Cynthia Morris is the author of Create Your Writer’s Life and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Visit her web site to find out more about a creative life at

Friday, 17 June 2022

Poppy Z. Brite

"If you're a freelance writer and aren't used to being ignored, neglected, and generally given short shrift, you must not have been in the business very long."

"I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible."

"I got to thinking about the point in every freelancer's life where he has to decide whether he wants to A, have a social life, and do art in his spare time, or B, do art, and have a social life in his spare time. It has always seemed to me that if you have any hope of making a living as an artist – writer, musician, whatever – you absolutely must learn to tell people to leave you alone, and to mean it, and to eject them from your life if they don't respect that. This is necessary not because your job is more important than anyone else's – it isn't – but because a great many people will think of you as not having a job. 'Oh, how wonderful – you can work whenever you want to!' Well, yes, to a point, but generally 'whenever you want to' had better be most of the time, or else you won't have a roof over your head."

"Young writers shouldn't be afraid of striving to emulate their favourites. It's a good way to learn, as long as you move on from it and don't publish too many of the results."

"If you find yourself imitating another writer, that doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially if you are a young or a new writer. However, you should be conscious of exactly how you are imitating him - word choice, sentence structure, motifs? - and think about why you're doing it."

Writing Competitions

If you are looking for writing contests, here's four links that list all kinds of writing contests on their website...





Make Time to Write: Overcome Your Excuses

After a full day of work, family and life, you fall into bed exhausted. Mentally ticking off your to-do list, you cycle through shopping lists, phone calls, and appointments, feeling good about what you have gotten done, until you get to the thing you really want to do. You lay there, bathed in regret – why didn’t you get your writing done today? You vow to do it tomorrow. You will make time for your novel or that article you know would sell. You consider angles, write a few lines in your head, and fired up with enthusiasm for your writing, you fall asleep. The next day continues on much like the one before and you live the life of an unfulfilled writer, all because you do not do the simple work of making time to write.
As a coach, I have worked with many writers who claim lack of time as their number one excuse for not writing. But I have discovered that there are a number of other reasons that make it easy to put off our writing. When you do find time to write, these other demons loom up to prevent you from doing the work. I ask my clients questions to help them understand their process. Use the questions below to help you discover what is behind your time excuse. When you take some time before writing to gain clarity on what is true for you, that you are able to accomplish your writing more quickly.
Often “lack of time” is a mask for fears. The work of writing, while satisfying, can be difficult to make time for. We put it off to do the easier things, the things we know how to do. Think about the things you do when you are procrastinating getting to the writing. Do you clean, cook, or exercise? Do you spend your valuable writing time reading or watching TV? The act of writing challenges us to dive into ourselves and come out with something tangible. This kind of work can leave us vulnerable to our fears that we are not good enough, not talented enough, don’t have anything to say and are likely to be rejected.
What is scary for you about writing? Jot down some of your fears. Then look and see how true they really are. Often when we expose our fears on paper, they lose their power over us. Notice when you are resisting and when you truthfully do not have time to write. Be honest with yourself and learn to identify how it feels when you are resisting.
Many creative types struggle with time management. We may have enough time but do not use it in a way that honors our priorities. What are your priorities? If you are not showing up for your writing, maybe it isn’t that important. What else is going on in your life that is more compelling than writing? Take a moment now to jot down where you spend your time. What do you notice about what is important to you?
Once you have a clear picture of where your time goes, how do you feel about it? Does the way you spend your time reflect what is important to you? Work and other obligations seem more fixed and indeed they may be for now, but where else can you make decisions to get writing into your life? What is one thing you could change this week to make more space for writing?
Don’t forget that you have choices. There are a limited number of hours in the day, but often we give away our passion and power by forgetting that we can choose what to do with our time. I can hear you saying, “Well, I have my job, and then I have my family, and kids, and all these other obligations.” Certainly you have other commitments that you need to honor. But your roles become more powerful than you are when you believe you have no choice in the matter.
Often we get stuck in one way of thinking, and that becomes our reality. Try playing with different perspectives. With the help of a perspective shift, you may realize that your writing has a place, too. Perhaps in your mind it has been important, but you haven’t taken that extra step to actually make space for it. Without space, your writing becomes a burden on your back, something you want to do but can’t. You then become a victim of your life, secretly resenting those who get to do what they want. What would life be like if your passions had a place in your schedule? What difference would it make to the people in your life if you staked a claim for your writing?
Reframe the way you think about the writing itself. The art of writing is work, but if you think of it as drudgery and something that requires a lot of you, you are missing out on the rejuvenating aspects of the practice. Whenever you do get a chance to write, take a minute when you are finished and write down three words that describe how you feel after writing. Use these words as a lure to get you to the page when you feel tired or uninspired.
Vague plans can work against you. If you have the intention to sit down and write, but don’t have something specific to work on, it can be easy to shrug off your writing time. Pick a specific starting point and let that pull you into the flow.
When what you are writing isn’t seductive enough, take a look at the project. How can you approach your project in a way that would entice you to make time for it? What is fresh or new about your writing?
Try a tool I use with my clients. Imagine giving up writing, and the idea of writing. If the thought of losing your writing makes you want to grab onto it even tighter, it could be a signal that you need to do what it takes to make writing a priority in your life. I call this ‘taking away the bone.’ Imagine trying to grab the bone from the dog’s mouth. The dog will hang onto that bone for dear life. Are you that committed to your writing that you will do what it takes to make it happen?
Give yourself the space and time to answer these questions about your writing life. Use them to be honest about what holds you back. Then make the effort to dip into your writing when and where you can. Commit to yourself as a writer, get clear about your writing projects, and let it happen. Enjoy the process!

© Cynthia Morris is the author of “Create Your Writer’s Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease”. She coaches writers of all levels to help them achieve their writing dreams. Visit her web site at to find out more about creating your writing life today.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Number One Killer Of Could-Have-Been Success Stories


Everything in this world has its opposite.

Good has bad.
Optimism has pessimism
Positive has negative.
Success has failure.

If fear of failure rears its ugly head now and then as you set up your business, what it’s doing is pausing your progress.

Sure you might spend a day or two thinking, ‘what am I doing!’ but you get over it and continue. But that’s no good.

This ongoing temporary fear of failure keeps on blocking the creative tunnels of your mind. When you feel down in the dumps your mind is closed. It’s not free to grasp the possibilities and within them bring back ideas.

Every time your mind stops to think, ‘What am I doing!’ it also stops you from savoring every moment you spend building your business.

And if this fear of failure sits at the edge of your mind, the only thing it’s doing is waiting to resurface. If you allow it to reach its climax, you can be sure that this fear will stop your progress dead in its tracks.

Look at Success. Now look at Failure.

Do you want to succeed? Or Do you want to fail?

You want to succeed of course, so why focus on failure? Why allow it to occupy your mind, even if it’s now and then?

It’s what you choose to concentrate on which will bring you the end result. Concentrate on success and don’t allow anything to block the feeling of success from occupying the only spot in your mind.

Failure is not an option because it’s not the option we want. It’s not included in our plans. And anything not included in our plans shouldn’t be there occupying our thoughts.

Eliminate the idea that you will fail and install the one that you will succeed. Because that’s what you are going to do.

Install the firm belief that you will make it and keep your purpose in mind. Nothing else matters but IT. You are an internet marketer and you are going to succeed as an internet marketer.

Does anything else matter?

You have to concentrate on eliminating this fear.

It’s not going to happen overnight but if you begin each day thinking of success instead of failure, you will find that as each day passes, you will be thinking of success more until that fear of failure doesn’t occupy your mind anymore.

© Nick Vernon
Source: Article Factory

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Women's Prize for Fiction - Winner 2022

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

After the tragic death of his father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house and sound variously pleasant, angry or sad. Then his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the voices grow more clamorous. So Benny seeks refuge in the silence of a large public library. There he meets a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret; a homeless philosopher-poet; and his very own Book, who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

Blending unforgettable characters with jazz, climate change and our attachment to material possessions, this is classic Ruth Ozeki - bold, humane and heartbreaking.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

Entry to the 2022 competition has now closed.

Planning to announce the longlist on their website in July, the shortlist in August, and the winner in October. 

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