Friday, 16 November 2018

Worth a try?

On The Premises are running another of their mini contests. You're asked to submit between 30 and 50 words, one of which must be 'zebra'. There are cash prizes. (I got an honourable mention in the last one and Alyson Hilbourne, who often supplies competition links for this blog, came third!)

There aren't any zebras around here – even the crossing down the High Street is devoid of zebras, so I've used my incredible Photoshop skills, combined with my awesome artistic abilities, to create one. (If this picture paints a thousand words, 978 of them are incorrectly spelled, and the punctuation is decidely dodgy.)

Do you ever think that these competitions which cost nothing to enter, are very easy to submit to, and offer money as a reward to the winners, sound somehow too good to be true? That there must be some kind of catch? Sometimes there is – the most common being 'rights grabs' or a hard sell on books containing the winning entries. (With paid for competitions there's a very small risk that the entry fee will be accepted, but no prizes ever awarded.)

Although I'll warn of any potential issues I'm aware of, I simply don't have time to fully research every competition I mention here, so do read all the terms and conditions thoroughly and only enter if you're happy with them. You might also like to carry out an internet search to confirm previous winners really exist, or that no issues have been reported.

I'm naturally a little on the cynical side and probably would have been more wary of these free competitions, had I not won the first time I was persuaded to enter one (in 2002). Since then I've tried lots more and sometimes won cash and other nice things. I've never encountered a problem as a result – the closest I've come to that is ending up on a mailing list, but these days it's easy to take yourself off those.



Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Perchance

Perchance is another one of those words my dictionary claims poets are allowed to use whenever they like, but the rest of us should limit to historical works.

It means perhaps, maybe, by chance, or by any chance. For example, 'would you care to buy my book, perchance?'

Hmm, perchance my dictionary is right – it does sound very dated, doesn't it?

Monday, 12 November 2018

There once was a woman who lay on a rock

I have good news about this competition – The first prize is $1,000, you have until April 1st to enter and as usual with the competitions I mention here, there is no entry fee.

The downside is that they want poetry. Funny poetry. Maybe you'll see that as another plus point, but I'm going to sit this one out. Oh, that's no good – I could sit at my desk and attempt to write poetry couldn't I? I'll go for a quiet lie down instead.


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Schedule



This post has been scheduled as I'll be at sea when it's due to go out and won't be able to do it then. I do a lot of travelling, so it's not that uncommon for me to be without wi-fi access. Even so, I do sometimes feel a little insecure if I can't easily contact other people. Maybe that's the writer's need to communicate?



I'm sure writers are very familiar with schedules. When we make a list of things we intend to do, we're scheduling our time, we might schedule social media posts to promote a book, and the publications we write for may have a payment schedule.

Other meanings of schedule include making an inventory or table of contents, or including something, for example a rare bird, for preservation or protection and anything which runs to a published timetable. For example this ferry was exactly to schedule.



It's appropriate that my need to schedule this post is connected with an insecurity as this is the first Wednesday of the month and therefore an Insecure Writer'sSupport Group post.


Does being disconnected from the World Wide Web make you feel insecure?

Do you pronounce the first syllable of schedule as shed, or sked?

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Friday, 2 November 2018

Sound good?

Soundworks are running another of their short story competitions. Entries of up to 2,500 words should be submitted by 28th February. Previously published work is eligible. The prize is to have your story read by a professional actor, recorded and placed on the site for all to read for free.

It's weird hearing your work read by someone else. Has that ever happened to you, and if so did you enjoy the experience?

One of my fabourite sounds is the sea breaking on the shore. What do you like listening to?

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Tassel

A tassel is generally a tuft of wool, or other thread used as a decoration on cushions, scarves etc. Some plant heads or flowers are also refered to as tassels, if their stamens or other parts appear tassel like. Young sweetcorn cobs are an example.

A tassel can also refer to a piece of wood or stone supporting a joist or beam.

Jackie Sayle indulged in a spot of tasselling when she created my druid initiate*, as she tasselled yarn for the hair. She makes lots of brilliant knitted characters which she sells to raise money for a charity which helps people with cancer.

*originally a gnome, but she and her friends are converting.
Happy hallowe'en!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Whatever you like,

There's no theme for the current Writers' and Artists' Yearbook competition. Stories do have to be no more than 2,000 words, original and unpublished, but other than that you can do what you like. Entry is open to everyone and you have until mid February to come up with something. The prize is an Arvon course.

If you don't win, but fancy going on a residential writing course, you might like to consider this one.





I don't know about you, but I find the idea of writing about anything often leaves me thinking of nothing at all. I much prefer to have a theme, prompt or some kind of guidelines. If you're the same, then how about trying to combine the things in these photographs into a single story?


Friday, 26 October 2018

Lost and found




You only have until 2nd November to enter this competition from On The Premises (click 'more' to see the details) but they only want 50 words, so I reckon you can do it.

The theme is 'lost and found' and there's a $25 prize for first place, then $15 and $10.




When we were on the Island of Mull earlier this year, we found a camera card with photos of sunsets, taken over a year previously, on it. We posted details on social media hoping to trace the owner, but no luck. (These are my pictures, not from that card.)


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Vegetably



Today's word of the week was suggested by Carolyn Henderson, after I used it in reply to a question she asked on Facebook – What does pumpkin taste like? My response was 'faintly vegetably'. That's about right, isn't it?








Vegetably means, of or relating to plants, reminiscent of vegetables, or with vegetative properties. I wonder what they are? That bit made me think of a caped swede (as opposed to Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd who is sometimes a caped Swede and who I don't think of as often as you might imagine).










The word can also mean containing vegetables. Eg the beef pie was very vegetably, or with respect to vegetables.













My most recent book cover is rather vegetably, and the vegetables are pumpkins, so that all ties in very neatly and gives me an excuse to mention that Slightly Spooky Stories II is available now as a paperback or ebook and free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited.