Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Keep your standards up

When I checked my dictionary to see if standardise should be spelled standardise or standardize I found that both versions are acceptable. Either way it means to make something fit in with a standard.  Have you noticed that standardisation often seems to involve bringing everything or everyone down to the lowest common denominator rather than trying to raise them up to the highest possible level?

Standardizes, standerdizing and standardized should all have a z according to my dictionary, although not to the spellchecker on my computer. That's helpful.

A standard is a level of quality, principles of good behaviour or a type of flag or lamp and the way some plants are trained. It can also mean the accepted norm or average.

If you can present a good argument about education, even if you don't do so in standard English, you could yourself £150 in this competition.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Great Unknown

There are two versions of this competition. One's for poetry, the other prose. In both cases the theme is the great unknown and, as far as I can see, publication is the only prize.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Book of the Month

The winner of this monthly competition will have their self published novel reviewed in The Guardian. That's all you get, but I imagine the publicity would boost sales.

Do you read reviews? Or write them?

Would you like these three as your guardian angels?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Playing about.

The winner of this play writing competition will get $10,000, publication of the play and a staged reading. I play about at writing, but I think it'll take more than that to impress the judges.

Saturday, 26 July 2014


A £25 Amazon voucher is on offer for the winner of this sonnet writing competition.

There's no theme but, as tragic love affairs often seem to be used as a subject for poetry, I thought this picture of love-lies-bleeding was appropriate.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Held to account

An account can be a narration or description, arrangement with a bank, assets of that arrangement, method for obtaining goods on credit, financial record keeping, counting or reckoning. If you have to account for something you must give an explanation.

It can refer to a proportion eg romances account for at least half of my stories* or it can mean to kill or dispose of. I haven't ever heard it used in that way - have you? Another use is to consider or regard. Eg he was accounted guilty.

If you are of some account you're considered as important. My husband is of some account to me. I met him when I worked as an accounting assistant and accounted for the money he wanted to spend. There are several ways he gives a good account of himself, but I'll take into account the fact you may not want all the details.

*I've no idea if that's true as I don't account for each genre separately.

Win this competition and you can pay £2500 into your bank account. (I'm sure the judges will take the personal statement into account, so on no account forget to include it)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mish Mash

This regular competition looks like fun. Each quarter three random words are selected for entrants to include in a 500 word story. Shortlisted entries will be published and narrated by actors. The winner also gets $100.

For the competition starting 15th July the words are oxidation, love and alphabet. Don't waste time trying to work out what a towel elephant has to do with any of this* - get writing!

*Although there's a 100 points in it if you can come up with a convincing explanation.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Self publishing awards

If you've self published your novel (as I did with this one) you might be interested in this list of 50 different awards you could try for. The ones I've randomly clicked on seemed to be free, but they might not all be.

Thanks to Liz Brownlee for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Just spoofing

Here's a genre spoof competition. It might be fun but probably only if you pick a genre you don't usually write or you'll be left trying to create murder mysteries with no red herrings and wrongly suspected characters and romances where nothing stops the couple getting together.

This is my Dad's new horse. I'm not spoofing - it really is. What he's going to do with it I couldn't say. His sense of humour is rather odd. (Obviously not a hereditary trait)

Friday, 18 July 2014

I'm versatile ...

... and have an award to prove it! Thanks very much for nominating me, Jan! After thanking the person who nominates me and linking back to them (check) I'm supposed to tell you seven random things about myself and then pass it on to fifteen (!) other victims, er I mean versatile bloggers.

Here goes ... 1) I had quiche for lunch. 2) My toenails are painted silver. 3) After writing this post I'm going to pack for our next adventure in the camper van. 4) We've just been to France and celebrated our wedding anniversary there. 5) Thinking up randomness is harder than I thought it would be. 6) My Kindle has a purple cover. 7) I haven't eaten any cake all week (scones, buns, waffles and meringue don't count, right?)

I'm passing this on to Linda, LindaLizyR.Mac, Keith, Carol, Vikki, Oscar, Marion, Alex, Kitty, Frances, Charlie, Lindsay and last but possibly the most versatile of all, Hilary. Apologies if you've already had it and no pressure to join in if you don't want to.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


An aphorism is a short statement of fact or opinion. They're often catchy and quotable. If you snooze you lose, All for one and one for all, Forgive your enemies but remember their names, Little strokes fell great oaks. Actually oaks feature quite a lot, From little acorns grow mighty oaks, Storms make oaks grow stronger roots, Today's oak is yesterday's nut which held its ground, The only cure for sea sickness is to sit with your back against an oak tree.

Even when aphorisms are opinion and/or wrong they're stated as facts eg Lightning never strikes the same place twice, Posession is nine tenths of the law, All things come to he who waits.

Sometimes they're designed to encourage better behaviour or spur us to action, If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem, Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, Nothing ventured nothing gained. They can also suggest a deeper meaning, All that glitters is not gold, You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink.

Aphorisms often contradict each other, Oil and water don't mix, Opposites attract, You're never to old to learn, You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

One of my favourites is, Keep your powder dry. It's good advice.

If you can make up your owm aphorism, and impress Stephen Fry, you might get your hands on £332. Remember, He who hesitates is lost, You never know 'til you try and You've got to be in it to win it!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Hard at it

I've not done a lot of writing lately. The picture is a clue to my excuse for the last week*, before that my reasons were less convincing!

Oh well, I'm back to it it now. For a start I'm going to send something in for this competition. With a £3,500 first prize and free entry it'd be silly not too.

*More splash than plash, I think?

Friday, 11 July 2014

A quickie

Womagwriter has details of a great comp for unpublished novelists over on her blog. Excuse me for not stopping, but I have a glass of wine and a husband waiting for me in the van.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Making a plash

Plash can mean a pool or puddle, or a splashing sound. It's usually used in reference to water and I feel it suggests something gentle and refreshing. A fountain plashing water into a large basin where wearry tourists stop to rest. A beach being plashed by the tide. The sound of oars plashing into a sunlit river overhung with willows.

It's the kind of sound we'd enjoy hearing on a hot midsummer's day. Maybe even something you could work into this poetry competition? If you'd rather write about a poet than write a poem, you might like this competition with a £500 prize.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Portsmouth Poetry Slam

My friend Dan is the Community Engagement Officer at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and he's running a poetry slam. I thought it only right to find out more.

So you're organising a poetry event, Dan – what, where and when?

Dan: The event is called: HMS - Hear my Story Poetry slam. Where: National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth. When 9th October, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

What exactly is a poetry slam?

Dan: A slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. Participants (single performers or groups) perform their original work and are judged by members of the judging panel. Typically, the host selects the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (between 0 and 10) based on the poet's content and performance. The audience’s job is to keep the mood supportive, energetic and encouraging to all participants

For our poetry slam, people will be able to explore the stories within the HMS –hear my story gallery before they are invited to spend time creating their own pieces. They will then compete in a minimum of 3 rounds where they will perform their poetry before a panel of judges in front of an audience. The entrants will be whittled down to just 2 before they compete against each other with the ultimate winner being chosen by the judges

Slams are usually organised over three rounds. A poet/group may enter the same piece in all three
rounds, but it’s usually better if they write and perform different pieces each time. If you have a
relatively small number of slam participants, you may need only one round to find your winner.
Round one:
· Each participant/group performs for 3 minutes.
· After each performance the judges are asked to hold up their chosen scores so that the
audience can see them. The high and low scores are dropped, and the middle three are
added together, giving the poet a total score of between 3 –30. The top third poets/groups
go through to the next round
Round two:
· The process is repeated in Round two, with the top third going through the final round
Round three:
· Repeat the process again to find your winner.

And why are you running one?

Dan: We are holding a Poetry Slam because it is a fantastic way of making the museum’s collections relevant to different audiences. At the museum we have recently opened the brand new HMS – Hear my story exhibition which tell 1000 stories from 5 generations of people’s personal experiences of serving in the Royal Navy both at home and abroad. The exhibition tells the story of the Royal Navy from 1900 to the present day through the eyes and stories of veterans and people involved in the Royal Navy. A vast range of different community projects have involved lots of different people of wide ranging ages to involve them with the exhibiton itself and also the stories that it aims to tell and share with visitors ranging from inviting local veterans to share their stories in the Veterans area, knitting the Southsea Yarnscape, involving people of different ages and backgrounds in how the exhibition should feel and look like and also holding exciting, engaging and thought provoking events for local people to engage with the museum’s collections.

This is the first time that the museum has held such an event, and the poetry slam format is a very hands on way and interactive appealing way getting people of different ages involved with poetry.

Do you want people to write poems, or just come along and listen?

Dan: Both! – you can write poems as individuals or groups or you can come along and hear the poetry that has been created inspired by the brand new exhibition! If you belong to a group that would like to participate in the event please let me know.
Do we need to book?

Dan: Booking is essential as spaces are limited. Please contact 02392 727595 or email for details.

How much does it cost?

Dan: This is a free event. 

So there's no prize?

Dan: There will be a prize for the winning piece, judged by museum staff.

Is there any theme or anything?

Dan: We are inviting people to create poetry that explore the themes of war, remembrance and reconciliation as these are some of the many themes that occur within the exhibition itself through the stories that it aims to tell and also linking to the many events already being held across the UK for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. People will also be also to gain inspiration from the ‘Racing to War’ temporary exhibition which illustrates the Royal Navy’s role in the build up to the first world war.

Pictures of the exhibition all supplied by Dan Ball.

Patsy: Sounds really interesting, doesn't it? Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I've not been doing it

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again. That means we're half way through the year already! Let's not even think about that.

My current insecurity is that I'm not writing. I haven't given up or anything and I've done some editing and submitted those edited stories, but I haven't written anything new for what seems like a long time (I shan't try to calculate how long in case things are worse than I fear) On a positive note, the garden is looking good, my tan is coming on and I've been to some interesting places and met up with some lovely friends.

I'll probably get back into the writing again soon, won't I?

Talking of me writing into the future and time hurtling in that direction, take a look at this competition. There are good cash prizes on offer.