Markets For Writers


Many of you will be familiar with the writers’ bible that is The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. For those of you who aren’t, buy a copy!! It’s full of listings including book publishers and magazines. It’s also packed full of information on all aspects of writing. Most bookshops sell the yearbook but if not, you’ll certainly be able to buy it from on-line bookstores.

Every year they hold a short story competition.  There’s usually a theme and for the 2015 competition (closing on February 15th 2015) the theme is ‘Joy’.

The word limit is 2000 words and if you win, you’ll receive a cash prize of £500, plus a place on an Arvon residential writing course of your choice, as well as publication of your story on

Entries can be e-mailed to with “WAYB15 competition” as the subject line.

The entry is open to overseas writers.

To find out the conditions of entry, visit the website:


Monday Motivations/Fabulous First Few Words Part Five

Monday Motivations/Fabulous First Few Words Part Five

The fifth installment in my series of how to open a short story and hook your reader focuses on addressing your reader directly, which compels him to feel part of your story. In a monologue, the main character often does this, as if he/she is confiding in the reader and sharing his/her story e.g.:

  • Just one more, that’s all I was going to take. You know that, don’t you? You understand. Well, they didn’t. And they wouldn’t listen. Looked at me like I was dirt.
  • I hate that old cow, Mrs Vickers. Lives at the end of the street. You’d hate her, too. I expect you’ve got one just like her at the end of your street – one that sticks her nose in everyone’s business. Still, she got her comeuppance last week, let me tell you.

In the opening to these two monologues, see how you feel as if the characters are appealing to you personally and how involved you already feel in their tales.

Another way of addressing the reader is to ask a question e.g.:

  • Why would they do that to him? George shook his head. Well, he’d show them. He wasn’t going to stand for it.
  • How many times did he have to tell her? No, he hadn’t seen Darren that night and no, he hadn’t killed him.

With a question, the reader feels he’s being asked directly and so has a need to find out the answer from the story.

Top Tip Of The Week


Tiptastic Tips!

Readers’ tips are big business these days. More and more magazines are publishing them. Add to that the fact that for only a few words and a photo, you can earn up to £60 and readers’ tips are certainly not to be ignored.

A lot of the tips pages feature tips with or without a photo. For magazines which use photos, always send a photo if you can. It will catch the editor’s eye and make it stand out above those without. Ensure your photo is clear. A grainy shot of something resembling the text won’t be used.

The vast majority of tips published feature every day, simple ideas, which anyone can do e.g. one reader painted an old breadboard and turned it into a colourful house sign.

Whatever your tip, keep it short. A side of A4 paper explaining how to put your tip into action will be binned. Tips can be as short as 10 words long. Though, you won’t find many tips of more than 60 words published.

Your tip must be easy to follow. Anyone reading it has to be able to recreate it without difficulty. If you make your tip too complicated, the editor won’t use it.

Have a great weekend and here’s my Friday Funny to finish with:


My Weekly Writing Challenge


Last week I set you the challenge of writing a story or poem on the themes of ‘Party‘, ‘Quirky‘ and ‘Race‘. I have to admit I wondered what on earth you would come up with. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s fantastic how each person can take a theme and come up with completely different ideas. I love it! Read the results below.

Naturally, we’re now moving on to S, T and U. So your themes are ‘Spy‘, ‘Trapped‘ and ‘Uppity‘. Well, it wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy, would it?! If you’re in need of a helping hand or some motivation, click on the following link for my blog post on ideas for these themes:

Here are the results of last week’s challenge:

Keith Channing wrote a very entertaining topical story. If Scotland had voted the other way, could this have been a reality? Could it still??!!:

“Do you reckon we can still do it, Don?”

“We’ve come this far, Jim; don’t start having doubts now. Go and give him hell.”

They had, indeed, come a long way. When the campaign started, five short weeks earlier, the pollsters had initially written them off as no-hopers. How things had changed. Who would have expected that from the first straw polls, when support for them was at a mere 3%, they would have risen to second place, and be knocking at the door of the Tories.

Starved of support from the now-independant Scotland, Labour was on a downward slide, the like of which hadn’t been seen since John Major’s famous rout decades earlier. The revived Conservative Party, with Boris at the helm, has been holding on to their lead throughout, but were clearly concerned by the advances being made by HRE, Home Rule for England.

Close to the election date, Boris and Jim were face-to-face, debating in front of the television cameras.

“Do you have any idea, Boris, how much resentment there is around the country, and not only amongst HRE supporters, at the concessions you offered to the Scots in your desperate attempts to prevent the secession?” Jim asked, “and do you have any concept of the level of public disgust at the way you and your coalition partners have kowtowed to the Scots since their vote, giving them everything they have asked for, then asking them if they’d like more?”

“Now… now… now, Jim. Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a little?”

“Not at all, Boris. You’ve given them a currency union; something all the parties said they would never do-”

“We had some very good, solid reasons for doing that-”

“But you then gave them a seat on the MPC”

“So they could have some input on interest rates”

“So, Boris, you are happy that a foreign country has the ability to determine UK interest rates.”

“Hardly a foreign country, Jim.”

The audience, an equal mix of invitees of the Conservatives and of HRE, with more than a smattering of representatives of the press corps, clearly took umbrage at that last remark. The level of heckling from both sides, and shouted questions from sections of the press was enough to halt the debate.

The following morning’s newspapers were unanimous in awarding the debate to Jim and HRE, and all the polls gave HRE an overall lead of between seven and thirteen percent.

The future starts here.

Jason Moody tried his hand at poetry for the first time ever last week. I think he’s got a talent for it as the following poem shows:

Is a pigment, yes, a colour
The way that we define a soul
Be it white, brown or other
Why must we pigeon hole?

Two eyes, two ears, a hooter
Arms and legs and more
Be it English, Russian, Eskimo
Perhaps you’re rich? Or poor.

Is a person lesser?
If he or she has different hue
Do they deserve your hateful words
Unfound, unjust, untrue

Is a pigment, yes, a colour
The way to define a soul
Refrain from skin tone prejudice
See the person as a whole.

Jasdeep Kaur starts off her story with her usual intensity. You’ll love the ending!:

Unprecedented Blast

I was sipping on my favourite cappuccino, when David, the birthday boy, came scampering.

“Friends, stay where you are,” he announced loudly, “I’ve got information of a bomb in this hall.”

“Bomb!” everyone gasped and started moving towards the door.

David shouted, “I asked you not to move. The bomb could be anywhere.”

We looked back. He was sweating. His fearful face sent jitters to my stomach.

He said, “The detonation squad will be here soon. Till then, friends, please try to keep calm.”

The callous room was quieted. The only things we could hear were the clock ticks and our heart beats.

The door flung open. Two men, in uniform and helmets, darted in. As soon as the door slammed back, a shrill beep was heard. The clock ticks were suppressed with louder ticks. They were coming from the table where the cake was.

“The bomb has been activated,” one of them said, “ask William to stay outside. We must not open the door again, or the bomb may blow.”

The second man signalled the third man with his finger movements. Then he walked with sloppy steps towards the first one.

Both fiddled with the wires. After a pause, the second one asked his comrade, “Can we do it without William?”

The first one said, “We have no other option.”

There were worried voices all over the room.

The first man severed a wire. The bomb started ticking faster.

His comrade screamed at him, “You have cut the wrong wire. You should have asked me.”

“I know what to do,” came the reply.

The comrade said, “Don’t deem yourself as William.”

I could not see their traumatizing clash at this moment and said, “Please leave your ego and think of saving us.”

There was no response from them.

I rushed towards the door to call William. The men shouted in chorus, “Don’t do it. The bomb will explode.”

When I looked at them, they were cutting another wire.

I froze.

A bullet came out and hit the ceiling triggering the blast. I felt no pain, but the hall was full of small bits.

The door behind me opened shoving me ahead. William was in. The three men removed their helmets and along with David they said, “Happy Fool’s Day!”

“Guys, I am sorry, but it was my fate to be born on April 1st,“ David said laughing, “and from now on, I think, you’ll not call me the biggest fool.”

We, still flabbergasted, could not come out of the shock, but when we did, David got the hardest birthday bumps ever.

Markets For Writers


If you’re looking for a way to earn some cash with a quick filler, take a look at ‘Love It!’ magazine. It’s a woman’s weekly packed full of real life true stories and filler slots. If you click on the website: and the title ‘My Love it’ you’ll see several opportunities. The first one that comes up is to send the magazine your true story. If you look through the website, you’ll see the type of personal story they’re looking for – it can be anything from fighting an illness, to a special wedding. They do pay well for true stories.

If you’d rather not share your story, they have a letters page and some photo slots they pay for. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see an invitation to enter the ‘Cute Wars’ competition. They’re looking for cute photos of animals and babies. The winner of the cutest photo wins £100.

You can send stories, letters and photos via the website.