Daily Archives: June 27, 2011

Today’s sentence starts

Here are today’s beginnings to do with as you wish:

1527. It seems to me as if… (first person)

1528. You know you’ll be banned… (second person)

1529. Eric had got away with it so far… (third person)

1530. Typing carefully on the keyboard… (you can use any pov)

1531. It drives me mad when… (first person)

1532. You tug and tug…  (second person)

1533. OK, so Geoff had lied on CV…  (third person)

1534. The light flicked on, then off… (you can use any pov)

1535. I flick through the paper… (first person)

1536. You smile as the icon appears… (second person)

1537. Lindsey hoped he was a ‘lights off’ man… (third person)

1538. The material was frayed at the edges… (you can use any pov)

Each set contains for different points of view so if you are weaker at one than the others, you may like to try these first. One of my favourites is the second-person point of view which is rarely used and not particularly commercially welcomed. It’s where the narrator is talking to the reader (you) rather than talking about him / herself and I’d recommend anyone who’s not tried it before to do so. It may take a bit of getting used to but hopefully it’ll grow on you as much as it did me. 🙂 You can read more starts here.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in ideas, sentencestarts, Twitter, writing


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Latest Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode: no.34 (inc sci-fi/fantasy/horror)

Episode 34 (length 17m 06s) is now available (via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer!) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe)).

I started the podcast by detailing some more sci-fi / fantasy / horror websites and info. (listed on this blog at, where you can also see some related publications/websites at and competitions and submission opportunities

I then provided a couple of writing suggestions before list seven sentence starts picked from my page; each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project: rewrite a historical story (or other genre) that you’ve written or that you know well (or perhaps a film you’ve seen) as a sci-fi, horror or fantasy story; and/or try really limiting yourself and write a self-contained 60- or 100- word sci-fi, horror or fantasy story and then turn it into another genre and/or beefing (not padding) it up into a longer piece. I then gave some genre-related quotes, ‘On this day in history’, ‘news and feedback’ (my blog interviews – see

The last item of each weekly podcast is a piece of fiction – either flash or poetry and this episode’s was a piece of flash fiction I wrote as a 10-minute exercise some months back using the one-word prompt of ‘hedge’. It’s more of a children’s story but fits with this episode’s genre. I look forward to bringing you the next episode, which will be my interview with British crime novelist Adrian Magson ( – which will be released as special episode 28.


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World Book Night 2012 – Tell us your favourite books

Overnight I received an email from (thanks Jane), with the following info.:

World Book Night 2011 is now a slightly distant memory but we’re enjoying watching the progress of the books registered on Book Crossing and hearing stories of the many different ways in which books and reading were celebrated as a result of World Book Night. We’re writing to everyone who’s registered with us – those who applied to be givers both successfully and unsuccessfully and those who’ve subsquently registered with the site – so that we can tell you a little more about next year and invite you to participate in our search to find the nation’s favourite books and ultimately help in choosing next year’s World Book Night titles. If you were a giver you’ll also be hearing from us again shortly to ask you to participate in a little research to find out more about your experiences, but if there’s something you want to tell us straight away you can always email

Nation’s Favourite Books
For World Book Night 2012 we want to find out about the nation’s favourite books. We’re compiling the top 10s of thousands of readers to see what books people love to read, share and give and in September the lists will be compiled into a top 100 which will inform the choice of next year’s World Book Night titles.  So tell us your favourite book and give it a chance to be shared with thousands on World Book Night next year.

How do I submit my favourite books?
1. Go to
2. Sign in or register as a user
3. Go to ‘My Favourite Books’ and type the titles and/or authors of your favourite books into the search box
4. Drag and drop to change the order of your favourites from 1 to 10. You can add more (or less) than 10 books but each book you add will replace the book at no. 10
5. You can change your list as many times as you like. We’ll be basing the final top 100 on everyone’s favourites at midnight on August 31.
6. Tell everyone you know – we want to collect as many lists as possible.

The date for World Book Night 2012 has moved to April 23rd – UNESCO’s appointed international day of the book – but not much else has changed. We’ll still be looking for 20,000 people to give away one of 25 specially chosen titles. The only difference this year is that givers will have a slightly more manageable 24 books to give away rather than 48 but we’ll be giving more away directly into prisons, hospitals, workplaces and through various partner organisations. We’re spending the summer compiling as many top 10s as possible and then in September will release a list of the top 100 (in alphabetical order). That will then inform the choice of the editorial committee (though we’re giving them a little freedom to add something they really feel should be included that hasn’t made the top 100) and the final list of 25 books will be released in mid-October. we’ve made a few changes to how the website works, you can now log in and connect via your Facebook profile, enter your top 10 and display it in your profile and you can see a constantly updating top 100 as more and more people add their favourite books. We’ve also added a blog and our intention is to use this quite simply to share our thoughts – on favourite books, on reading, on libraries, bookshops, new releases, prizes, trends, events and anything else that takes our fancy and we think might interest you.

Independent Booksellers’ Week, National Reading Group Day and We Love This Book
Not only is this week Independent Booksellers’ Week, tomorrow is also the inaugural National Reading Group Day and the launch of a great new quarterly magazine simply entitled We Love This Book. So visit your local bookshop (where you should be able to pick up a free copy of WLTB), sign your reading group up at and with the weather finally set fair sit back and enjoy a really great back.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in novels, recommendations, writing


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Some more sci-fi / fantasy / horror websites and info.


  • is a free online ‘Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy’ course: The course is “for aspiring young writers of all ages. It began as an interactive TV show, broadcast via satellite into middle school classrooms as part of a publicly funded distance-learning network called MCET (Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications).” The quick launch ‘getting started’ set of 4 pages literally tells you how to write a story from scratch and is split into ‘what you need’, ‘story elements’, ‘you must work it out’ and ‘once you’ve finished’. Probably the most useful page is the ‘course outline’ as you can click to any section of the course. It’s split into ‘quick launch’, ‘on writing science fiction and fantasy’, ‘deeper dimensions of sf/fantasy/storytelling’, ‘getting from idea to story’, ‘world building’, ‘creating human characteristics’, ‘creating human characters’, ‘aliens and other creatures’, ‘conflict and plot’, ‘language and style’, ‘seven deadly perils of style’, ‘research and believability’, ‘finishing’, ‘rewriting’, ‘writing workshop’, ‘getting published: trial by fire’, ‘resources for writers’, ‘recommended s/f and fantasy reading’ and finally ‘about this course’ (the introduction I listed above).
  • is the official site of SF writer Philip K (Kindred) Dick. It contains a biography, details of his novels and stories, essays and other works, films, media-related articles, and fan site/forum. Wikipedia’s makes interesting reading.
  • has a great list of writing resources including writer’s workshop, pitfalls of writing sf/fantasy and much more.
  • is Wikipedia’s page on Ray Bradbury and lists his ‘Farenheit 451’ which is on my (rather large) book pile to read.
  • is “the online magazine for sci-fi writers”. You can look at articles, market listings, their bookstore, other links and subscribe to their free newsletter.
  • I would say that ‘’ would be the perfect website for writers of that genre but it doesn’t exist. May you could buy it? 🙂
  • Should you know a thing or two about the military then could be the site for you. The front page has tips on writing the genre and even to me, who doesn’t write or read it, it makes interesting reading.
  • is another fascinating read. The first paragraph reads “Isaac Asimov awoke each morning 6 AM and worked well into the night, sometimes churning out entire books in a matter of days. Kingsley Amis’ writing binges were fueled by nicotine, alcohol, and numerous cups of tea, while surrealist Haruki Murakami claims to work himself into a routine-induced trance. Take a gander at how some of science fiction’s most famous writers have organized their days and kept their creative juices flowing.”.


  • “every month we will feature tips on writing horror fiction, articles on improving your horror writing craft, how to write a horror novel, getting your horror published, promoting and marketing your fiction and much more”.
  • is a page of horror writing tips under headings of ‘guts and gore sell…but not always’, ‘characters have to be relatable’ and ‘story lines must be fresh’.
  • is the writing tips page of the Horror Writers Association. At the bottom of the home page is a list of 38 writing-related sites.
  • is an article by horror writer Andy Kirby on writing this genre. The Essential Writers website is “for all kinds of writers, by all kinds of writers” so do take a look around it. The home page has a variety of articles including one by poet/prose writer Noel Williams on “the importance of continually striving to improve your writing, to bypass the mediocre and attain the exceptional”.
  • is an interesting article entitled ‘Sexism in horror novels: the real monsters aren’t the ones you think – The row raging over sexism in the British Fantasy Society’s new horror anthology is only part of the story’.
  • Every year there’s a and next year (2012) will be held in Salt Lake City, USA.

MIXED GENRE WEBSITES (in alphabetical order)

  • is “a collaborative project designed to present readers with a new piece of short speculative ‘flash’ fiction each day. Using the broad palette of science fiction, our vision of the future creates a diverse pool of stories with something for everyone to enjoy”.
  • is “an international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Anyone excited about that project is welcome to join us. If you would like more info., email or check our resources pages.”
  • is the website of The British Science Fiction Association (BSFA). You can sign up to a free newsletter via the website, check out events via the calendar, join the association or the forum.
  • is the website for ‘The Arthur C Clarke Award’ “the official site of the UK’s Premier Prize for Science Fiction Literature.
  • explains the requirements for this US small press which publishes a horror magazine (1,000-7,000 word short stories), anthologies and novels.
  • If you’re at all interested in writing science fiction, take a look at It lists hundreds of sci-fi conventions and might inspire you. A similar site is
  • is the website of quirky sci-fi writer Mary Jane (MJ) Engh.
  • lists the awards presented by the Californian-based Mythopoeic Society. Who? I hear you ask… “The Mythopoeic Society is a non-profit organization promoting the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantastic and mythic literature through books and periodicals, annual conferences, discussion groups, awards, and more. We are especially interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, prominent members of the informal Oxford literary circle known as the ‘Inklings’ (1930s-1950s).” So, now you know. 🙂 You can read more about the ‘Inklings’ on
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in novels, recommendations, tips, writing


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A few sci-fi / fantasy / horror competitions and submission opportunities

Do familiarise yourselves with the sites before submitting so you get a feel for what they’re looking for. Also don’t part with any money if you’re not comfortable of their legitimacy; I try my best to bring you genuine opportunities but unless I enter them myself (which I’m rubbish at doing) then can’t promise and details do change so do check them just before you submit.

  • is the website for the Aeon Award. The deadline is November each year but there are three rounds of submissions (31st March, 30th June and 30th September) with winners from each round being shortlisted towards the main award. Entries can be any length up to 8,000 words and sent to Aeon Award, 8 Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin 1,Republic of Ireland or e-mailed to Each entry costs €7 (c. £5). Full terms and conditions on their website. The Writers’ News (back in Nov 08) added that the Albedo One Magazine is always open to submissions of “thoughtful, character driven fiction” and pays €3 (c. £2) per 1,000 words for stories of c. 2-6,000 words. Submissions, pasted into the body of the e-mail (no attachments) are preferred or you can get further details from Albedo One, 2 Post Road, Lusk, Co Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Website:
  • is “the premier science fiction podcast magazine. Every week we bring you short stories from some of today’s best science fiction stories, in convenient audio format for your computer or MP3 player. We pay our authors, but we will always be 100% free.” (they rely on donations and sponsorship). Their submission guidelines are on although currently closed til 1st October for flash fiction so gives you time to prepare. 🙂
  • is Farrago’s Wainscot is a quarterly journal of the literary weird in fiction, poetry, and experimental wordforms. Unfortunately they no longer take submissions but this may change in the future so do keep looking from time to time (plus it’s an interesting site).
  • Started in is “The Leading Edge is a semi-professional speculative fiction magazine produced at Brigham Young University, (Utah, USA). Our current issue is Issue #55 and can be purchased via mail by following the directions on the Ordering page” You can also submit – <10,000 words preferred and payment is 1 cent per word ($10 min) + 2 mag copies. They also accept sci-fi/fantasy poetry Payment is $10 for the first 4 pages, $1.50 for each subsequent page of published poetry. Two contributor copies are also provided. They also buy illustrations.
  • According to Writers’ News, Virgin Books are revitalising the UK horror market. Submissions are welcome in the form of a covering letter, outline and three samples chapters. Send to Adam Nevill, Editor, Fiction (Virgin Horror), Virgin Books, Thames Wharf Studios, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA. Details on Virgin’s UK website is split into non-fiction, fiction, sport, biography, business, lifestyle and humour, and is worth looking at just for the little figure who changes characteristics on each main page (on the fiction page it’s currently wearing a red Friday the 13th Jason mask and lunging like a zombie…it’s hilarious!). Wikipedia has an interesting biography on Virgin books ( which is 90% owned by Random Books and 10% by Richard Branson’s Virgin Enterprises group.
  • The Writers’ News also details Clarksworld Magazine, a monthly online sci-fi/fantasy/horror mag. Each issue (currently no. 57) contains work from established authors and at least two pieces of original fiction, and annually printed in an anthology entitled ‘Realms’. Word count is 1,000-4,000 max. Payment is $0.10 per word – see website ( for other terms. Response time c. 50 days. E-mail enquiries/submissions to either within the body of the e-mail or as an .rtf file attachment. Include cover letter with contact details, publishing history and relevant personal info.

Good luck and do let me know how you get on.

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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in competitions, submissions, writing


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