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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 31 December 2013

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 257: Tuesday 31st December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

257 radiator 622175You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: journey, film, train, rough, winter
  2. Random: an ending
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Tuesday Title: Two Toes

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

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Story Writing Exercises 261: Tuesday 31st December

Here are your four story exercises for today.

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 30 December 2013

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 256: Monday 30th December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

256 plate 64013You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: without, word, soft, image, kilo
  2. Random: broken pipe
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Monologue Monday: Write a first-person poem – talking about someone who cares about them

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

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Story Writing Exercises 260: Monday 30th December

Here are your four story exercises for today.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 30, 2013 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Post-weekend Poetry 103: The Ending by Jim Scott

1 JimWelcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and third poem in this series.

This week’s piece is by Jim Scott and appears in his book 3 which can be accessed at www.wanderingsandsojourns.com.

The Ending

In passions of beginning, accelerating thought,

Our dreams of love were spinning the webs in which were caught

The hopes that should have born us on toward the life that now is gone.

The life that never was, nor could have been.

It died before conception.  Before it witnessed light.

Devoid of love’s affection in solitary night

The quiet words we tried to speak of what it was we’d strive to seek

Were never heard, and tears were never seen.

Our lives were lived in lying.  Hiding what was true.

Consciences denying, everything we knew

Of all the years that lay behind, with scarce a smile that we could find.

With scarce a word that we might try again.

And knowing it was ending we turned upon the past

Exhausted from pretending that we might make it last.

We turned upon the dreams we dreamed with hatred for their lies which seemed

To magnify our anger and our pain.

So now as we’re departing from what our dreams became.

Alone, are we restarting, or merely just the same?

Though traveling now by different ways through different lives, the future stays

A product of the differences we shared.

We’ll walk in two directions, impossible to cross.

We’ll bear our own reflections of compromise and loss.

And given up we can’t look back to where we left the severed track,

Nor where we joined ……….. to see how much we cared………..

……… When passions of beginning, accelerated thought,

When dreams of love were spinning the webs in which were caught

The hopes that should have born us on …….

…….  toward the life that now is gone.

Copyright Jim Scott 1998

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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in poetry, writing

 

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January-deadline writing competitions

competitions 677265Every month, I post the next month’s writing competitions (taken from this blog’s competitions calendar page) and below are those with January deadlines (relevant as at the date of this blog post). Good luck if you enter and let me know how you get on.

  • Children’sFrances Lincoln.
  • Flash FictionFiction DeskIndies Unlimited hosts a weekly 250-word max. prompt competition – see Indies Unlimited. Also see ‘Short stories’ below.
  • Flash Fiction: The Fiction Desk Annual Flash Fiction Competition has a deadline of 31 January. The first prize is £200, with four runner-up prizes of £25. Stories 250 to 1,000 words. The entry fee is £3 for one story, or £7.50 for three stories submitted together. Full details and online entry forms can be found at http://www.thefictiondesk.com/submissions/flash-fiction-competition.php.
  • Flash Fiction: Writer Austin Briggs runs a monthly 55-word competition (different theme each month). It’s free to enter and you can win $55 (of his own money!).
  • Flash Fiction: Each week on theironwriter.com, four writers agree to compose a five hundred word story involving the same four elements. Please remember to give your story a title. The stories can be in any genre except erotica. The writers will not know what the four elements are prior to committing to the challenge. There is a four-day time limit to complete the story. I email the elements early Thursday morning, my time. The story is due at midnight, Sunday, your time. Each author retains full and complete copyright of their story submitted to The Iron Writer for this competition. However, it is understood each story will remain on this website indefinitely. The Iron Writer will not publish any submission outside this website without express permission from the author. So, if you are up to the challenge, please email me at HERE and we can schedule when you are willing to participate. Please include your main blog or website. I will link your story to your site. You may participate as often as you want.
  • Flash Fiction: Each month the Scottish Book Trust provides a prompt to get you started, but where the <50-word story goes from there is entirely up to you. Their favourite story will be published on their page and the writer will receive a lovely Novel Poster from The Literary Gift Company. You can submit your story in the body of an email or as an attachment and remember to include your full name with your entry. They also welcome entries in Gaelic or Scots.
  • Mixed: Christian magazine Pockets has a different theme per month.
  • Mixed: The Pen Cove Award (formerly the Whidbey Writing Competition). This contest from Whidbey Writers Workshop in the USA is open worldwide and is for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and writing for children or young adults. Up to 1,000 words. I’m told they have a rather strange way of selecting a winner for this one. The judge reads submissions until he or she finds one that ‘knocks his/her socks off’. Never mind that the next one might have divested the judge of his/her pants and woolly vest, the remaining entries are tossed aside without so much as a glance.  However, you can submit you entry again if it isn’t selected (try to get it in early, as entries are read in order of submission).
 Closing: Monthly.
 Prize: $50.
 Entry Fee: Free to enter.
 Comp Page: whidbeystudents.com/student-choice-contest.
  • Mixed (novels & short story collections): iWriteReadRate and Cornerstones Literary Consultancy (voteformyebook.com) are offering a monthly social competition to members of the community – see ‘Monthly’ towards the end of this page.
  • Mixed: Bronte Society Creative Competition invites you to write a poem, short story or illustrate a scene from a Brontë novel. Judges Margaret Drabble, Simon Armitage, Victoria Brookland. 3 x £500 first prizes, deadline 31 January. See bronte.org.uk/bronte-society/creative-competition.
  • Non-fiction: Nature writing essays welcomed for the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. The deadline is early January.
  • NovelLightship First Novel Prize: Have you written a literary or genre novel? Enter the beginning of it into Lightship’s First Novel Prize for a chance to win a publishing contract with Alma Books 1st prize £1,000 closing date 31st January 2014
  • NovelsNovel Rocket runs an annual Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile. Entries will be accepted in all genres beginning mid-January. The deadline for submission is different for genre categories according to the following schedule. In each case, entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on the 10th day of the month (April to September) listed on novelrocket.com/p/launch-pad-contest.html. They also post a new writing-related article seven days a week, from author interviews to marketing discussions to articles about the craft of writing.
  • Novels: Other novel competitions closing in January include booklinethinker.com/hookline.
  • PlaysBruntwood (OPENS 31st January).
  • Poetry: Kent & Sussex Poetry Society Open Poetry Competition has a First Prize: £1000, 2nd: £300,  3rd: £100,  4th: 4 x £50. Entry fee: £5 per poem. 3 or more poems: £4 each. Closing date: 31st January. Entries to: The Competition Organiser, 26 Courtlands, Teston, Maidstone, Kent, ME18 5AS. Put name and address on separate sheet – not on poem or enter online and pay by Paypal. For more details, go to: kentandsussexpoetry.com.
  • Poetry: other poetry competitions include Haiku CalendarHippocratesLeaf PressStrokestownWriting / Writers’ News magazines (monthly), haikusoc.ndo.co.ukslipstream-poets.co.ukbevlit.org.
  • Poetry: The Writers’ Forum Poetry Competition is a monthly contest for poems of up to 40 lines. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: 1st – £100. Runners-up – A Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Entry Fee: £5 each, £3 each thereafter. Includes a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page: writers-forum.com/poetrycomp.html.
  • Screenwriting: Canada-based Wildsound run monthly screenwriting competitions.
  • Short storiesHome-Start Bridgwater Short Story Prize has a January deadline and this year’s judge is Dame Margaret Drabble.
  • Short stories: The Writers’ Forum Short Story Competition is a monthly no-theme contest for stories between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Closing: Monthly. Entries arriving too late (after the 15th) for one month go forward to the next. Prizes: £350, £150, £100 and publication in Writers’ Forum magazine (and possible anthology). Entry Fee: £3 per story for subscribers, £6 each non-subscribers. £5 extra for a critique (sae required if entering by post). Comp Page: http://writers-forum.com/storycomp.html.
  • Short storiesHayley Sherman runs a monthly short story competition for submissions on any subject up to 2,000 words. The winners are published on the website, promoted online and receive a £10 First Writer voucher. All entrants are also considered for publication in The New Short Story Annual at the end of the year. Deadline 25th of the month. Heather Marie Schuldt runs a similar contest, although 500-750 words max., but with the same deadline.
  • Short stories: The Bath Short Story Award opened October for entries – see ‘March’.
  • Short storiesWriter Selection has a 31st January deadline and 200-2000 word count. Prizes £150, £50, £25. Entry is free and all entrants receive a year’s membership (normally £10).
  • Short stories: The James White Award seeks science fiction stories from non-professional authors. Writers have the opportunity to win cash and publication in a leading UK sci-fi magazine. Open to non-professional authors only (see the website for what classifies a professional author). Stories up to 6,000 words. For science fiction stories. Broad interpretations of the genre are welcome. One entry per author. No fan fiction. International writers welcome. Original and unpublished works only. Stories cannot have been previously entered into the James White Award in any other year. Deadline: 31st JanuaryFree entry. Prize: £200 and publication in Interzone, the UK’s leading science fiction magazine. See http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/rules for details.
  • Short stories: Other competitions include Bury St EdmundsChudleighFiction DeskGlimmer Train (different category each month), Home-Start BridgewaterMslexiaNational Galleries ScotlandNottingham Writers’ ClubWriting / Writers’ News magazines (monthly), flair4words.co.uk/news.

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Related articles (tips on entering writing competitions)

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options (including author spotlights, interview, poetry, flash fiction, short story reviews etc.) listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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