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First novel and just entered a couple of short story competitions!
3

Chocoqueen · 24/04/2020 19:26

Hi all, complete newbie here.

I've wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember, and finally decided to start working on my novel last week. Although I have a great idea for a novel it's going to require a fair bit of research, so I thought in the interim I'd look at some short story competitions to have some practice. I entered a couple today but obviously not getting my hopes up on the first go (they're quite small ones with free entry and small prizes). This is the first time I've ever dared put myself out there so let's see where it goes.

Any tips for someone just starting out?

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Longlockdown · 30/04/2020 09:30

Well done!
Yes - enter lots and keep a list of them. Aim to hear back from around one in ten of them, and anything extra will be a bonus.
Buy 'Writing' magazine, it has lists of comps and ideas / advice.
Look for a writing group local to you, they're generally for people of all abilities.
Join twitter, surf and try out reading people via the hashtag #amwriting #shortstories #fiction and anything else you can think of!
Follow Faber Academy, Curtis Brown Creative etc as the big guns who run comps.
Follow small presses (there's lots online) to find things you like.
Happy writing!

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ohhsuchanamateur · 07/05/2020 10:14

Following as I'm more or less in the same boat, OP. Well done!

I read some advice somewhere it's better to submit stories to literary magazines etc than competitions, but I'm struggling to get my head around that one. At least with a competition there's a deadline. Submission Grinder was another bit of advice I picked up. Maybe check it out.

Good luck!

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IAmReportingYouForBBQing · 07/05/2020 10:30

If you are working then you should also be reading. I really can't emphasise that enough. Short stories are an excellent way of honing your craft, working too tight word counts and learning brutal editing skills. Some excellent (cheap) print short story collections are Alice Munro- Dear Life, Roald Dahl-The Great Automatic Grammatizator and online have a look at The Cabinet Of Heed, Jelly fish Review etc. Subscribing to Writing magazine is an excellent suggestion. I found it really useful when I was heavy into writing. I also suggest some "craft" books to help you organise your plot, sub plot, characters, story arc etc. The Idea by Erica Bork is great.

I also strongly suggest keeping a journal and spending 20 minutes minimum a day writing by hand . Doesn't matter what you write about just write. If your brain is empty just write about that. Why is it empty. It's all about the practice of training your brain and if you do it everyday you will be amazed at how it encourages the ideas to fire up. You can also keep snippets from news papers, photos, ideas that intrigue or inspire you. You may never use them, but in a year when your ideas are dried up in a horrible spell of writers block you can go through that old note book and mine it for new /old ideas with fresh eyes.

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