Saturday, 16 April 2011

Duck, duck, duck, goose...

A duck and her ducklings walk onto a court at the Wimbledon

I our house all things duck rule. My son's first word quack has led me to look up every available duck pond in Worcestershire. You can be sure, we have visited them all. It's funny what I once saw as what is for supper, or a plastic toy in the tub, has now begun creeping into other aspects of my life.

Driving down the M5 yesterday I received a full assault, by duck, as this dear son launched his collections of quacking toys into the front seat pelting me. 'Quack! Quack! The captain directed orders to his crew. It seriously scared the wits out of me.

Now the ducks have crept into my writing. The ducks have tripped main characters when the have gone on first dates, snuck into homes and soiled furnishings with sentimental value, and they have invaded the chef's kitchen...

So what is sneaking it's way into your writing this week?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Story line?

Can a story line or plot ever be used too many times? Do they ever get old?

Now I have read about there only being:

1 real plot (conflict),

7 real plots (man vs nature, man vs man, man vs environment, man vs machines, man vs supernatural, man vs self, man bas god/religion),

20 plots (Quest, adventure, pursuit, rescue, escape, revenge, the riddle, rivalry, underdog, temptation, metamorphosis, transformation, maturation, love, forbidden love, sacrifice, discovery, wretched excess, ascension, and descension)

Or the very wordy 36 plots.... (Supplication (in which the Supplicant must beg something from Power in authority), Deliverance, Crime Pursued by Vengeance, Vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred, Pursuit, Disaster, Falling Prey to Cruelty of Misfortune, Revolt, Daring Enterprise, Abduction, The Enigma (temptation or a riddle), Obtaining, Enmity of Kinsmen, Rivalry of Kinsmen, Murderous Adultery, Madness, Fatal Imprudence, Involuntary Crimes of Love (example: discovery that one has married one’s mother, sister, etc.), Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized, Self-Sacrificing for an Ideal, Self-Sacrifice for Kindred, All Sacrificed for Passion, Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones, Rivalry of Superior and Inferior, Adultery, Crimes of Love, Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One, Obstacles to Love, An Enemy Loved, Ambition, Conflict with a God, Mistaken Jealousy, Erroneous Judgement, Remorse, Recovery of a Lost One, Loss of Loved Ones.)

Which theory you subscribe to, may sway your views on how over used a story line need be. Sadly the point of contention which brought this entire argument into engagement was my viewing of 'Hop' labelled an excellent family movie, featuring a bunny, chicks, and sweets just in time for easter.

Thus I inflict upon you the trailer, and ask who can I speak to about abuse/ overuse of plot. There ought to be a helpline for this sort of thing.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Inspiration generators...

So I went off in search of inspiration. I came across a webpage full of inspirational writing prompts.

The ones it offered me:

- Define long suffering
- Make art or babies, not both
- How would you change how you look
- We are all on the highway to die

At that point I pretty much ran away, uh sobbing.

So here are my own writing prompt to offer, and hope that they do not cause anyone to drink a bottle of wine, while hiding beneath their bed.

- Hard times are real, everyone has their own hard row to hoe, but the sun is still shining even when you close your eyes. -

- I am exactly where I am meant to be, staring at my favorite coffee cup. -

- I was only 16 back then and I thought that I knew more than I know now. -

Friday, 8 April 2011

Last night's Spoken word...

in a word, Wow.

Little Venice was full to bursting with both audience members and great performers. We heard from the Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane. If ever there was a man best suited to be the Poet Laureate it must be him. An absolutely amazing and talented person. The new young Poet Laureate, Laura Didicot and the runner up Poet Laureate, Beth Edwards, astonished every person in the building with their prose, insight, and superb creativity. Enjoy a few clips from various of the performers.

From the publishers of Harry Potter....

247tales, is an online writing competition that challenges you to t0 write short stories using 247 words or fewer.

The prize for the winning story is £75 worth of Bloomsbury Children’s books plus a framed copy of your winning story. The winning story will appear on the home page of this website and ten runners-up will receive signed copies of the guest author’s latest book and their stories will appear on the website as well.

This month’s theme is THE JOKE and the closing date is 29th April. Our guest author this month is Celia Rees.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Parole Parlate

worcestershire literary festival logo

The Worcestershire Literary Festival is hosting “Parole Parlate: The Spoken Word” this Thursday 7th April 2011. Worcester’s only dedicated spoken word platform.

This evening will see David Calcutt, Amanda Bonnick, Caroline Ferguson, Beth Edwards – Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate Runner Up, Laura Dedicoat – Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate Winner, as well as a very special guest appearance from Roy McFarlane, Birmingham’s current Poet Laureate.

This is going to be a great evening, so come on down to Little Venice, 3-5 Nicholas street, Worcester at 7:30pm.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April Competition round up

Closing April 3rd

(more to follow shortly)

Creative Competitor Short Story Competition

Entry fee: £2.50 per story. Prizes: 1st Prize: £100.00; 2nd Prize: £75.00; 3rd Prize: £50.00. Your story can be on any theme and in any style but it must be completed within 300 words excluding the title. See

Closing April 18th

100 words or fewer comp (USA)

Flash fiction competition. Entry is 15 dollars, with a first prize of 500 dollars. Entries are to be sent to See for more details.

Closing April 28th

Ledbury festival Poetry Comp

Lots of prizes and categories to enter. See

First Page Competition 2011
Entry is £5,1st Prize - £250
Think about those people who only buy books if the first page or two excites them. Entries can be the first page (up to 400 words) of a novel – it can be from a novel previously unpublished, a part written novel, or simply a first page written purely for the competition. See

Closing April 30th

The Grey Hen Press Competition

For women poets over 60. Entry is £3, with a first prize of £100.

For more details see

Win your way to Swanwick shot story comp and poetry comp

For short stories upto 1000 words. Poetry Comp is for poems upto 40 lines. Entry is £5. With Prizes of 1st, Free week at Swanwick sponsored by the Writers' Summer School plus publication in Writing Magazine and on the Swanwick website / 2nd, choice of manuscript critique and one year subscription to Writers' News and Writing Magazine / 3rd, one year subscription to Writers' News and Writing Magazine. See for more information.

European English Poetry Book Competition

The search for the best collection of poetry between 30 and 48 pages, written in English. See for more information and guidelines.

Help for Heroes short story comp and poetry comp

Short stories up to 2000 words, poemzs up to 40 lines, on the theme of ‘the future’. Entry form and full rules available at

Leaf Books Travel Writing Comp

For a piece of travel writing up to 300 words. This can be a journalistic piece, a diary entry, or a piece of micro fiction. It must evoke a clear sense of place. Entry is £3, the prize is A place on Compass Points, a beginners' travel writing course led by Jonathan Lorie and based in London (normally costs £115) with a choice of two dates (May or November), plus publication in Leaf Writers' Magazine. Entger on-line or by post. Please see for further details.

Men with pens short story comp

For short stories up to 2000 words. The competition is run by the award winning writing group, Men With Pens. Entry is £2, with a first prize of £100. Contact address: Iain Johnston, Secretary, Short Story Competition, 34 Woodhall Avenue, Calderbank, by Airdrie, ML6 9SS.

Brighton COW Non - Fiction Comp

This is a free-to-enter competition. Write a non-fiction piece on a subject of your own choice, up to 500 words. Winning entries published on the Group's website. Three £10 prizes. See for full details.

Short Tale - Short Story Competitions 2011
Entry is £3, 1st prize £20 all winners with be printed in the annual Anthology. Stories have a 2000 word limit on the Theme: The Bank Job. See

2011 Momaya Short Story Competition

Entry is $12 (£8), First Prize: $200 (£110) Each winner recieves one copy of the Annual Review. The 2011 theme is "Greed". Entries may be up to 3,000 words long. Visit web site for full details.

Slingink Shorts Open Competition
Entry is £2.50, Prizes: £50; £25; £15. Story: 140 wds (141 incl. title).
See for more details

Friday, 1 April 2011

Togs or Undies...

This video clip works on such an interesting premise. I am off to experiment with the concept in a few shot stories. Enjoy.