James Cole attends the Lit-Up workshops with me and is running the event below. I’m not able to attend as it’s my final MPhil weekend residency at the University of South Wales. I have masses of reading to do as three fellow students submitted full manuscripts for feedback. I better get on… If you’re free on Saturday, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the input.
Please find below a 75-word story that was recently published on Paragraph Planet. This is a great way for your work to reach a wider audience.The website’s been running since November 2008 and each day there’s a new 75-word story to enjoy. Famous authors, aspiring writers and occasional dabblers have all been involved by making a range of submissions. Here’s one of mine:
Take my advice and see if it helps: (1) stay strong; (2) listen to your reflective voice; (3) treat yourself kindly; (4) tell the circling thoughts to piss off; (5) go out with friends: you’ve chosen them wisely; (6) eat well, drink a little wine; (7) work hard: there’s intrinsic satisfaction to be had; (8) you’re allowed to feel sad at times; (9) you’re special, remember that; (10) give it time, you’ll meet someone new.
Why don’t you give it a go?
As a fund raiser for the Bridport Arts Centre , Frances Colville is organising a spring story slam. This is in addition to the annual story slam that features as part of the Open Book Festival in October each year. Held in the Arts Centre Cafe, the story slam will take place on Thursday 23rd April from 7.30 pm. All entrants are required to read a story of no more than 250 words (the same length as required for the Bridport Prize flash fiction competition). There will be three judges (chosen by the BAC) and prizes for the top three entrants. It is hoped that twenty people will read, but if there are more wanting to do so, names will be drawn from a hat. (This method will also be used to decide the order of those reading.) The charge is £5 entry on the door for both readers and listeners alike. You can register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or just turn up on the night. Prose only, please.
Visual to support the framing of ideas for story writing
I’ve taken some advice and rewritten my writer’s bio in the form of a poem. Here it is – see what you think!
hardworking between episodes of musing, driven and reflective.
Daughter of a man whose dreams withered,
lover of long horizons.
Who feels alive when the sun drenches,
who needs quiet spaces,
who gives ribbons of guidance,
who fears she’ll be unmasked as a fraud,
who would like the bearable lightness of being.
Resident of an eternal spring.
During the latest Lit Up professional development training for facilitators, activities to develop autobiographical prose and poetry were presented. Participants responded to the very structured tasks in a deeply imaginative way and this impressed me so much, that I thought I’d share the activities here. To create a 10-line poem, respond to the prompts in the centre column by recording your ideas in the third column.
||Your given name
||List 4 of your traits
||Complete the line
||Daughter of/Son of…
||Who would like…
Another idea uses free writing where every sentence begins with the words I am… Have a go with these activities and let me know how you get on!
The Dorset Writer’s Network have secured Arts Council funding to launch a new project with the aim of publishing an ebook which celebrates the diversity of the county. I recently delivered a workshop to support entry and you can read about this here. To have your writing considered for inclusion in the ebook, you are invited to join a competition. Stories must be no longer than 500 words and set in Dorset. Anyone can enter the competition (information for adults appears below) and a further category for 11-16 year olds will be made available shortly. Entrants can live or work anywhere in the country but the story must take place in Dorset (including Poole and Bournemouth). The full rules for the competition appear below.
I do hope you’ll take the opportunity to submit a piece of short fiction. Good luck!
In preparation for a time when I might be asked to give book talks, interviews, masterclasses and the rest, I decided to improve my public speaking skills. I was inspired to do this following a recent workshop I delivered for the Dorset Writers’ Network as part of the in the mood programme offered at Dorchester Library. Also at the event were members from the Casterbridge Speakers who did a very good pitch and encouraged me to attend one of their sessions. A couple of months later, I’m now a member of the group and promoting this to you!
The group is part of Toastmaster International based in America and meetings are run along very strict lines. In the past, this would have put me off joining, but I can see the benefit of having a very structured agenda now that I’m used to it.
So, do you wish you could lose the nerves, capture attention and inspire your audience? Join Casterbridge Speakers to find out more! Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at the Wessex Royale Hotel in High West Street Dorchester, from 7.15pm – 9.30pm. If you’d like more information about the group, click here. For further information about other groups around the country take a look at the Toastmasters website and click on the ‘find a club’ tab.
Happy public speaking!