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The Fine Line Between Offensive and Inoffensive Tweeting

By on Dec 28, 2015

It was only a matter of time before one of my Twitter posts offended somebody (despite my best efforts with Donald Trump). 140 characters, stripped of all qualifiers and caveats is a very direct, if blunt, instrument of opinion. Earlier today I posted the following on Twitter, which also automatically bounced onto Facebook: I weep at they excess of toys given by well meaning relatives each year, oblivious of the damage to the planet the kids will inherit. I meant every word and attempted to write it without ambiguity. What I couldn’t avoid was any ambiguity of intent. To that effect, I’d like to apologise to any of my own relatives who felt I was taking a potshot at them personally. Had I been trying to do that I would have written “my well meaning relatives” and “my kids”. I had enough characters left to put it that way and very specifically avoided it. In hindsight using the word...

December Roundup of Writing Competitions

By on Nov 27, 2015

  With everyone busy celebrating the pagan midwinter buying frenzy, December was always going to be a dry month for competitions, but those few on offer are better than average.   The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition This competition is one of the biggest on the calendar for children’s literature. Not only a huge prize, but publication to boot. It spans work aimed at children as young as 7 right up to gritty YA novels pitched at 18 year-olds. Entry is not for the faint of heart as they will not accept email submissions. You will not only need to print a hard copy of your completed manuscript, you will also need to submit a covering letter explaining why you believe your novel would appeal to children, a one-page synopsis and (drum-roll) a per chapter outline covering all major events. You will also need one of those old-fashioned check book things with which...

November Roundup of Writing Competitions

By on Oct 29, 2015

  The Fiction Desk Newcomer Prize 2015 The Fiction Desk are yet another organisation that supports new writers and regularly runs short story and flash fiction competitions. As far as I can tell this is an international competition. Word limit: 1000 – 7000 words Prizes: 1st – £500, 2nd – £250 Entry fee:£8 Closing date: 6th November 2015 Winning entries will be published in the Fiction Desk Anthology. They have strict rules about entrants not previously having published a novel or collected stories in print. However, ebook only publication or just part of a print anthology is acceptable. thefictiondesk.com/newcomer-short-story-prize.php   Galley Beggar Short Story Prize Galley Beggar Press is a tiny indie imprint that loves to support writers on the fringes. You know, the ones with talent that refuse to write what everyone else is writing. I suspect they will be looking for a...

Charles Causley Poetry Competition.  

By on Oct 28, 2015

From the Charles Causley Trust, this competition is one of the larger and more prestigious poetry prizes of the year. No restrictions on subject with a generous line allowance, it’s worth entering. This is an international competition. Word limit: 40 lines Prizes: 1st – £2000, 2nd – £250, 3rd – £100, 5 highly commended £30  Entry fee: £7 Closing date: 3rd November 2015 It is, however, yet another example of a postal only competition. So, if you are going to enter you’ll need to get your skates on for your submission to arrive by noon of the 3rd of November. https://thecharlescausleytrust.wordpress.com/competition/enter/ Like this:Like...

The Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism

By on Oct 12, 2015

This annual competition from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation is not for your usual creative prose, but for a brilliantly written piece concerning the arts: an article, a review or blog entry. I could even submit this informative review of the competition itself as an entry, but I won’t. Not because I don’t believe it would be up to the standard of other potential entries, but because I’d be worried about creating a sort of journalistic Ouroboros, with the article about the competition consuming its own tail, should it win. Who knows what might happen: a sort of digital black hole sucking in everything from WordPress and Twitter linked to it or perhaps it would open a transdimensional doorway from my blog into a terrifying realm populated only by clones of Mark Zuckerberg? It’s a risk I’d prefer not to take. Anyway, you get the idea. Bloggers,...

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