Friday, 19 April 2013

Flash 500 Long Lists Announced

Long lists 
The long lists are up for the first quarter 2013. You can find the titles of the flash fiction long list here and the titles of the humour verse long list here.

New Competition for Novelists Soon to Open for Entries
Are you writing a novel? Here's some news you might find interesting. We are going to launch a Novel Opening Chapters category to add to our site. Unlike the flash fiction and humour verse, this will NOT be run on a quarterly basis, but will be an annual competition with a six month entry period, opening on the first of May and closing at the end of October each year. Prize money, judge and rules will appear on the website shortly. Watch your inboxes for the next newsletter, which will contain more information.
Use of Song Lyrics 
You might be tempted to enrich your entries by use of song lyrics. Even if you feel the words are exactly what your story needs, I cannot advise against this strongly enough. Unless you have the copyright holder's permission to use the lyrics you could find yourself in a financial nightmare. If you really want to incorporate the lyrics, track down the copyright holder and ask for a licence to reproduce the words - but do bear in mind that even if you win the top prize in any competition, you might still find yourself out of pocket. On the other hand, titles are not subject to copyright, so can be copied without asking for permission from anyone.
New Entries on Resource Page
Our page of useful sites for writers has been updated. There are many links listed which could be of benefit, regardless of whether you write prose or poetry. Don't forget to share this page with your writing friends: Writers' Resources

Now 32 Lines in Place of 30
Our humour verse competition has been extended to 32 lines in place of the previous limit of 30. This is in response to many emails received on the subject. I hope the extra two lines makes life easier for our funny poets.

For all of you who have made the first quarter 2013 long lists, congratulations and good luck with the next stage of judging.
If you missed out this time, here’s hoping you make it through in one of the other quarters this year. Both categories are now open for entries. For more information on everything to do with both competitions, visit the websites: Flash 500 Flash Fiction and Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I Wanna Be Like You-hoo-hoo

Charlotte from Arbroath wants to write humour: Hi Lorraine, I read your column in Writing Magazine each month and you make it seem really easy to write humour, but whenever I try I can’t seem to get to the point quick enough. I read back what I’ve written and it bores even me, so I can’t see it making anyone else laugh, even though the event I’m writing about was funny. Can you give me some advice?

In my column I write about everyday things that other writers can relate to – basically how to survive as a writer while trying to earn a living. I want my readers to laugh, but I also want them to identify with me. I get many emails from readers who say they, too, have experienced some of the things I’ve written about. This tells me I’m hitting the right spot.

When you come to write about your experiences you need to have a definite point in mind, as well as a target audience, which will help you to keep to focus. But don’t worry if you initially ramble on for page after page. It’s important to get all the facts down. You can (and should) rewrite them in a different order to get the best possible effect. You might find that moving the final paragraph (or part of it) to the first paragraph gives a great opening hook.

Writing humour is no different to any other genre when it comes to one basic fact: perfection is in the editing. It doesn’t matter if your first draft is long enough to paper a room, because that isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the draft that you are going to show to anyone else.

So, my advice to you is this: if the event you’ve written about was funny but your account of it isn’t, you need to edit, edit, edit until you’ve got rid of the all the bits that detract from the humour. Then put it away for a week or so and read it again. If it still isn’t funny, edit some more.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition