Monday, September 3, 2012

Short Story and Creative Writing Competitions


it's been a stressful and busy few months but now I'm finally able to get back to writing. I'm working on some short stories at the moment, and as always I'm trying to decide what to do with them once they are finished. A Google search threw up this really useful page from Pearl Luke's Be a Better Writer blog, which features a list of upcoming short story and creative writing competitions. No matter your genre, you should find something of interest here!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The World's Greatest Fantasy Writing Contest


just a quick note to let all the fantasy writers out there know about a great competition with an imminent deadline! Fantasy Faction are putting together a short story anthology, which will feature works by both well-known fantasy authors and newcomers/unknowns. Full details can be found here.

Deadline is June 30th, if you plan to enter then good luck!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lucky 7 meme

Hi there! Nick Wilford tagged me in the Lucky 7 meme, another fun blogging game that lets you showcase your work and talk a little bit about yourself. The rules for the Lucky 7 meme are as follows:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines-sentences or paragraphs--and post them as they're written. No cheating
  4. Tag 7 authors
  5. Let them know

Ok, so here goes. This is from page 77 of my WIP. (Character names are provisional, as I'm aware the majority of readers might find the ones I am currently using difficult to pronounce.)

A pair of horses saddled with the livery of the royal family stood directly below her, surrounded by a group of horsemen she recognised as members of the royal family’s personal guard. Their presence was unusual, given that protocol did not require it – a hunt in the forests beneath the plateau would not be regarded as hazardous enough to warrant the official protection of the king’s trusted guards. They were most likely there out of habit or a sense of duty she decided, but part of her wondered if there were dangers in the king’s forests that had not been mentioned in the marriage negotiations. She frowned, knowing full well that her uncle would have told her of any such threats without hesitation.
           As her eyes skimmed over the crowd, Flannbhui’s gaze fell on Fiachna and Aodh. They were walking side by side towards their horses, and were surrounded by a close knot of squires and guardsmen. Again she frowned, noting how the servants scanned the crowd constantly.

What is the title of your current WIP. Tell us about it? 

I'm still working on a title at the moment. (I'm not good at names and titles obviously!) The provisional title is The Betrayed, but I'll probably be changing that in the future. 

This book is the first in a trilogy. The story itself begins with a princess, Flannbhui, who comes to marry a wealthy prince, Aodh. However her relationship with the prince's cousin, Fiachna, changes the lives of these two men dramatically. 

The decisions that Fiachna and Aodh make throughout the rest of the story are an exploration of the nature of good and evil, sin and forgiveness. Is it possible for an 'evil' act to be redeemed? At what point does an originally good person truly become evil? 

There's a lot more to the story as well, including one other major character, but it would take too long to explain it all here.

When did you start blogging and why? 

I started blogging late last year. I felt that it would be a good way to get in touch with other writers and to publish some of my work. I also use my blog to talk about writing and related topics. 

If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do? 

Probably work. I'm finishing a PhD at the moment, so that's taking a lot of my time. I fit writing and music in when I can, along with sports training. 

Describe your happy place. 

I don't think I have one...that's probably weird, right?

What was your first happy memory? 

Bringing my mother breakfast in bed when I was about three. I remember I put too much milk on the cornflakes and spilled them on the tray coming up the stairs.

What was the scariest thing you've ever done?
There are some martial arts throws that scare me. I've knocked bones out from falling incorrectly, so having to come back and do them again always worries me a bit.

What is the funniest thing you did today?

It's early! Em...I thought I could get a holiday to Cambodia for 300 euro, until I realised flights weren't included. They cost about 2 grand. That was kind of funny, in a crushingly disappointing way. :)

What is the strangest place you've ever got an idea for a story?

During a meeting with my supervisor. He was writing something on the board and I was taking notes, and I started thinking about my WIP. I had a Eureka moment, and at the same time he turned around and said something like, 'And this fits perfectly here'.

For a minute I wondered how he knew about my story, until I realised he was talking about the work. Hopefully my expression didn't give me away.

Where do you write?

On my laptop. The locations change.

If you just won a ticket to anywhere in the world and you had to take me, where would you take me and why?


Thanks to Nick for the tag! I'm going to tag the following seven bloggers:

                                           Elise Fallson
                                           Cherie Reich
                                           Diane Gillette
                                           Michael Haynes
                                           Nick Hight
                                           Michael Offutt

Head over to their blogs for more sneak previews of page 77!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Interval - Second Campaigner Challenge

Hi! It's been a while since my last post but I've been crazy busy. This is a last minute entry to Rachael Harrie's Second Campaigner Challenge. My previous campaign entry was shortlisted so I thought I'd give this one a go.

My preferred genre is fantasy, so this piece is a bit different from my usual work. The link to the challenge itself is here, including all the rules, etc. I wrote a 200 word flash fiction piece, using four of the five prompts. The prompts are as follows:

Prompt 1: 

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair. 

Prompt 2: 

Prompt 3

Prompt 4

Prompt 5



He was watching a drop of water form under the concrete bridge. It had been gathering for some time, growing almost imperceptibly. Soon it would fall, but for now it hung, motionless.

Across the river, some children were playing on the shore. Another child bounced a ball dully along the surface of the bridge overhead. They seemed removed, distant, outside of his bubble of stillness. An old man was walking further up the beach. He was shuffling slowly along, but edging incessantly closer.

The drop under the bridge support grew larger, swelling with the passage of time. The cut on his leg throbbed steadily with his pulse.

The figure beside him was still. His hair was still wet from the river, even though his lips had already started to turn a cold shade of blue. There were red marks on his throat, standing out starkly against his pale skin. The man resisted a sudden compulsion to fit his own hands to the marks, knowing they would match exactly.

The crunch of uncertain footsteps grew louder. They echoed strangely under the bridge, sounding muted and hollow. He turned towards the noise, and met wide and frightened eyes.

The drop fell.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to comment! If you'd like to vote for this story please click here, I'm #105.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Darkness Comes

Ok, so Rachael Harrie's First Campaigner Challenge is running all this week, until Friday February 24th.

 The Challenge is:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

I'm posting my story below. If you read it and you like it, please click here and vote for #89. Thanks!

 Darkness Comes

Shadows crept across the wall behind her. They shifted and churned, vying with each other, edging irresistably forwards like the tide.

She felt them, even though she could not see them. She could almost hear them, whispering on the edges of her consciousness. They were always there, always creeping behind her. Some days they grew closer than others.

The two women were seated across from her, talking. Sometimes they glanced in her direction. They did not meet her gaze. Were they talking to her, or about her? She didn’t care. It was so hard to hear them when the shadows were whispering.

She watched them contemptuously, their nervous chatter grating against her hearing. They were pretending not to hear their own shadows, trying to drown them out with meaningless noise. The desperate undertones in their conversation both amused and annoyed her at the same time.

The shadows surged closer, clouding the edges of her vision. She could hear them clearly now, their seductive voices stroking her thoughts.

The women stopped talking as she began to smile.

She stood up. They had taken her weapons, but that did not matter. She would make them face the darkness.

The shadows danced. 

Don't forget to comment! Want to vote for this story? Please click here. I'm #89, thanks!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tagged again!

Vikki from also tagged me as part of the Fourth Writers' Platform Building Campaign. Stop by her blog and say hello if you get the chance!

1. What thing have you written that you’re most proud of?
Oddly enough, a composition for a choir. Being in the audience when it was being performed was a very proud moment for me.

2. What are you working on at the moment?
Three short stories and the first novel of a trilogy. 

3. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?
My trilogy would be finished, along with a lot of short stories and a considerable amount of music. 

4. You buy an old lamp, whilst cleaning it a genie appears…you know the rest lol. Your 3 wishes are?
Enough money to be free to do what I want. 
Free me from the curse of procrastination.
Better organisational skills.

5. List 2 of your bad habits? Come on, we all have some.

6. If you were a superhero, what special power would you have?

7. Tell us the name of one of your characters, one you really like?
Fiachna. He's extremely flawed, but he suffers for his crimes and at least tries to atone for them.

8. What scares you?
Financial insecurity. 

9. Sum up your personality in 3 words?
Impatient, Ambitious, Stubborn.

10. Name 2 of your vices?
Overly self-critical, badly organised.

11. Do you have a pet peeve/hate? What is it?
When people neglect to use adverbs. Drives me insane!


As part of Rachael Harrie's Fourth Writer's Platform Building Campaign, I've been tagged by C.M. Brown to answer the following questions: 

1.  How do the stories you write about come into fruition?
Generally I get inspired by an emotion of some kind. I seem to get a sense of a character, in some sort of vague situation, who is experiencing a strong emotion. From there I begin to build up a story, trying to maintain the atmosphere and tone that I experience when the idea first hits me.

2.  Do you think you are the type of person who plans for every eventuality, or do you prefer to
live life how it comes, without any organisation?
I would like to plan for every eventuality, but I think I am so disorganised I end up just taking life as it comes.

3.  What is your favourite song?
I have lots of favourites, but I love Foo Fighters' 'Best of You'.

4.  Do you sing it loudly to yourself?
Sometimes. Whenever the house is empty I sing constantly, as loudly as I can.

5.  Are you still friends with anyone you went to secondary school with?
Only on Facebook.

6.  What would be your dream job?
A writer/composer.

7.  How often do you speak with your sibblings?
Almost constantly.

8.  If you were an animal what creature would you like to be? Use your imagination.
A hawk.

9.   I love eating boiled eggs for breakfast, what is your favourite food?

10.  What piece of technology could you not live without?
My laptop.

11. Do you have a favourite piece of furniture?
Not really. Bed I suppose :D

I've also been tagged by at least two other people, so more answers to follow shortly! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign


if you're an active writer/blogger like myself you might be interested in getting in touch with other like-minded people. Have a look at Rachel Harrie's Writers' Platform Building Campaign and sign up if you're interested!

I'm joining...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Creating a Unique Character

Hi, just a brief post about something that has been on my mind recently, namely how to create a unique character. If you are a writer of fiction you will usually set about writing a short story or novel when you are inspired by a particular idea. Generally this will be a story that you are passionate about, featuring characters and events that you feel will grab the reader's attention and stay with them long after they have finished reading. While the majority of writers may feel this way about their work, how many books of this kind are actually penned? And more to the point, how many unique and memorable characters has literature actually given us?

By my definition, a unique, memorable and original character is one who leaves a lasting impression on the mind. He or she is a character possessing a set of distinct and prominent character traits, who is instantly recognizable from the briefest description. In literature there is an extensive list of these characters, who have become so integrated into our culture that they are even recognisable to those who have not read the original works. Examples include James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Lisbeth Salander and Long John Silver, to name but a few.

Ian Fleming's James Bond
If I removed the text, most of us would still recongise the character.