Saturday, 24 October 2015

Romantic Fiction Results - 19th October, 2015

On 19th October, we met for to hear the results of our final competition of the year: Romantic Fiction. Judge, Hilary Mackelden, first gave an account of her long and varied career as a writer of stories, novels and plays before going on to define what she expected from a short story in this particular genre, which remains her 'first love' in her own writing.  Her regency romance,'The Bankrupt Viscount',  written under the name of Caitlyn Callery, was shortlisted for the 2015 Joan Hessayon Award. Unfortunately, many of our own entries were discounted on the grounds of not really fitting within the genre because they didn't focus on a developing relationship between the hero and heroine, which – according to Hilary – is a necessary component of romantic fiction. However, in general, she had praise for our efforts, especially some of some of the more likeable characters, the realistic dialogue and the interesting plots. The winner, which was refreshing, original and a feast of the senses, was Amanda Giles' 'Hector's Tale'. Maddie Blake was second with 'Top Secret', which had all the elements of a love story and a sympathetic heroine. Third was 'Out with the Geek' by Emma Boyde, praised for its economy, detail and strong voice. Fourth was Marcus Towner's 'Indian Summer, Later Spring' in which the feelings were beautifully conveyed. Hilary also gave 'honourable mentions' to Sam Davey's 'Stupid QPID' and Godfrey Forder's 'Lost and Found'.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Preparing Your Manuscript for Publication Workshop - 5th October, 2015

On 5th October, our Vice-Chair, the best-selling children's author, Kate O'Hearn, took time out of her extremely busy writing schedule to help members to prepare their manuscripts for a literary agent. This was particularly useful and timely as this year our 3000-word stories for the annual Catherine Cookson Cup Competition will be judged by talent scout, Sarah O'Halloran, from the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. Kate gave us tips on selling our work by capturing an agent's attention in one minute, writing clear outlines and tantalising synopses and scouring the 'Artists' and Writers' Yearbook' to find the right agent. She also gave a fascinating and entertaining account of her own experiences with publishers and editors as well as useful, practical answers to our questions. We ended the evening on a creative note as we attempted to write a first paragraph that would ensure our manuscripts didn't end up on a bored editor's spike. Kate was positive and encouraging throughout, so we all left inspired to write and have our work published.

Again, we congratulate Marcia Woolf on having another of her stories shortlisted and were pleased to hear that Rachel Marsh has another article on the 'Daily News Service'.