Category Archives: Re-blogged

Items of interest from other blogs, woe:-)th visiting

Aesthetica creative writing award

“The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is an international literary prize that is a hotbed for new talent in Poetry and Short Fiction.

The Prize, now in its 13th year, is organised by the art and culture publication, Aesthetica Magazine.

Every year, we support both emerging and established writers and through the Prize, we offer publication in an anthology that is an inspiring collection of narrative and poetic forms”.

To read more, or to enter please visit

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Introducing the brand new Children’s Poetry Archive…

Our new website dedicated to children is here!

We are very pleased to share our new Children’s Poetry Archive with you in advance of its public launch!

As you know The Poetry Archive is a charity which collects recordings of poets reading their own work aloud, keeping them safe so that future generations can hear these unique voices. As our collections of the work of children’s poets grew so too did our desire to create a new site which would work for children as well as their parents and those who teach them.

The Children’s Poetry Archive brings together our collections in the first website totally dedicated to enabling primary-aged children to listen to poetry – and one of the best things is that they can listen to the poems in our collections anytime they want to, at home or at school, with a computer, a tablet or on a mobile phone.

This site uses some very clever functions to make listening to poetry even more fun. You’ll see a picture of an eye by each poem; this is our  ‘eyes shut, ears open’ mode and it turns off all the other distractions on the screen so you feel as if the poet is reading just for you!

Explore 100s of poems in new and exciting ways

We think listening to poems just for fun is one of the best ways to encourage a life-long love of poetry and research has already proved how experiences of poetry can improve the lives of children in terms of language, communication and education.
“Poetry for young people is a gift, part of the inheritance of anyone who speaks the language. To collect all this work together in one place is like the piling up of an enormous hoard of treasure, which is the property of anyone who uses it.
The T. S. Eliot Foundation is very proud to be involved with this wonderful archive.”

Clare Reihill, Trustee T S Eliot Estate

The Poetry Archive has spent almost 20 years raising funds to make unique recordings of poets reading their poems out loud and sharing them on We know the Children’s Poetry Archive will be enjoyed and loved just as much and we are really grateful to the T S Eliot Foundation for supporting our development of this site.

We are delighted, too, that Michael Rosen is our new Patron for this site – if anyone embodies the sheer energy and exuberance of children’s poetry, we think it’s him!

Make your own playlists with MyArchive

A feature you have asked us to provide for a long time is the ability to play poems out loud without having to go to each one! Look out for our new playlist feature in My Archive. Every time you come across a poem you love you can click on the heart to ‘favourite’ it and this will put it in your very own My Archive list – then, when you visit your My Archive page, you can listen back to all your favourites and share them with your friends.

Teach the world’s best poetry to your class

We think it’s easier to teach and enjoy poetry by hearing it out loud so we’ve brought together some resources to help teachers in the classroom.

Our new teaching area brings together resources to support different aspects of teaching, including classroom materials structured around teaching individual poems and collections curated to provide new and exciting ways to explore poetry. We’ll be adding to this area and working with teachers to grow these resources over the coming months.

Re-blogged from The poetry archive.


Filed under Factual, Re-blogged, Unashamed promotions

One for the diary coming soon. Info. from A resource of merit

BeaconLit – The Beacon Villages festival of books and writing

Celebrating a seventh year in 2019, BeaconLit is a one-day event that combines a high quality literary festival with an intimate village atmosphere. Entirely staffed and run by volunteers, the festival raises funds for the Beacon Villages Community Library that serves the villages surrounding the Ivinghoe Beacon landmark in the heart of thee beautiful Chilterns.

This year’s lineup includes author panels, live interviews and interactive sessions, featuring debut authors, crime writers, indie talents, TV and stage stars, broadcasters and much more!


When? Saturday, July 13 2019

Where? Brookmead School High Street Ivinghoe Buckinghamshire LU79EX ,United Kingdom

Who? 2019 – ROBERT DAWES: TV (including Poldark) and stage actor and bestselling thriller writer; LEIGH RUSSELL: Bestselling crime novelist and chair of Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger judges; JANE WENHAM- JONES: author, journalist, presenter, interviewer, creative writing tutor, writing competition judge, and speaker; QUENTIN BATES: Author, translator and co-founder of Icelandic Noir Festival; PLUS Morgen Bailey, Alison Bruce, West Camel, Adina Campbell, Jane Davis, Noelle Holten, Lesley Lodge, Fiona Vigo Marshall, A B Morgan, Dave Sivers and Georgia Twynham




Festival Director? 2019- Dave Sivers

Established? 2013

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Ilkley Literature Festival

Get Writing: Our 2019 Competitions Are Open

We are pleased to announce that our hotly anticipated annual poetry
and short story writing competitions are now open for entries.

2019 Walter Swan Poetry Prize

Now in its fourth year, the Walter Swan Poetry Prize is open to all writers of poetry aged 18 and over. Previous prize winners have been praised for their unique voices, precise use of language, powers of observation and use of fresh imagery, and qualities such as lyricism and musicality.

The prize will be judged by the 2019 Festival Poet-in-Residence, who will be announced shortly. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed poems will win a share of prize money totalling £375 and be invited to read their poems on stage at an event at 2019 Ilkley Literature Festival this October.

  • Entries can be on any subject.
  • Poems should be no longer than 30 lines.
  • Entry fees: £5 per poem for entrants aged over 25, and £2.50 per poem for entrants aged under 25
  • 1st prize winner will receive £200, 2nd prize £100 and 3rd prize £75

Closing date for receipt of entries: Wednesday 31 July 2019, 11.30pm

Click here for full terms and conditions and to enter the 2019 Walter Swan Poetry Prize

Aged 18-25? Keep reading…

The poetry prize is run by Ilkley Literature Festival in partnership with The Walter Swan Trust. Established in memory of writer Walter Swan, the Trust promotes all forms of creative writing and has a particular interest in providing opportunities to young and new writers.

In this spirit, the 2019 Walter Swan Poetry Prize is providing extra incentives for poets aged 18-25 years to enter the competition. Firstly, we’re making it easier for younger writers to enter the competition by reducing the entry fees for those aged 25 and under to just £2.50 per poem.

Secondly, for no additional fee, entrants aged 18-25 will automatically be entered into consideration for a brand new subcategory prize for young adult writers, as well as for the main prize (it will be possible for an eligible entrant to win both!).

The top placed poems within the 18-25 years subcategory will be decided by festival’s 2019 Apprentice Poet-in-Residence, usually an emerging young poet themselves.

The winners of the subcategory will be invited to read their poems on stage at a 2019 Ilkley Literature Festival event, showcasing a new generation of rising poets, and will share £225 of total prize money (1st prize £100, 2nd prize £75, 3rd prize £50).

Click here for full terms and conditions and to enter the 2019 Walter Swan Poetry Prize

2019 ILF Short Story Competition

Last year’s short story competition prize winners featured an eerie masterclass in ghostly tension, a guttural family story of absence and the unsaid, and a tale simultaneously bizarre comedy and heart-wrenching psychodrama.

What surprises, narrative invention and beautiful crafted voices will the 2019 competition bring?

The winner will be selected by a panel of judges, with the final decision being made by a head judge (a professional fiction writer soon to be announced) and will be judged on literary merit, originality and readability.

The winning author, plus the shortlisted runners up, will be invited to read at the 2019 Ilkley Literature Festival in October. The winner will also take home a prize of £200.

  •   Entries can be on any subject
  •   Short stories should between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length
  •   Closing date for receipt of entries: Wednesday 31 July 2019, 11.30pm

Click here for full terms and conditions and to enter the 2019 Short Story Competition

Volunteer at ILF19

Would you like to join our team of volunteers that help make the Ilkley Literature Festival happen each year?

During the Festival, and in the run-up to October each year, the ILF team is helped by a small army of volunteers without whom the Festival wouldn’t be possible. Our volunteers help the festival run in many ways, including:

  • Setting out venues ready for events
  • Greeting ticket holders, answering queries and giving directions
  • Taking tickets on venue doors
  • Seating the audience when venue doors open
  • Working the microphones during Q&A sessions
  • Sitting in on events
  • Serving refreshments at special events or in one of our café bars

Applications to join the volunteer team are open now and until Friday 2 August 2019Click here for more information and to apply

Dates For Your Diary:

Ilkley Literature Festival 2019: 4 – 20 October
Programme announced: 14 August
Tickets on sale: 27 August

Photo on Visual Hunt
Copyright © 2019 Ilkley Literature Festival, All rights reserved.

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For those who like to write the Gothic genre or would like a change, info courtesy of Short Stops

A Gothic Short Story Writing Competition
Hosted by Tavistock Library and supported by Tavistock Heritage Trust as part of ‘Tavistock’s 1st Gothic and Neo-Gothic Celebration – Literature, Art, Architecture, Theatre, Film and Creative Fun.’

From Saturday the 12th of October and culminating in a market and author event on Saturday the 19th of October 2019.

This new celebration aims to encompass writing, film, drama and art activities.  There will be a Gothic market for writers and traders to showcase their work, and a range of related events.

Theme: A short story in the Gothic tradition incorporating folklore and myth.

Prizes: A cash prize will be offered to the overall winner 30% of all entry receipts will form the prize fund. There will also be a second prize of 30% of all the entry fees awarded to a ‘Gothic’ story based in Tavistock and incorporating its Gothic and Neo-Gothic Heritage. Additional runners-up prizes of books will also be awarded. The prize winners will be notified approximately two weeks prior to the prize giving. The remaining 40% of the entry fees will be used for administration costs and for festival and library events.


Presentation of the Prizes: The results will be announced, and the prizes presented at an event to be during the celebration.

Judging: The judging will be in two stages. The final short list of stories will be judged by a panel of librarians, authors and publishers. Shortlisted entries will be ranked by a final judging panel.

Tips: The judges will be looking for interesting and original stories that are factually correct where appropriate.

Publication: Depending on the number and quality of the entries received an e-anthology may be published.

A Gothic Short Story Writing Competition
For anyone over the age of 18

Rules and Conditions of Entry

  1. Entries must be in English, original and not previously published in any form or broadcast, and no longer than 1500 words (adult).
  2. Closing date: May 31st
  3. Results: Available to the public from the 12th of October 2019.
  4. Entries must be typewritten or word-processed on single-sided A4 paper, in 12-point typeface, double (or 1.5 times) spaced. Each page must carry the name of the story in the header or footer and pages must be numbered. Do not put your name on the story pages. Please attach a cover sheet with your name, address, telephone and if possible your e-mail contact details, title of your story, and word count. Entries may be emailed to and a copy to
  5. Entries may be delivered by hand or by post to Go Gothic – Flash Fiction Competition to Tavistock Library, The Quay, Plymouth Road, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8HF, England. Please include your payment by cheque (in sterling) made payable to The Friends of Tavistock Library or BACS Transfer: Account name: Friends of Tavistock Library, Account number: 32152922, Sort code: 602149. Payment may also be made in cash at Tavistock Library.
  6. Entry fees: Adults – £3 for first entry, £2 for second or subsequent entry. If you intend to submit multiple entries, please submit all entries together.
  7. No manuscripts will be retained so contestants must keep a copy of their work.
  8. Copyright remains with the author.
  9. If acknowledgement of receipt is required, please include a stamped and addressed postcard.
  10. The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  11. In accordance with the 2018 European Union General Data Protection Regulation Act (EU GDPR) your information will not be kept on a data base or used for marketing purposes and we will only contact you to tell you if you have won the competition and when all the logos will be on display.
  12. Entry to the competition implies acceptance of the rules.



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An interesting proposition


If you’re aged 18 or older and have a passion for writing, we are now accepting submissions for our 2018 writing competition.

READ Foundation has teamed up with prize-winning novelist and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts Qaisra Shahraz to launch this year’s contest.

The entry guidelines are simple: a poem, short story or first person essay on the theme of “My education helped me….”. This does not mean the writing has to start with this phrase, but this theme must be felt throughout the work. Submissions must be a maximum of 500 words and should be received before midnight on 10th October 2018.

We know how important education is in a young person’s life. Which is why we want entrants to help inspire the next generation of creatives by telling them all about the role education played in their own lives. We’re open to entries from all walks of life and abilities, so you don’t need to be a professional to enter: simply write from the heart.

The winning entry will be displayed in hundreds of READ Foundation schools to inspire today’s students. It will also be published on READ Foundation’s website. The winner and two runners up will also receive feedback on their work from Ms Shahraz.


Short story and poetry judge Qaisra Shahraz


I love reading and writing – writing can be an incredibly inspiring tool, taking the imagination to amazing places and experiences.

As an educationist and lover of learning, I really value READ Foundation’s incredible work in promoting and offering education to those who need it – such amazing work and achievement, led by an amazing team.

I am really glad this competition will encourage writers to inspire young minds with their words. Above all else, it is about the importance of education: how it literally transforms lives and gives children a passport to a better world.

I’m really looking forward to reading the entries and seeing how different entrants have approached the topic of education.

The tone must be inspiring. The children who will see the winning entry have fought very hard to get to school – some walking hours a day. Reading an inspiring story or poem will, I’m sure, offer them a lot of encouragement and a goal to achieve and do well in education themselves.

– Qaisra Shahraz, (Biography)

Terms & Conditions

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Flash Fiction February 2019 from Fictive Dream

The submissions window for Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2019 is now open. 

During Flash Fiction February we will feature a new piece of flash fiction throughout February 2019. That’s a new story, every day, starting on 1 February for the entire month. As always we’re interested in stories with a contemporary feel.

We’ve put a squeeze on our usual word count though, so only stories of between 200 – 750 words please.

Read our Flash Fiction February submission guidelines here.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

For those of you who prefer to write longer stories we remain open to standard submissions (500 – 2,500 words). 

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black

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Bad Moon Rising

Calling #Horror #Thriller and #Paranormal #IndieAuthors For #BadMoonRising

Spots are still available!

For the month of October, Books & Such will again be featuring Bad Moon Rising!  If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal books and would like to be featured, send me your info.  Free publicity, book sales (hopefully!), new authors to follow, and more books to buy – what’s not to like?

Each post will feature one of your releases, a blurb, author bio, social media links, buy links, and a short interview.  If you’d like to include a giveaway or have alternative ideas for your post, I’m open to suggestions.

This is the fourth year of Bad Moon Rising and spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’d like to be included, email me at

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421 ways to say said? Simplify dialogue instead… Courtesy of NOW NOVEL

400 ways to say said? Simplify dialogue writing | Now Novel

If you search for alternative dialogue tags to use in your story, you’ll find many lists. While some synonyms for ‘said’ read naturally (such as words conveying volume like ‘whispered’), others come across as overwritten and forced, particularly in the wrong context.

Here are 5 simple ways to avoid clunky overuse of ‘he said/she said’:

1. Decide if dialogue tags are necessary

Sometimes we say ‘she said’, ‘he said’ or ‘they said’ when we don’t need to. Just because it’s a writing device commonly used in dialogue doesn’t mean you have to use it. When you get to the end of a line of dialogue, ask yourself:

  1. Is it clear, from context, who is speaking at this moment?
  2. Do preceding narration and formatting (such as line breaks) help clarify who is speaking?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these, you don’t need tags.

For example, you wouldn’t need to use dialogue tags in the following example. The narration beforehand makes it clear who’s speaking, and the details of the characters’ speech give away who says what:

She picked a bit of fluff off her top, looked out the window. He wondered whether he was boring her.

“You seem distracted.”
“Hmm? You’re being intense again, Guy.”

It’s clear from the narration, description and actions who is saying what in the scene. The girls’ actions make it clear she’s the addressee of ‘You seem distracted.’ Her response also gives us a sense of how her date says this.

2. Favour unobtrusive tags

The stranger the tag, the more colourful and quirky, the more it will stick out in your dialogue.

Ideally, your reader is getting as much clarity from what characters say as they get from howthey say it.

The infographic below (via The Puppet Show) has some good alternatives. Yet it suggests words such as ‘enunciated’ as a synonym for ‘said’. However, if you were to use this tag randomly in the middle of dialogue it would seem arbitrary.

280 ways to say said | Now Novel

For example:

“You seem distracted,” he enunciated.

Because ‘to enunciate’ means ‘to say or pronounce clearly’ it doesn’t completely make sense in this context, since there isn’t a clear reason for the boy to ‘enunciate’.

However, if clarity of speech were relevant to a scene, you could use this word as a tag as it would fit. For example:

“Speak slower.” The speech therapist’s eyes were stern.
“The w-wascal wabbit wan-” he enunciated, wishing each ‘R’ could be clearer.

However, you could achieve a similar effect other ways, too. For example, using ellipses, i.e. punctuation, to show concentration; pauses:

“The w-wascal … wabbit … wan … ” He wished each R could be clearer.

This shows the effort the character is putting in, thus you don’t need a dialogue tag necessarily.

When in doubt, a simple ‘said’ is often enough. Instead of letting different ways to say ‘said’ do heavy lifting, remember this sage advice from Toni Morrison:

‘I never say “She says softly.” If it’s not already soft, you know, I have to leave a lot of space around it so a reader can hear it’s soft.’

3. Use physical gesture and motion instead of ‘said’

Other ways to say ‘she said’ avoid dialogue tags entirely. You may draw attention to the character who has said a line by immediately following speech with that character’s actions.

For example:

“No I absolutely will not!” She banged the pitcher of water down on the counter so hard Sarah was surprised the bottom didn’t crack open.

It’s clear from just this line that a female character is in the scene with Sarah, and she’s furious.

The advantages of showing who said what via movement and gesture are:

  1. You can bring in scene setting elements (where the conversation is taking place and the objects surrounding characters) subtly. This adds detail and mental imagery.
  2. You can ground your characters’ conversations in a sense of place. This avoids dialogue that resembles heads in vats chatting away without bodies, movement or direction.

Ways to say said - Toni Morrison writing tips | Now Novel

4. Use ways to say ‘said’ that add atmosphere

Using gestures and actions such as the following, as outlined above, helps to lend character and emotion to dialogue:

  • She gazed out the window (this suggests being lost in thought, or perhaps longing)
  • He turned his away (suggesting withdrawal or retreat)
  • They elbowed each other and jumped up and down (suggesting children vying to be heard above each other)

Also think about ways to say said that convey volume and tone, i.e. atmosphere. Although Toni Morrison’s advice above is good (creating quietness using the spaces around characters’ lines), the occasional ‘she whispered’ has its place, too.

Synonyms for said that show volume include:

  • Quietly: ‘Mouthed’, ‘whispered’, ‘hissed’, ‘mumbled’, ‘muttered’, ‘said, under their breath’
  • Loudly: ‘Yelled’, ‘shouted’, ‘bellowed’, ‘screamed’, ‘roared’

The above words remind us that tags that indicate volume and tone are typically reserved for extremes – of tension, emotion or environment. A kid protagonist might whisper in a creepy graveyard, a pranked neighbour might ‘bellow’ in pure outrage. Yet these are suitable tags for climactic moments. Make characters bellow or whisper every other line and the device loses its effect.

5. Switch to a narrator or other character’s reaction

Because dialogue is relational, an exchange between two or more characters, it also works to switch to another character’s reaction instead of focusing on the character who’s just finished speaking.

For example, read the following brief dialogue:

“You wouldn’t believe what happened next. I was-”
“John, can we pause this for a second, I really need the bathroom.”
When I returned, I couldn’t believe he was still going. Something about what not to do in an avalanche. As if he were the only one at the party who’d ever had any adventures.

Here, because the second character addresses John by name, we know who’s been speaking. Because of their interruption, as well as their shock that John is still speaking when they return, we also get a sense of how John speaks. It’s a one-way street, John holding the floor (and holding his listeners ransom).

As you can see from the above, there are many ways to show who is speaking in dialogue. Other ways to say said can avoid dialogue tags entirely. Use gesture, movement or reaction to show your reader details of character and setting.

Need help improving your dialogue? Get help with everything from formatting to context when you enroll in our four-week writing course, ‘How to Write Dialogue’. Or join Now Novel for constructive feedback on your writing and help brainstorming ideas.


Filed under Advice and tips for writers, General post, Re-blogged

Should I or shouln’t I, here is the answer to that question.

via No, You can’t have too many books.

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