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

A Call for your entries for The John O’Connor Writing School Short Story Competition 2018

“The world of John O’Connor is a world of the freshly snedded turnip, the new-sawn plank, the sod shining under the plough. His gift is to render the life of the Mill Row in Armagh as deftly and definitively as Steinbeck renders Cannery Row or Bob Dylan Desolate Row”

Paul Muldoon

The John O’Connor Writiing School and Literary Arts Festival, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of John O’Connor as well as offering practical guidance and assistance to aspiring writers through its workshops and master classes in the various literary genres and writing for commercial purposes.

Entries are currently invited from aspiring writers for the third John O’Connor Short Story Competition. It is being held to commemorate the Armagh born writer whose impressive literary legacy includes a collection of short stories which still retain a timeless appeal.

Prize

The prize winner will be awarded a full bursary to attend the John O’ Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 1st to 4th November, 2018, plus a cash prize of £250. The bursary prize allows the recipient to enjoy all events in the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival 2018, and to attend one class in the writing genre of his/her choice. The winner will be notified by 2 October.

The winning entrant will be formally announced at the opening of the Writing school on Friday 2nd November, and will have the opportunity to read at an event on Sunday 4th November 2018. Single room accommodation will be available free of charge to the winning entrant.

Ts & Cs

The competition is open to those 16 years and over. Short stories must be the original work of the author and not previously published or have received awards in other competitions. Entries must be in English and between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length. There is an entry fee of £10. One entry per person. Submit your entry online by 12.00 noon on 28 August 2018.

Find full terms and conditions, and online entry form on http://thejohnoconnorwritingschool.com

re-blogged from ShortStops

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Is this how an ancient poetry slam would have sounded?

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F289339170&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true

Almost alluding to a poetic note, a clay plaque found in Olympia – the home to ancient Olympics and feats of athleticism, might just pertain to the oldest known extract of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey. The potential discovery was made courtesy of the three-year-long The Multidimensional Site of Olympia project, a collaborative effort from researchers…

via Archaeologists may have come across the oldest known extract of Homer’s Odyssey — Realm of History

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July 13, 2018 · 2:54 pm

The West Cork Literary Festival is a week-long celebration of writing and reading for people of all ages.

Upon us sooner than you think

http://www.westcorkmusic.ie > literary festival

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Fictive Dream Competition Call for Submissions

New from Fictive Dream is September Slam in which we will feature seven new short stories, one for each day of the week, from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th September 2018.

As always we’re interested in stories with a contemporary feel on any subject that gives an insight into the human condition. But here’s the twist. Your story must include two sentences courtesy of short story writer, novelist and publisher, Nicholas Royle.

Nicholas Royle is the author of three short story collections—Mortality (Serpent’s Tail), Ornithology (Confingo Publishing), The Dummy and Other Uncanny Stories (Swan River Press)—and seven novels, most recently First Novel (Vintage). He has edited more than twenty anthologies and is series editor of Best British Short Stories (Salt). Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, he also runs Nightjar Press and is head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

See our September Slam 2018 submission guidelines here.

For standard submissions (500–2,500 words) we remain open as usual.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best!

Laura Black
Editor

 

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A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘Safe in their alabaster chambers’

‘Safe in their Alabaster Chambers’ is about one of Emily Dickinson’s favourite themes: death. But, as so often with an Emily Dickinson poem, her treatment of this perennial theme is far from straightforward.

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –
Untouched by Morning –
And untouched by noon –
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection –
Rafter of Satin – and Roof of Stone!

Grand go the Years – in the Crescent – above them –
Worlds scoop their Arcs –
And Firmaments – row –
Diadems – drop – and Doges – surrender –
Soundless as dots – on a Disk of Snow –

Above, we’ve reproduced the 1861 edition of ‘Safe in their Alabaster Chambers’; an earlier version, from 1859, had slightly different wording. The poem considers the dead, ‘safe’ in their ‘Alabaster Chambers’ or tombs; nothing can affect the dead, not the coming of morning or the heat of noon, nor the passing of years, the fall of kings or queens (‘Diadems – drop’ neatly suggesting the falling of a royal crown as a dynasty crumbles), or the surrender of ‘Doges’ (rulers of city-states like Venice). These events make as little impact on the sleep of the dead as raindrops falling on snow.

All this makes perfectly good sense, of course. The dead are unconcerned with the passing of the day, or the seasons, or whole dynasties and changes of government. But Emily Dickinson seems to be implying something else by saying that the dead are safe in their alabaster chambers: this idea suggests someone tucked up safely in bed, protected from the ravages of the outside world. The clue is provided in the line ‘Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection’. The dead are ‘safe’ not just because they cannot be physically harmed, but because they are ready for the Resurrection, when – in Christian theology – the dead will rise from their tombs for the Last Judgement. The ‘Alabaster Chambers’, however, also imply wealth: these are the tombs of the rich, not some pauper’s grave.

The words Dickinson uses throughout the poem – ‘Grand’, ‘Diadems’, ‘Doges’ – similarly imply the well-to-do and aristocratic, summoning the idea of the wealthy leaving money in their wills when they die, for chaplains and others to say prayers for them in the afterlife, praying for their souls. In other words, this poem is not just about the dead, but a certain class of dead, we might say. In this context, Dickinson’s word ‘meek’ (‘the meek members of the Resurrection’) is decidedly ironic: Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that the meek are blessed, because they will inherit the earth; but there is little that is ‘meek’ in the rich dead that inhabit those alabaster chambers.

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Another submission call from the pages of ShortStops

The Aleph Writing Prize

THE ALEPH WRITING PRIZE 2018

About The Aleph Writing Prize

The Aleph Writing Prize is an annual writing competition. The prize awards a limited publication to the best piece of writing. There are no barriers to this competition, anybody of any age can enter regardless if they are published or unpublished.

The winning piece will be published in a limited number of handmade booklets and all copies/proceeds will go to the winner.

The competition is free to enter.

The judges will be looking for innovative and creative writing that explores and expand the possibilities of the book. We encourage submissions from all literary genres, and there are no restrictions on theme or subject matter.

*

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:

– The prize opens to submissions on 1 July 2018.

– Submissions will close on 1 September 2018. No entries will be considered if submitted after 1 September 2018 (12 noon GMT).

WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

1st November 2018

*

Terms and Conditions

Please read these eligibility and entry rules carefully before beginning the online entry process. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of the entry rules. For any queries not covered below, please email thealephstore@gmail.com

1) The competition is open to unpublished and published writers residing anywhere.

2) Only submissions receivedby 12 noon September 1st (GMT)

will be considered.

3) The entry must be the entrant’s own original creation and must not infringe upon the right or copyright of any person or entity.

4) There is no minimum word count, but the maximum word count is 10,000.

5) Writers may submit one piece of work each. Illustrations accepted.

6) The story must be written in English (Translations accepted).

7) Submissions must be made by the author of the short story.

8) There are no age restrictions.

9) When submitting, please include a short covering letter including your contact details, your name and the title of your story.

10) The first page should include the title of the story and the number of words.

11) All submissions should include page numbers.

12) Entries will accepted via email thealpehstore@gmail.com . Please put SUBMISSION in the subject. Submissions must be in one of the following formats: .pdf.

13) Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.

14) No editorial feedback will be provided.

15) Only submissions which meet all Terms and Conditions will be considered.

 

More details here: http://thealeph.limitedrun.com/

 

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Lessons in Small-Garden Design From 11 English Entryways

I cannot fail to be impressed by these imaginative uses for small spaces, poetry in planting.

ravenhawks' magazine

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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.

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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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In aid of a good cause, one for the diary

WRITING COMPETITION IN AID OF THE MICHAEL MULLAN CANCER FUND.

Michael Mullan (26) is battling cancer for third time and needs funds to continue availing of life saving treatment in Boston that is not available in Ireland.

HOW TO ENTER

  • Email your short story, flash fiction or poetry entry to: mmcancerfundwritingcompetition@gmail.com.
  • Pay: PayPal.Me/mmcancerfund or by clicking here. Donations in excess of the stipulated entry fee would be most welcome for this deserving cause.

  • Competition is open in Ireland and internationally.

  • Longlist of top 20 authors will be published on www.michaelmullancancerfund.com in mid-August 2018.

  • Shortlist of top 6 authors will be published in early September.

  • Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at Kildare Readers Festival on 3rd October 2018.

  • Please read the Terms & Conditions before entering: Terms & Conditions

From ShortStops

Writing Competition: Short Story, Flash Fiction, Poetry

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