That’s what we used to say up north on the first day of a new month. When I moved darn sarf I learned the pinch punch thing but oop north it was always about white rabbits. I expect both go back millennia and are something to do with pre-Christian beliefs. Maybe white rabbits were lucky and maybe pinching and punching stopped devils from getting in. Either way traditions are funny things – we do them without thinking very often, without really knowing their origins, like scoffing choccie at Easter or hanging lights up at Christmas, and when we don’t exactly know the reasons why, often we just enjoy the moment instead of asking questions. That’s why on this May Day of new beginnings, I’m going to repurpose this blog. It started when I started doing creative writing five years ago as a sort of personal record of my progress doing courses at the OU and learning how to write (I didn’t actually make it visible until 2016). Now that I’ve been published hither and yon and won some comps and got me masters I think tis maybe time to do something a little less self-centred, so starting this month I’m going to change emphasis a wee bit and blog about things like submissions, applications (for both PhDs and literary jobs) competition entries, courses, talks and giving writerly feedback to other people, in the hope it may provide information, insight and support for others thinking of walking the same path.
But first here is a link to a story that was shortlisted and then published by Writers HQ this month as part of their first ever quarterly competition. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. . https://writershq.co.uk/how-to-keep-the-hunger-at-bay-jan-Kaneen/
This month I’ve mostly entered comps that are voted for, either by participants, or by readers and participants. The first is Ad Hoc Fiction – my old fave. I won this bi-weekly comp ages ago then sort of fell off the wagon of doing it, well yesterday I fell back on again. Its a really fab free comp that gets you entry into Bath Flash comp if you win. Here’s the link if you fancy it. You get a prompt and 150 words and readers who chance that way (as well as participants) vote for their faves and the winner is the one with the most votes. Writer’s aren’t allowed to identify their entries online so its voted for ‘blind.’ It really is great fun. Here’s the link to the submission pages https://adhocfiction.com/submit/
This month I’ve also entered, for the first time, another free comp for drabbles (100 word flash fictions) @writingwriters_ This is also voted for rather than judged by a judge though writers can identify their stories on social media and the like to up their chances of winning. I’m not going to though as I just watch the process play out. Here’s the link to entering next month’s comp if you fancy giving it a whirl. There’s a cash prize of £35 https://www.writingwriters.net/p/drabble.html
I’ve also entered one paid-for comp, ‘Sixfold’ with a short story this time. Sixfold is a quarterly comp that works like this: you enter agreeing to stick to the three-part voting/feedback process, if at any time you don’t get the feedback done by the given deadline your own entry is withdrawn and you can’t win the prize. This is what they say:
In round 1, 6 writer-voters compare your manuscript (and everyone else’s) to 5 other manuscripts, rank-voting them as Best, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th. (Each manuscript is compared to 30 others by 6 different readers.) Each manuscript’s voting score average is averaged and compared to all others, and then the highest-voted one-third of manuscripts advances to the next round. Round 2 manuscripts go on to receive 18 readers and 90 comparisons, and the highest-voted one-third advances to round 3. Round 3 manuscripts receive 54 readers and 270 comparisons. Each manuscript completing round 3 is read and rank-voted by 78 different writer-voters, with a grand total of 390 comparisons to other manuscripts. So much reading and comparing is the most thorough consideration of your manuscript available.
It costs $5 to enter and I thought this would be a really interesting comp to be part of, vis a vis, getting feedback will be useful (hopefully) to improve the submission for future comps, and also it feels inclusive and different. The deadline is gone for now fiction wise, but here’s the link to the site should you fancy it next quarter. They also do a separate poetry competition. https://www.sixfold.org/howitworks.html#deadlines I’ll feedback in future blogs what it was like being part of each of these.