Most of us a probably familiar with the Haiku poetic form (even if, like me, you can never remember exactly how many syllables there should be) but have you heard of the Haibun?
According to the leaflet for the British Haiku Awards 2011, a Haibun must contain at least 100 words of prose plus at least one haiku, and must not exceed 2,500 words in length. The haibun should be given a title. Examples of Haibun can be found here.
It looks a pretty challenging form of poetry (and prose).
There is £125 first prize in both the Haiku and Haibun sections of the awards. The Haiku section also has two runners-up prizes of £50 and the leaflet states ‘as the number of entries for the haibun category increases it is hoped eventually to bring this into line with the haiku category and award runner-up prizes as well’. I take it that this means there are fewer entries for the haibun – so it may well be worth having a go! Closing date is 31 January 2012 and full details are on the website.
In case you’re wondering, the picture is the grave stone of Yosa Buson, a Japanese Haiku poet.
After a dearth of acceptances over the summer months I’ve had four bits of good news in three days:
- Writers’ Forum have accepted an article that I first pitched to them back in July.
- I have a short story in this week’s Weekly News (dated 24th September). Thanks to Julia for letting me know it had been published and to Helen Yendall, my writing buddy, for giving the story the once-over before I sent it.
- I have won the Friends of Morley Literature Festival short story competition. This was a free to enter competition (which we like!) with a £50 first prize. There is also a prize-giving in Morley, near Leeds – I’m still working on the logistics of attending that. The 2012 short story competition is now open and entry forms are available via email from the organisers. Details are here.
- I have been asked to write for the Work Your Way magazine website. I mentioned this magazine on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It’s a new publication aimed at entrepreneurial/self-employed mums.
So at the moment my head’s buzzing and I feel great! But now I need to get some more work out there in the hope of getting this ‘high’ feeling again in the future. So I’m trying to learn from these acceptances.
Writers’ Forum taught me not to be afraid to chase an editor if he doesn’t reply to a pitch within a reasonable time – the summer holidays meant time was short and things were overlooked.
The Weekly News story was written from a male point of view and involved sport. This may have increased its chances of success in a publication read by both sexes.
My competition win shows that there’s nothing to lose and everything to be gained by sending off an entry to a free competition. For more free competitions check out Patsy Collins’ blog.
The offer from Work Your Way came about because once I’d had one article accepted by the magazine, I went back to the editor with another idea before she had time to forget who I was! Now I have to get my thinking cap on and come up with several more ideas – it feels quite scary to be put on the spot!
Chapter 2 deals with targeting the right sort of competitions to increase your chances of success. Iain and Alison advise a few ways of doing this:
- Forget the big internationals and concentrate on small competitions that will attract fewer entrants. Not many of us are likely to get anywhere in something like the Bridport but we might stand a chance of being placed in a local writing competition. I would much rather win a book token in a small competition than see my entry disappear into the black hole of well-publicised literary contest.
- Choose a competition with a difficult theme – this will put many entrants off because it’s too much of a challenge and a previously written story can’t be recycled to fit the subject. Competitions with an open theme attract the most entrants.
- Try competitions where entry is limited by the rules – for example competitions restricted to unpublished writers or to writers of a certain age or to those living in a specified area
Iain and Alison also advise targeting contests where the entry fee is high compared to the prize fund. This is because we are all naturally mean and therefore the number of entrants will be low. I’m afraid my own natural meanness won’t let me endorse this advice but I can see that there is logic in this method of choosing where to send your work. So if you’re not as tight with money as me, you might want to try it.
And speaking of relatively small competitions (& I don’t mean that in a derogatory way), Bev Morley is running a short story competition on the theme of ‘Christmas’ via her blog. First, second and third prizes are £50, £25 and £10 respectively plus publication in a Kindle anthology, up to 12 further stories will also be included in the anthology. The word limit is 3,000 and closing date 30th September. Entry by email only and the fee is £3. Full details are here.
‘Writing Competitions – the way to win’ is worth a read if you want to increase your chances of success in competitions.
The launch issue of Work Your Way Magazine dropped through my letter box recently. It’s a quarterly magazine aimed at freelance, self-employed and entrepreneurial mums – categories that lots of us writers fall into.
In her first ‘Letter from the Editor’, Mary Cummings describes the magazine as a ‘celebration of all you fabulous mums who have split the nine to five office scene and are now working from home’.
Mary has used a variety of freelance contributors (I know because I am one!) to source the wide range of features in the magazine. The areas covered include:
- Family - features on Raising Confident Kids, Parenting a Child with Special Needs and A Day in the Life of a Freelance Mum
- Work - features on Coaching To Help You Move Forward, Good Customer Care and an interview with Carol Savage of mydish.co.uk, who secured a £100,000 investment from Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den
- Top Tips - features on How Much Should I Charge?, Blog for Business (that’s me!) and Cash in Your Bookcase
- Health and Well-being – features on A Good Night’s Sleep, What to Avoid When Working from Home and Yoga
Work Your Way features in Writing Magazine this month (October 2011 issue) as a case study for Elaine Everest’s article How to Set Up a Start-up. In it Mary describes how she got the magazine off the ground.
If you fancy getting your hands on a copy of Work Your Way and picking up some useful information about the freelance life, visit the website for details of how to subscribe.
I had my bike ride – it was across the Golden Gate Bridge & I had my icecream – in the heart of San Francisco. (Apologies for the white lie about my holiday but I’m currently wrangling with my car insurance over the theft of my car a few weeks ago and it made me feel vulnerable about announcing to the world that the house would be empty.)
Amongst many other things we visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It contains a video installation that explores the art of story telling ‘without a beginning or an end and with no character or plot development’. I’m sure if we tried this as writers our work would be swiftly rejected. Maybe it’s different in the art world…
I also bought a copy of the US writing magazine ‘Writer’s Digest’. It seemed quite thin compared to our own Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum but there are a few things of interest on its website:
- A series of writing prompts – responses of up to 500 words can be posted on the site or you could just use them to kick-start your own writing
- Various competitions such as one here for a 1500 word story.
- Writing Tips
- Writing articles cargorised by genre such as Romance, Horror, Memoir etc.
So, if you fancy an insight into the US writing scene, take a look at the site.