Here’s a nice contrast to the competition I mentioned last week about death and dying.
Brian David from the CheerReader website has asked me to give their quarterly short story competitions a mention – and they want stories that will make the reader laugh.
The theme for each competition is – anything, as long as it’s funny. 100 Euros is the prize on offer for the winner in each of the 4 competitions. The winner plus commended stories will be published on the website.
The maximum word count is 1500 and the entry fee is 5 Euros (payable via PayPal). The closing dates are March 15th 2012, June 15th 2012, September 15 th 2012 and December 15th 2012. Winners will be announced 2 weeks after each closing date.
There are plenty of stories on the website to give you an idea of what goes down well with the organisers. Have a look here.
The full competition details are here.
I was one of the many who received a Kindle for Christmas and one of the first books I downloaded was Linda Lewis’ new book How To Make £10 in Ten Minutes. Linda is a prolific Womag writer, competition judge, columnist etc.
Her book is short and to the point. It gives useful advice on how to find the material that the weekly women’s magazines (and to a lesser extent other publications) thrive on. For instance, lots of magazines pay for Tips that either save money or make life easier – but how do you find tips to submit? Linda explains.
I was tempted by the book because you can download the first chapter for free, which I did. After reading it, I decided it was worth paying 89p to read the rest. Now all I need is one successful submission following Linda’s advice and I’ll be quids in!
By the way, did anyone else see the bit in the news that said around 20% of those who received a Kindle for Christmas haven’t used it? In contrast, only 9% of iPads have remained unused – probably because you don’t buy someone an iPad ‘on spec’. If I was spending all that money I’d want to be sure that it was something the recipient actually wanted!
Can you guess what the most unused present was? Smellies and toiletries.
Read the full story here.
The 5 word sentence, where each of the 5 words is identical is:
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
The meaning is:
Buffalo buffalo (i.e. buffalo that live in Buffalo) buffalo (i.e a verb meaning to intimidate or fight) Buffalo buffalo (i.e. buffalo that live in Buffalo).
Whilst we’re on the subject of short pieces of writing, here are a couple of flash fiction competitions:
- Early Works Press are offering £75 first prize plus two runners-up prizes of £10 for a 100-word story. Entry is £3.50 and the closing date is 31/8/2012. Full details here.
- Multi-Story want 600 words and offer prizes of £300, £100 and £50 for an entry fee of £5 (or £8 for 2 stories). It’s an open theme and the closing date is 29th February 2012. Full details are here.
Here’s a challenge that my sister-in-law set me at Christmas – I failed miserably but I’m sure you can do better.
Can you create a 5-word sentence where each of the 5 words is exactly the same?
Here’s a clue – the word has 3 different meanings within the sentence, it is used as a verb, a noun and a proper noun. The word is spelt the same each time it is used.
I’ll post the answer on Wednesday (if you use the box on the right to subscribe to this blog via email, the answer will automatically arrive in your inbox as soon as it’s posted – it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time).
In the meantime if you’re running out of inspiration for your writing, take a look at Sally Quilford’s blog. She’s currently running a challenge to write 100,000 words in 100 days – not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for me! But to help those who are up to the challenge she is posting a selection of writing prompts each day. Many of them are quite inspiring and could easily trigger a short story or a poem. Why not nip over there, choose a prompt and get writing!
Over the last couple of weeks the computer gremlins have invaded our household, throwing up the ‘blue screen of death‘
on the desktop PC and various funnies/frozen screens on my daughters’ laptops. This made me nervous and I decided we needed to have a proper back up copy of everything. I’ve mentioned the importance of regular backups before on this blog (see here) but I’ve still been bumbling along with a memory stick for documents and the occasional backup of photos to CD when we remember to do it.
So off we went to buy an external hard drive. But the nice man in the shop talked us out of it and into buying a Cloud back up instead. This would mean we could access our data from any PC, it would be equivalent to an ‘off-site’ backup and my elder daughter wouldn’t have to cart yet another bit of kit off to university with her. It seemed a great idea so we bought it and set it to save everything that was on my elder daughter’s laptop – music, photos, university work etc.
It took hours and hours and hours and sent us way over our internet usage allowance (I suppose if I’d thought about it I would have realised this would be the case). Then we had trouble trying to determine whether the scheduled hourly scan & save for changed documents was actually happening. I tried phoning the Cloud support line but a machine told me all queries must be logged via the website.
We concluded the Cloud was a bad idea and went back to the original, external drive idea for the other PCs. It was so much easier! A few ‘copy and pastes’ and everything was saved and we could easily see it was there.
I’ve previously used the limited free cloud storage provided by Dropbox (and recommended by Simon Whaley) for some of my documents and will carry on using it. But it seems to me that if you have large amounts of pictures or music then an external hard drive is the better choice (especially since they don’t tend to change very often and it’s easy to remember to back them up each time you download a new bunch of photos or an album).
Does anyone else have experience of Cloud backup – am I the only one that struggled with it?
Gail Lawler has asked me to give a mention to the Valentine’s Day short story competition that she is running through the website www.5minutefiction.co.uk. Entries should be on the subject of ‘Love’ and must be between 100 and 1,500 words in length.
The entry fee is £1 per story and the prizes are Amazon vouchers to the value of £30, £20 and £10 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively. These 3 winners, plus up to 20 additional entries, will be considered for publication in an e-book anthology and will receive a share of the royalties. The rules also state that ‘all entries will receive feedback’.
Entry is via email and the entry fee is payable via PayPal. Closing date is 5th February 2012 and the winning stories will be published on the website on 14th February 2012.
I’m sure that most of us have written a story at sometime on the theme of love, so with such a reasonable entry fee, now is the time to dig it out, polish it up and send it on its way!
But first check out the full terms and conditions here.