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The Listening Post in your Living Room

The Listening Post has been invited to join The Wandsworth Arts Fringe – in your Living Room!
Follow this link to listen to a “curated aural exhibition” of thirteen short stories (one of them by me!) read in the authors’ own voices set to sounds by composer and musician Lucy Claire. Authors include: Jess Kidd, Christina Lovey, Owen Lowery, Sonia Overall, Peggy Riley and Philip Whiteley, Helen Atkinson, Susan Emm, Amanda Jones, Sue McClymont, Elizabeth Scrase.

Listen in! There’s a new story each day of the festival at 3.30pm – or you can binge on them anytime from the website!

The Stay-at-Home Literary Fringe Festival

It’s time for a festival! I’m delighted to be a part of this brand new fringe festival, produced by MA students at the University of Glasgow as a response to the Stay-at-Home Literary Festival. Organised by author Carolyn Jess-Cooke, it was the first of what will surely be a full summer of lockdown lit events, open and accessible to all. The Stay-at-Home Literary Fringe Festival features masterclasses, writing workshops, talks and open mic events. I’m particularly delighted to see events with friends from Canterbury Christ Church, alumna of our Creative Writing MA, Charlotte Hartley-Jones, and a lockdown psychogeographical workshop with author and colleague, Sonia Overall. It’s a full programme – jump in and get involved!

For the past year, I’ve been running a free writing group at Canterbury Christ Church, The Writing Circle. Throughout the festival, The Writing Circle will pop up from its usual home on campus to become an online writing space with prompts, free writing exercises, and ideas to get you writing your heart out. If you want to join in – follow this link to RSVP.

The festival takes place 27 April – 16 May 2020: The Writing Circle happens on Wednesdays 29 April, 6 May & 13 May, 2 – 3 PM. See you in the Circle!

#bookgame

Boy, howdy, these are strange days. We used to dance every time we heard the word “unprecedented”, until our hips went out. But the wonderful Foyle’s Bookshop is trying to cheer us all up with their pun-tastic weekly Twitter book game. And today – I am the winner!

Want to play? Jump in next Friday – see you on Twitter!

You’re Invited!

Greetings from the virus bunker! As public events are being cancelled around the world, so has been the launch for our upcoming anthology, The Best Most Awful Job. No matter – the launch has moved on line… and you’re invited! Join us on Twitter, Thursday 19 March, 7:30 – 8:30 pm GMT. See you there – at a safe and appropriate distance!

The Best Most Awful Job

I’m delighted to be a part of this new anthology, published 19 March 2020. The Best Most Awful Job features 20 brand new essays, covering the whole spectrum of mothering, including – in my case – being mothered, being unbothered, and being unable to mother. My essay is pretty brutal, according to editor Katherine May, but it’s a new way of working for me – and I’m proud to be in such great company at Elliot & Thompson Books. Here’s a little press about the writers, and here’s a link to an online shop. Three cheers for new anthologies – hip hip!

Flash Fiction and where to send it

Recently, I ran a flash fiction workshop for WhitLit’s Write Mind, a new initiative linking the act of writing with wellbeing. For the workshop, we looked at dribbles and rabbles (50 word & 100 word stories – title not included) as well as their longer-worded cousins, as a way to get started with getting our work out into the world. (This is not to imply that flash fiction is somehow “easier” to write than longer pieces – far from it – but the form seems particularly suited to giving opportunities for new writers, as there are so many festivals and on-line sites that actively want submissions.) As I promised the workshop participants a round-up of upcoming deadlines for flash fiction – here it is!

My workshop took place during the Flash Fiction Festival, run by Bath Flash Fiction. Bath has upcoming deadlines for flash fiction (a 300 word limit, which is called a trabble) on 13 October 2019 and novellas-in-flash (a short novella, not more than 18K with each flash no more than 1K) on 12 January 2020. Of their work, Bath Flash Fiction Festival says: Our goal is promote flash fiction for both writers and readers and to bring the genre to a wider audience. Running a three-times-a-year rolling flash fiction award with substantial prizes and chance of publication gives writers a big incentive to create great flash. And our new novella-in-flash award provides the opportunity to have a longer work released in a quality publication.
They also run Ad Hoc Fiction, which offers a weekly (and free) micro fiction competition as well as novellas-in-flash publications. Why not send them something? Follow the links to learn more about deadlines, guidelines & entry fees – a thorny issue for writers. (But publishers are aware that entry fees are not doable for many writers – many competitions have subsidised or free spots – and Reflex Fiction below offers a “choose your own fee” – surely, this is the way of the future!)

New Flash Fiction Review is the portal for the Anton Chekhov Price for Very Short Fiction, judged by Angela Readman. Submissions 800 words or fewer. There’s a 15 July deadline – be quick! 

Here’s a link to The MsLexia Flash Fiction Award: Submit your best trabbles (300 word stories) before 30 September 2019.  Sorry/not sorry this is women only. Placing 3rd in a MsLexia short story contest gave me a real boost, when I was starting out, and there will always be acreage in my heart for MsLexia.

Reflex Fiction runs the quarterly Reflex Flash Fiction Competition which lets writers “choose their own fee” for submissions – a great idea! Reflex is ALWAYS accepting submissions with a rolling series of deadlines for their contests – and they publish a story every day! Still trying to figure out what flash fiction “is”? Check out this Reflex page.

Best Micro-Fiction is an anthology, looking for work with fewer than 400 words.  Accepting submissions until 1 December 2019.  

The on-line flash-fiction magazine SmokeLong Quarterly publishes stories weekly & quarterly.   They accept submissions for work under 1000 words for publication – as well as for the prestigious Smokelong Quarterly Award – be sure to check early 2020 for details about that. Smokelong is a terrific resource of stories, demonstrating what flash fiction is & can do, as well as interviews with writers.   

Can you write a story in fewer than 40 words using the prompt “milk moustache?”  Then the One Sentence Story Contest is for you! Enter by 8 September.  

Paragraph Planet publishes 75 word stories – on-line, every day!   
Every Day Fiction:  features “bite sized stories for a busy world”, taking submissions under 1000 words.

National Flash Fiction Day may be over, but NFFD are already planning for 2020. There’s plenty of time to write your dribbles and drabbles – and submit!

Writing What If…

Today we wrote about magic – through objects like some of the ones you see here: ordinary trinkets filled with mystical powers, talismans to guide protagonists through improbable, imaginary worlds. There were magic cats and rebel angels, split geodes that turned into cradles. We talked about how senses root a character in time and place, but also give them histories and memories, rich backstories that can be “held” in a magical object that they can draw on when things get tough. And they do, when you’re “what if-ing.” We made a list of unlikely scenarios of what would happen next. What if the ground becomes toxic and your characters have to take to the trees – with a silver walnut? What if a magic circle opens in a ruined world and offers you a way out? Today’s writers left with portals, ways in to new characters and stories.

We didn’t have enough time – there never is! – to cover every concern of every writer. And when we’re writing – or wanting to – we always have concerns: is this right, am I good, why can’t I finish, what am I doing? However, we did talk about where ideas come from – they are all around us, if we can stay open to them. We talked about how to build stamina (or, as some called it, discipline): for this, I always recommend “morning pages” – follow thishttps://peggyriley.com/2019/04/04/time-for-morning-pages/ follow the link to read more about their magic.

Next week, we’ll be working on the “short-short story” in my last workshop for Write Mind & Whitstable Lit. Why not join in?

Daily Prompts

Could you use some daily prompts for your morning pages? Following on from our recent morning pages workshops, let me introduce you to Dr. Julie: her site, Dr. Julie Journaling (for wellbeing and success) features daily prompts that you might use as inspiration for your own writing. You can subscribe to receive them in your inbox – or visit her whenever you need a new idea.

You can also work with her at Margate Bookie’s Write Up: Why not give her a try?

Characters Sparking Joy: Writing Experiment No. 71 — Andrew Wille

Following on from the Character Questionnaire exercise that came out of last week’s masterclass, here is another writing experiment to help think about characterisation. Your character is decluttering with Marie Kondo. Which of their possessions still spark joy, and are kept? Which do they thank for their service and donate to Oxfam? What do they junk…

via Characters Sparking Joy: Writing Experiment No. 71 — Andrew Wille

Faversham Lit Fest

Faversham’s new festival is back for it’s second year!

Running a bit behind on updating my workshop schedule here – but this is a head’s up for an upcoming editing workshop: The End – Hurrah! – Now What? It’s on Saturday 16 February, 3 – 4:30. Along with Sue Bassett, Director of the Kent Festival of Writing, we’ll look at approaching the editing process from macro to micro – and get you editing in the room. Want to know more? Here’s the full line-up. Book your spot here:


This is only one of a whole range of workshops, from writing with the senses to the art of memoir with the marvellous Marnie Summerfield Smith. The Faversham Literary Festival is in its second year – and it’s a corker. The festival proper runs the following weekend – here’s a link to the weekend’s schedule:

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