Fletchski has a new site!

Greetings all you wonderful Lobsterites.

I’ve a lovely new blog over at http://fletchski.wordpress.com Why don’t you pop over and have a look at all the stuff I’ve been up to lately?


Submissions needed from Outsider Writers

NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) are looking for articles on working with young people outside of the classroom for their next newsletter. I will be co-editing the newsletter, so have a look through the guidelines below and get in touch.

It can seem that creativity is a dirty word these days, unless it involves accounting, and that the ability to memorise facts has overtaken the need to be innovative and inventive, but we know better than that. We know that NAWE members are out there, delivering challenging and inspired activities behind enemy lines, as it were, right under the noses of the wrote learners and table memorisers. We want to hear from you inspired foot soldiers. We want to hear about your successes, your failures; about activities you’ve tried, after school clubs you’ve lead; workshops in the community; online development; activities in school that are outside the curriculum; in fact, anything that gives young people an insight into the incredible, diverse world that is writing outside of the curriculum. We want articles, top tips, case studies, interviews, writing activities, advice and so on and they can be as inventive as you want. So feel free to submit a photo essay, comic strip, flow chart, haiku or any of the more traditional journalistic forms. Contact us with article proposals now!

This newsletter will be edited by Garrie Fletcher and Elisabeth Charis both are teachers and writers that work with young people outside of school.

Article submissions should be sent to editorial@nawe.co.uk as soon as possible. For anymore information please contact Elisabeth or Garrie via the NAWE email above.

The NAWE website can be found NAWE

10 to 1 Survival of the Lit(est)

Pigeon Park Press have set themselves a challenge: to produce a novel using ten authors over a year. Starting in May 2013 each of the ten authors will write a 1000 words on their character and each month a character will be voted off until only one is left.


This sounds like a very interesting project indeed, Big Brother meets Pulp Fiction (the cheap fiction magazines of the early 20th century not the Tarantino movie,) something that could be great fun and quite manageable, at only a 1000 words a month, the trick will be not getting voted off. So its a popularity contest for writers? Maybe not writers but definitely for writing. I imagine who ever writes the most engaging prose, with the most intriguing character, will win, although organisers have said that ‘cliff-hanger’ endings, to get readers voting for the next instalment, will not be allowed.

pigeon Park Press tested the water with this idea when they produced Full Fathom Five another collaborative novel that should be out early this year.


I think I’m going to throw my hat into the ring for this one, it sounds like fun and you never know I could be last writer standing?

Check out the Pigeon Park Press site for details and give it a go.

BBC National Short Story Award

This looks well worth having a go at, get typing!

BBC National Short Story Award 2013 returns

14 December 2012

After a year spanning the globe for the finest international talent, the BBC National Short Story Award returns for 2013 to celebrate the very best in home-grown short fiction.

The Award, now in its eighth year, is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning author receiving £15,000. The runner-up receives £3,000 and three further shortlisted authors £500 each.

Journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup will chair the judging panel, joined by novelist and short story writer Mohsin Hamid, novelist and short story writer Peter Hobbs, screenwriter, novelist and short story writer Deborah Moggach, and BBC Radio Editor of Readings Di Speirs.

Submissions for the Award are now open, from publishers, agents and published authors from the UK; please pass this message onto colleagues and your authors. The closing date for entries is 10am on 11 March 2013. Read the terms and conditions and entry guidelines carefully and submit your story in a Word document, along with a completed entry form. The maximum length for the short story is 8,000 words.

For all the info just click on the link below.

BBC National Short Story Award

Top Ten Tolkien

Another great article I’ve found today. This one is from the Bestseller Labs blog written by Jonathan Gunson. Whilst the piece focuses on Tolkien the writing tips are universal. Once again I’ll post a link to the original blog at the end of a short extract.

J.R.R Tolkien’s vast, sweeping stories have captured readers’ imaginations for decades. What are the secrets of his craft?

The answer to this question is the subject of today’s guest post by Roger Colby, author and English teacher. Roger imagined what it would have been like to have met Tolkien, sat down with the master and learned from him.

Over to Roger…

Roger Colby ‘meets’ J J R Tolkien
I have long been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. Every year, when school dismisses for summer break, I read The Lord of the Rings. This year I will read it to my children and do all the voices for them. Tolkien was a brilliant writer, but what if we could sit down with him and ask him any question we wanted? What if he could give writers advice about their own writing from his years of experience as an incredible storyteller?

This is possible if we read his letters. I have a musty old book entitled ‘The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien’, edited by Humphrey Carpenter. I once spent the better part of a month reading it cover to cover and underlining every instance where the master of Middle Earth wrote about his process.

What follows are the best of those notes – Tolkien’s Top Ten Tips For Writers

1. Vanity Is Useless

Tolkien writes in a letter to Sir Stanley Unwin on 31 July 1947

“…I certainly hope to leave behind me the whole thing [LOTR] revised and in final form, for the world to throw into the waste-paper basket. All books come there in the end, in this world, anyway” (121).

The Lord of the Rings has a worldwide following, has inspired films, video games, animated features, songs, poetry, fan fiction and countless other things, yet its author felt that in reality it may not be that important to the world.

There are several other instances where he writes to people about how humble he feels about the things he writes and that they are not really life changing at all, but simply imaginings “from my head”. In Tolkien’s opinion, The Hobbit was published out of sheer “accident”, as he had passed it around to a few close friends, one of them being C.S. Lewis.

Finally (and lucky for us) an Oxford graduate, Susan Dagnall, who worked for the London publishing house of Allen & Unwin, encouraged him to submit it for publication. He did, and there are pages of letters where he struggles with the process of publication. He was not, in any way, a vain man, especially about his writing.

2. Keep a Stiff Upper Lip

In another letter to Sir Stanley Unwin dated July 21, 1946, Tolkien lists a mound of personal struggles he was facing: being ill, being overworked and missing his son Christopher who was away in the Royal Navy. He put many of his struggles aside, though, and went to writing.

He had to balance his day job with his desire to write epic stories set in Middle Earth. He found time. He made time. It took him 7 years to write The Hobbit. (117) The thing that he writes about most in this period is his struggle to get the work finished on his novels and to balance teaching and his many duties at Oxford College. Apparently he found a way.

The rest of this article can be found here.

Five minutes with (Sir) Andrew Motion

I’ve nicked this straight from the BBC site. It’s well worth five minutes of your time to hear him talk about the distinction between prose and poetry and why he thinks poetry is still the most powerful art form. Click on the link below to go to the BBC site. It seems the Beeb wont allow me to share their vids.

Sir Andrew Motion.

There’s also a great one with Philip Pulman where he talks about who he writes for and what’s important to him as a writer. Some nice slagging off of the UK’s restrictive National Curriculum in schools as well.

Philip Pullman.

Short Story Competition for Arc Magazine

I’ve grabbed this info straight from the Arc website. Sorry it’s a bit late but I’ve been busy escaping snow and finishing my entry.

Arc, in collaboration with The Tomorrow Project, is looking for new, original stories – between 3000 and 5000 words – set in the near future. What do we mean by that? Near enough to be recognisable, but not so near as to be boring. Technology, in whatever guise – from robotics 
to synthetic biology to geoengineering – 
should feature prominently, but we’re looking for stories, not theses, and the human element will have to be compelling. The current theme for submissions 

You’ll find our own approaches to that theme throughout 
Arc 1.1. Distinctive, thoughtful visions inspired by this theme are more likely to be successful, so it’s very important that you follow the first rule of writing and read the magazine first! Issue 1.1 also explains the nature of the Arc-Tomorrow Project collaboration, which you might find useful too.

Arc’s editors will select one story for publication in the next issue, due out in May. We will pay £500 for that story and £200 for each of five shortlisted stories.

You retain all rights over your story until it’s selected as a winner or is shortlisted, at which time we’ll ask you to sign Arc‘s standard fiction agreement. The Tomorrow Project may also ask to use shortlisted stories to stimulate conversations about the future on its own website. All entries must adhere to the competition’s general terms and conditions. Entries must be received by 23:59 GMT on 8 April 2012 and only one submission is allowed per entrant.

The Arc/Tomorrow Project collaboration has been made possible by the sponsorship of Intel.