*** SHORT STORY COMPETITION CLOSED MIDNIGHT FRIDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2015***
Everyone has a novel in them.Â How many times do we hearÂ this phrase? Or knowÂ someone who wants to be the next John Grisham, JK Rowling, or EL James?
There is an aura of the exotic around the novelist or poet, up in their fabled lonely garret, scribbling down their great thoughts or sighing over writerâ€™s block.
â€˜Exotic?â€™ says Marianne Wheeleghan, local author of The Blue Suitcase, and the Scottish Lady Detective series (see Suse Coon’s reviews inÂ our Books section) â€˜I would call being a writer lots of things, but exotic isnâ€™t one of them.â€™ Inspiring. Frustrating. Self-indulgent. Relentless, are some of the words she does use.Â Writing, according to Marianne, really is ten percent talent and ninety per cent perseverance.
She should know.Â As well as writing her best-selling novels, Marianne is the owner and principal of the online Creative Writing School, www.writingclasses.co.ukÂ Based in Leith, since Marianne established the school in 2003, she has had hundreds of virtual students. As Marianne explains:Â â€˜Three times a year, we present courses in short fiction, novel writing, poetry and magazine article writing.Â Each runs for ten weeks under the guidance of tutors who are, themselves, accomplished writers as well as experienced educators. As for our students, they come from around the world and from all walks of life and are artists, builders, cleaners, doggy-walkers, nurses, journalists, teachers, hairdressers and tree surgeonsâ€¦â€™
Whilst some of these students are writing for pleasure, others want to learn the craft for more professional reasons, and Marianne has an impressive alumni of published writers who started out with www.writingclasses.co.uk Â One such person is Kendra Olson, author of The Forest Kingâ€™s Daughter, currently available as an eBook, who also went on to complete an MLitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. (Regular readers of our Books section will also know her as one of our most popular reviewers).Â Kendra believes that her time with writingclasses was instrumental in shaping her success, â€˜Before I wrote my novel, The Forest King’s Daughter, I took several writing classes through writingclassesÂ These allowed me to develop my skills in an inspirational and nurturing environment. They also gave me the motivation to continue writing. Without their guidance, I would not be a published novelist today.â€™
From blogging, to tweeting, to having an authorâ€™s page on Facebook, for Kendra, one of the best spin-offs from social media is the thriving online writing community: â€˜Iâ€™ve found so much support and friendship from ex-students and other writers Iâ€™ve met through these forums,â€™ she says. One of Kendra’s student colleagues was Claire Morley, whose debut novel, Tindog Tacloban is featured now in our Book Review section.
So, can any of us learn to be the next Ian Rankin?Â â€˜There is no mystery to being a good writer,â€™ Marianne Â believes, â€˜and writing is not the prerogative of a chosen gifted few, but something all of us can learn to do, and do well â€“ if we want to.â€™
And to encourage those who do want to, Marianne is offering one would-be writer, a free place on their choice of writingclasses.co.uk courses, beginning in January 2016, with two further people receiving a professional critique on one of their stories.
Write a short story (500 words maximum) on the theme of â€˜Homeâ€™. You may interpret this in any way you wish, but you MUST include the line â€˜Thereâ€™s no place like homeâ€™ somewhere in your story.
Closing date is Friday 13th November 2015.
Winners will be announced on Thursday 17th December 2015.
You may enter up to THREE stories (each must be sent separately) which are original and unpublished in any format.
Entries are welcome from everyone over 16 â€“ you do NOT have to be Scottish or live in Scotland or the Lothians to enter.
There is no entry fee.
Entries cannot be acknowledged or returned so please keep a copy. The judgeâ€™s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
1ST Prize â€“ A place on your choice of courses at www.writingclasses.co.uk starting in January 2016.
Two Runner-Up Prizes â€“ Professional Critique of your story from Marianne Wheelaghan.
All three stories will be published in Lothian Life in January 2016.
(There are no cash alternatives)
The competition will be judged by Marianne Wheelaghan.Â Entries will be shortlisted by Kendra Olson and Anne Hamilton (Editor at Lothian Life and writingclasses tutor).
HOW TO ENTER
Entries must be written in English and sent as a Word attachment to an email (sorry, no postal entries) to firstname.lastname@example.org with â€˜Writing Competitionâ€™ in the subject line.
In the body of the email, please write only your name, the name of your story and the word count.
Attach a cover sheet to your story which also states only your name, the name of your story and the word count.Â All entries will be judged anonymously so no identifying details (e.g. your name or address) should appear anywhere on the story itself.
Please number your pages and make sure the title of your story is on each page.
Find out more about the judges:
@mwheelaghan Â Â Â Â @solovewriting