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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Writing – research – Writers’ Forum

On 8 September I looked at sources of advice for budding writers and mentioned the UK’s Writing Magazine. The other major periodical in the UK for writers is Writers’ Forum.  This is a monthly glossy also. Their strapline is ‘How to write; what to write; where to sell it.’ Its cover price is £3.60 (12-issue UK subscriptions are available; also elsewhere, varying for Europe and rest of world).

In the 68 pages of a recent issue (October) you will find articles from published authors, writing groups, writing exercises, insight into aspects of the publishing industry, freelance markets, a story competition and results of an earlier competition, readers’ letters, and a competition calendar, among other things! So there’s plenty to peruse and much that can offer advice, solace, encouragement and even target markets.

I have had a couple of articles accepted in the past, though the majority of features are provided by regulars; still worth a try, though.

Also, if you send them short news items for their pages, either researched directly by you or sourced from press released or publications and rewritten for the magazine, and in return you’ll get a byline and the best will win a free year’s subscription. Items should be under 200 words, useful, interesting or amusing to writers:

The featured author interview is with Tarn Richardson who, after 20 years of trying, finally found his voice with his horror novel, The Damned, selling it to Duckworth Overlook, an independent publisher of long standing. Worth bearing in mind that Duckworth published World War Z, which was made into a riveting movie starring Brad Pitt.

There’s advice on polishing your work. Believe me, many writers spend too little time on self-editing. Some simply expect that the publisher’s editor will do that editing bit; well, only if there are no glaring errors or inconsistencies in the original submission, otherwise that will get rejected.

Another writer explains that when writing his pocket novel, the last part to be written was the beginning. Note that he wrote this under a female penname. This is a useful tip: don’t get bogged down with your beginning – it just might change or be shunted into chapter two once the book is finished! I’ve written often about beginnings as they’re important. The primary purpose is to hook the reader; how you do that will depend on the type of story you’re telling.

Yet another article tackles ‘how to break into vampire tales’ and the writer talks to three authors about this: Suzanne McLeod, Mark Jackman and Amanda Grange. A while back, the same writer asked me how I broke into westerns, along with two other authors.
Della Galton, a highly respected multi-published writer of short stories and novels runs a regular advice page; one of her tips to a writer is: read the target magazine you’re aiming at. She also pines for the old marketplace, when there were about 80-plus women’s magazines featuring fiction; now, there are about seven open to the freelance!
The short story competition is not expensive to enter: £6 or £3 per story for subscribers. The prizes are £300, £150 and £100. Enter by going to or post a coupon from the magazine. The three winning stories are all published in a subsequent magazine with the judge’s comments on the winners.
There is also a poetry workshop and a competition - £4 per poem. Regular contributor Phil Barrington always ends the magazine with a first-person piece from a writer – ‘Where I write’.

More than enough to get your teeth into every month!

Good luck with your writing.






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