Wannabe a Writer?

Category: News – 12 Articles (Page 1/2)

A Problem Shared

Jane Wenham-Jones – agony aunt for Writing Magazine – gives advice on literary queries, writing worries and the obstacles faced by anyone hoping to be published.

A Problem Shared - Volume 1
A Problem Shared - Volume 2
A Problem Shared - Volume 3
A Problem Shared - Volume 4

The first volume is free to download from Amazon. Only 99p for the other volumes.

When Would You Like to Chat?

As some of you know, we have regular chats on Sundays at 10:30, UK time.

Since this may not be convenient for everyone, we plan to have another weekly session in addition to the Sunday one. As ever, it will be informal and friendly. We may even talk about writing!

Please let us know what day and time would suit you. You can leave a comment below, or send a message to wannabe@darkskipper.com.

What's Next?

What would you like to see here?

We're cooking up a number of ideas for new things on this website, including:

  • Interactive and collaborative facilities, such as:

    • Discussion forums,
    • Multiple chat rooms,
    • Members-only areas.
  • Specialised subject information. Examples include:

    • Business writing,
    • Children's fiction,
    • Crime,
    • Fantasy,
    • Journalism,
    • Non-fiction,
    • Novels,
    • Poetry,
    • Romantic fiction,
    • Science fiction,
    • Script writing,
    • Short stories,
    • Writing for magazines.

In the mean time, we invite you to give us your suggestions. Simply leave a comment below, or send a message to wannabe@darkskipper.com.

Please also let us know if you're interested in getting involved. Thanks and…

Keep on writing!

NAWG Open Competitions 2016

The annual open competitions from the National Association of Writers' Groups are now underway.

  • Closing date: 31st October 2016.
  • Categories:
    • Poetry,
    • Short story,
    • Novella – new for 2016.
  • Big prizes worth a total of £1,000.
  • Full details: www.nawg.co.uk/4813/.

Hourglass Literary Magazine Competitions

Hourglass Literary Magazine are running three competitions:

  • Best short story,
  • Best poem,
  • Best essay.

There is a summary on our competitions page, or you can see their website for full details.

Writing Courses at Chez Castillon

Chez Castillon with swimming pool

The following courses are held at Chez Castillion in the beautiful Dordogne region of south-west France. Places are limited so do book early.

Many of them are tutored by Jane Wenham-Jones.

(updated 18-Aug-2015) Course List

Venue Details

Chez Castillon,
7 Rue Victor Hugo,
33350 Castillon-la-Bataille,

For more information see www.chez-castillon.com.

Jane on Facebook

Jane has a new author page on facebook.


Please go over there and give her some "likes".

Never-ending Competition

The National Association of Writers' Groups launched the “100” competition in early April. The contest is one that NAWG chairman Pam Fish believes has the potential to be the longest-running one ever.

The 100 competition is a rolling, open, on-line writing contest for mini-tales of 100 words. It's made up of sequential rounds: when 100 entries have been received, a prize pot of £ 100 will be divided into a £ 75 first prize and a runner-up prize of £ 25. Then the next round will start and prizes will be awarded when another 100 entries have been accepted. Each round will have a different, but equally well-qualified, judge.

"I'm getting excited already; following the progress of what we are hoping will be a very popular contest, will be great fun," said Pam. "Who can't write 100 words? We believe this to be a unique approach to competitive writing and hope that all 'mini-tale' writers will join in and help to make this the longest-running writing competition ever."

To enter, mini-tales should be exactly 100 words, excluding the title. All mini-tales should be original, unpublished, and aimed at adult readers. Writers do not need to be NAWG members to enter. All submissions must be made through the NAWG web site, via the on-line submissions page.

There's a fee of £ 3 per entry (£ 5.50 for two, £ 8 for three) which may be paid by PayPal. Writers may enter as many times as they like and may win more than one prize.

Full details are on the NAWG web site.

The Wannabe a Writer TV Show

Breaking News!

Jane is now inviting submissions of your novel extracts, for the chance of winning a personal critique from top agent Carole Blake. Deadline 20th March 2015.

The TV show that introduces unpublished authors to top literary agents and authors!

Watch parts one and two now — wannabeawritertvshow.com

Annie Ireson: Sunlight on Broken Glass

Annie Ireson

Sunlight on Broken Glass: The True Story

When wannabe writer, Annie Ireson, began recording her Auntie Rita's life story for her twelve years ago, little did she know that it would take six years to complete and she would end up with enough material for a novel so long it would have to be split into a trilogy.

Rita Crick (Annie's grandmother's younger sister) was a remarkable woman whose true life story was an epic saga of love, loss, hopes, dreams and family loyalty. It wasn't long before the pair of them, aided and abetted by Annie's mum, Margaret, decided to ditch the memoir in favour of a novel. Although, like most novels, Sunlight on Broken Glass is based on elements of fact, most of the names have been changed and some of the characters are fictitious. Annie is quick to point out that if there is a resemblance to any living person in the novels it is entirely coincidental. Before she passed away in 2007, Annie's aunt said she had a vision of being draped across her sofa for an official photograph when their novel was published, looking just like the legendary Barbara Cartland, glass of wine in hand!

Book cover

Sunlight on Broken Glass is the first novel in the Jeffson Family Trilogy of sagas. Published on 1st December, 2014 as an e-book on Amazon (price £1.99), it will be available as a paperback from 12th December and can be ordered from The Great British Bookshop or directly from Annie at the discounted price of £8.99 plus postage (email: anne.ireson@ntlworld.com).

The second book in the trilogy, Melody of Raindrops will be published on 1st May 2015, and the third book, Ashes on Fallen Snow, on 1st November 2015.

Since writing and publishing The White Cuckoo in 2012, which this year reached No. 2 in the Amazon paid charts in the ghost story category, Annie has completed the first draft of a fifth and started writing her sixth – this time with a change of genre as this book is a political drama.

Book cover

Annie has also written a number of short stories, one of which won a gold award in a national competition in 2008, and another which was included in a charity anthology in 2012.

Annie says:

Sunlight on Broken Glass almost made publication in the traditional way in 2008, when I secured the services of an agent and the novel was unsuccessfully submitted to publishers. Despite saying I would never self-publish, I decided to take this route in 2012 and take the risk with my fourth novel, The White Cuckoo. I have found the experience both satisfying and worthwhile and have absolutely no qualms about self-publishing the trilogy.

"I would say, though, that if an author is considering the independent route to publication it must be done professionally, with scrupulous attention to detail. In some ways, your novel is placed under a brighter spotlight because there is still a perception in some readers' minds they may be getting a sub-standard product. However, I have found that most readers don't give a moment's thought as to how a book is published – all they want is a cracking good read. As with most commercial enterprises, the quality of the end product is key. You can't get away with trying to sell something that falls short of expectations, either in book cover design, quality of the finished product or book length, and people expect good value for their money.

It is an absolute must to set a budget at a level you can afford to lose for publication purposes, undertake targeted marketing and promotion and maintain an on-line presence through social media. Despite having quite low expectations, I was very lucky with my first self-publishing experience: I broke even on my pre-set budget at my book launch and have even made a modest profit from my novel over the last two years."

Annie's first published novel The White Cuckoo is also available on Amazon for 77p and as a paperback from The Great British Bookshop.

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