Writers’ Forum- 2nd place- October issue

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Sue recently won second place in The ‘Writers’ Forum’ short story competition, which meant payment and publication (the two most important things for a writer after the actual slog of imagining and editing a story).

So what is her advice to get your story noticed?

  • The first paragraph has to set up at least one question to engage the reader and it has to sustain their interest. This could be (and usually is) a dilemma the character is faced with.
  • The reader needs to be grounded. Where are we? Make it concise and if possible simple, unless your character is a place, in which case it will have layers all of its own (think of the ‘house’ in Rebecca or the film: Monster House).
  • The character needs motivation and emotion. We need to know who’s speaking and any dialogue must be believable but reduced to as few words as possible because no one speaks in full sentences.
  • There has to be a structure (but not necessarily beginning/middle/end in that order).
  • Unpredictable is good but no story should have an unexpected twist that hasn’t had any build-up (foreshadowing is a must). There’s nothing worse than feeling conned at the end.
  • The dilemma the character faces must be resolved.
  • A good story should leave you thinking, even if it’s a ‘how did I not see that coming?’  Personally, these are Sue’s favourite.
  • The style should be all your own.
  • A proof reader is a good idea because it’s very difficult to spot your own mistakes. If you don’t have this (many people write in isolation) an alternative method is to print out your story in a weird font.  It’s much easier to see any mistakes when the print looks unprofessional.  Duplicate words can be caught out by reading aloud.
  • Similies are great but only in moderation (a bit like everything).

Sometimes it takes a few submissions to get your story placed and that enforced ‘drawer time’ when the story is out there, is always positive.  Sue was lucky with this one but others she’s had published before, have been rejected and rewritten before acceptance by another publisher.

Good luck!

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Creative workshop on the Menopause.

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Sue ran a creative workshop for the ‘M Festival’, a pilot event at the University of Essex.  Attached are the slides.  Why not have a try yourself?

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New postcard for WDTL

The poem, written by Sue Dawes, was designed to go with the picture of ‘Pearl’ , a graphite on paper portrait, of a young girl with plenty of attitude.  The artist is Robert Priseman.  Sue is working on a series of poems about ‘unspoken things’.  The postcard is available to collect at Firstsite and Wivenhoe Railway station.

New Postcard for Words-down-the-Line

Off the Rails Wivenhoe have produced a Spring postcard on the theme of ‘Woodland’, which is available to collect from the station and Firstsite (amongst other places).  The poem is by local writer Helen Ivory and the image is by local artist Olivia Browne (who is also displaying her work at the station gallery).   The card is produced by Sue Dawes.

The latest art and writing from Words-Down-the-Line

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The latest from Words-Down-The-Line, a poetry postcard for Christmas.  The poem is by Candyce Lange and the card, beautifully illustrated by Charmaine McKissock (local artist and dyslexia specialist).

Words Down the Line features local writing, is produced free of charge and given to commuters in Wivenhoe and beyond. The printing of Words Down the Line is currently funded by a small donation from Wivenhoe Soup and printed by The Press Gang in Brightlingsea.

The writing is edited and produced free of charge by Sue Dawes.

Freedom Poems

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The Poetry Wivenhoe ‘Freedom Poems’ booklet, was released last night on World Poetry Day.  Twelve of the winning poems were read by their authors.  ‘Brushwork’ by Sue Dawes, on Page 13, takes the form of a villanelle.  More information about the poetry group and where the book can be purchased here .

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