As is traditional at this time of year I've been assessing the previous twelve months and looking forward to the next twelve. 2015 has been a variable year for me, but there's been more good than bad, especially when it came to the writing.
I've used my new pen (Christmas gift from my lovely husband) to write out my 2016 plans. Are your plans similar? More detailed? Totally different?
Whatever your hopes and aims for 2016, I wish you all the best for the year ahead.
Substantial means, of considerable importance, size or value. It also describes something strongly built or made (in the case of my cakes sometimes both meanings apply!) Another meaning is concerning the substantial points of something.
Substantially either means to a great extent, or for the most part.
To say that the substance of my substantial (100,000 words!) novel, Paint Me a Picture, concerns Mavis's relationships with her family and colleagues is substantially correct.
Leah is accused of a crime she didn't commit. Dumped by Adam, the man she planned to marry, she escapes to Aunt Jayne's smallholding in the Kent village of Winkleigh Marsh. Heartbroken and homeless, she strives to clear her name and deal with her emotions.
Jayne treats Leah's unhappiness with herbal remedies, cowslip wine and common sense in equal measure. In return Leah works hard for the delicious home-cooked meals they share. She wrestles with sheep, breaks nails and gets stuck in the mud - learning as much about herself as she does about farming. Soon Leah is happy milking cows, mucking out pigs and falling halfway in love with Duncan, a dishy tractor driver.
Back in London, steps are being taken to investigate what's happened to the missing money. It looks as though the real embezzler must soon be unmasked and Leah will have to choose between resuming her old life or starting a new one.
I'll be sending out my next newsletter soon. It will include a free seasonal short story and a picture of me doing a reindeer impression. If you're not already signed up, you can add your name to the mailing list here.
Maybe you've heard, or even used, the phrase 'verbal diarrehoea' for someone who talks too much? Logorrhoea is actually the correct word to use as it means an excessive flow of words. It's prononunced log-oh-ree-a.
Thanks to Beatrice for forwarding details of another writing competition - or rather series of them. To qualify you do need to live in the north of England. There are great prizes, opportunities for poetry, short story, novel and script writers.
Even more importantly it gives me another excuse to post one of my travel pictures! There is a castle in this town, but I've chosen a photo of the cathedral for a change. Recognise it?
The winner of this competition will be paid £20 a word! There are slight downsides in that entries may only be 100 words long and sort of give up copyright*, but I'm not going to
let them stop me charging into action.
*Terms and conditions state you give up copyright, but in the questions RD state -
"No matter what happens in the competition you can still promote, share or publish your work however you like. The copyright T&Cs are only in place to show that you have agreed to have your work published by Reader's Digest should you win the competition." and "Hello, this is because we will be publishing them across our media - so in print, the app, and online. We may also wish to publish some of the best ones in future editions." Slightly confusing. I take it as meaning that entrants give them non exclusive copyright.
This anthology is a collection of short stories, all on the theme of loss. Ironically all the stories are prize winners from the regular competitions run by Thinkerbeat.
I was a winner, so have a story in the collection.
Thinkerbeat keep coming up with new competition ideas - and they're all free for site members (joining the site is also free). At the moment there's one running with a $23 prize, plus inclusion in the online magazine.
Daniel tells me there will be four major competitions next year, all with cash prizes. From what I've seen so far he won't stop at that. This year he's added interesting extras such as having your lyrics set to music or script illustrated.
For more information about the site and anthology, plus its creator, here's interview with Daniel White
Do you have literary talent and need financial support to complete your novel? If so, and you've not published a full length novel, but have written at least 20,000 words of one, you can enter this competition.
The prize involves having Ian McEwan recognise your talent at the Hay Festival as well as £10,000 so if you can enter, I really think you should.
Here are some sheep for those of us who can't enter. They're to encourage the sort of sweet dreams which will be experienced by those who do have a try as they await the results.
The first Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writer's Support Group day. Do join IWSG if you're an insecure writer (and aren't all writers insecure at least occasionally?) or you'd like to offer support.
Last month was Nano - you may have noticed. I didn't 'win'. I didn't come close and it's not as though I did loads of other writing to make up for it. There are a few reasons and plenty of flimsy excuses, but the truth is I didn't do as well as I could have done.
There's room for insecurity in that. I could worry about my motivation, enthusiasm and low effort levels. Actually I have done that a bit. Maybe I'll do it a bit more. But it's December now. Nano is over and I can do something else. Maybe that'll go really well.
How about you? Did you 'win' Nano or do something else in November you're feeling chuffed about? Or was it a bit of a disappointment, writing wise?
Whatever November was like for you, I hope December is better.