October Writing Challenge

Welcome to the first ever Constant Scribbler WRITING CHALLENGE!

Throughout October, you can unleash your inner wordsmith on a truly autumnal themed challenge.

This month…

Over the next 31 days, you’ll find writing prompts inspired by the changing season, and of course, Halloween! You can also find this on my Pinterest page – so please pin and share!

All guidelines for writing challenges can be found on here. And, don’t forget to publish and share your writing using #constantscribbler

Happy scribbling!

 

The Author’s 10 Commandments

  1. Thou shalt write!
  2. Thou shalt read (and read widely)
  3. Thou shalt secure buttocks to a chair for at least an hour a day
  4. Thou must survive on caffeine and obstinacy
  5. Thou shalt not rely on adverbs
  6. Thou shalt show not tell
  7. Thou shalt expect the first draft to be a mess!
  8. Thou shalt not rely on cliches!
  9. Honour thy audience
  10. Thou shalt not commit the crime of verbiage (unless your an academic – then you just can’t help yourself)

(Bonus Extra: Thou shalt not worry about all of the rules because some rules were made to be broken!)

Starting a Masters in Creative Writing

Postgraduate study

I’m about to start a Masters in Creative Writing.

This is not your ordinary MA in Creative Writing. Take a gander at the courses on offer and you’ll see lots of one year programmes (full-time) exploring the theory and themes of narrative and genre, workshops on poetry, screenwriting and non-fiction, all culminating in a final dissertation that can be a chapter from a novel or a series of short stories in region the 15-20,000 words.

Not so here mate! There is no faff on this course. The lectures are all about how to make you a better writer. Narrative, plot, characterisation are all topics of study have but the focus is and will also be on making you the best damn novelist you can be! Oh, and did I mention that to graduate I have to hand in a complete first draft of a novel? That’s around 80k words… the equivalent of a PhD thesis!

Who needs sleep? Clearly not me!

Why A Masters in Creative Writing? Why not just write a book?

Good question. The honest answer is… I tried! So. Many. Damn. Times!

For example, I have:

  • Had several unsuccessful attempts at NaNoWriMo – see my previous posts
  • Stacks of self-help books for aspiring writers
  • Attended a couple of generalist creative writing courses
  • Tried just sit down and write in my free time

Some were more successful than others. But, in the end, it was “nice try, but no cigar.”

Writing desk with books and picture

Setting myself up for success

Finding this MA was kismet: the opportunity came at the right time and felt like the right option for me. Here are a few things that made this MA make sense:

  • Writing is a lonely game but this way I’ll be sharing the highs and lows with a group of other crazy people who are also trying reach the promised land of Published Authordom.
  • It’s a genre-specific course for crime thriller writers
  • There’s no hiding! If the assignments aren’t done… well… I’ll fail, wasting my time and my money (two things I value highly).
  • I get a master’s degree AND a novel at the end of it all!

So, here’s to success! (And making wordcount… and graduating…. and plots that don’t suck… and characters who aren’t boring… and an agent [pretty please!]… and a book deal [pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top!]…)

 

Constant Scribbler’s Writing Challenges

A new challenge for creative writers

Welcome to my new writing challenge series. Every month, I’ll be posting a new series of prompts with one aim: to get you (and me) writing.

It doesn’t matter if you write novels, short stories or flash fiction – the idea is to just write. Unleash the wordsmith within and make words appear on paper or screen!

A man typing on a laptp

A few guidelines…

There are very few rules at Constant Scribbler HQ, but a few guidelines may be helpful.

  1. Silence your inner critic and just write – don’t talk yourself out of the creative process.
  2. Where wordcount isn’t the objective – aim for a minimum of 250 words per prompt. You can write more if you choose.
  3. Some prompts or challenges will have specified word counts – try and stick to them. If in doubt, 10% under or over is usually fine.
  4. Flash fiction is quick and dirty – there will be a time limit on writing and then a small window of time for a quick spelling and grammar check!
  5. Don’t forget to share your submissions using #constantscribbler and tagging me on social media.
  6. Be respectful! I’m no prude but excessive swearing, sex and/or violence may get you an EXPLICIT or NSFL marker (or just not published!).

My unbreakable Rule

While I appreciate that some of the best stories written strive to understand the human condition and therefore, can explore some disturbing themes, I have to draw a line somewhere. Therefore, I will not accept, publish or share stories and/or content that encourages, celebrates or perpetuates hate. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • racism
  • sexism/misogyny
  • homophobia, transphobia or hateful prejudice against the LGBTQ community
  • rape, sexual assault or sexual violence
  • paedophilia or any act of harm against children

This is non-negotiable!

 

Back Again…

When I started Constant Scribbler, I had no idea what I was I doing.

To be fair, I still don’t.

2009 looks a lot like 2018, in that I’m battling with a mean case of imposter syndrome followed by euphoric moments where I believe I can bend life to my will, and live a chic, bohemian, artsy life (preferably, in a warehouse conversion in East London).

The truth is that this blog is the only project I’ve ever started that I continually come back to. Is it a blog? Magazine? Journal? Writer’s showcase?

Who knows? Seriously, if you do know send me your answers on a self-addressed postcard.

2018 is here…yikes!

So, here we are in 2018. And, I’m still trying to do this writing thing.

I actually, went back to my old posts and had a good laugh.

I love old me; she worried about so many things that present me gives zero f**ks about.

But some challenges haven’t changed – not one damn bit!

Some issues, different year

In fact, there are issues I wrote about back in 2014 that still bother me today.

Remember my companion, the Inner Naysayer? Oh yeah, that bastard is still there.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in this weird, stream-of-consciousness post, is that despite the neglect, Constant Scribbler is still mine. It’s still my place to publish words about words, drop the occasionally f-bomb and talk about creative stuff that interests me.

Positive thinking

So here’s to 2018 and (hopefully) a longer stretch than last time… at least I hope so.