Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Stories and Storytelling

I came across the following quote on ther importance of stories and stoytelling recently. It was used to introduce a Chapter on Children's Literature by Russell Jones in a book called Childhood Studies, An Introduction, edited by Dominic Wyse. It was so good I just had to share it, so here it is:

Storytelling weaves a spell that binds us all into one world community. We enter the world where eveything is possible, to think, to feel and to grow together. Our stories help create an sustain our society. They help to shape and fashion who we are, and help us to know and feel what is right and what is wrong. Stories should cherish the human spirit and as such should be a central part of every child's upbringing.   (Corbett, P, Tales, Myths and Legends, Page 5)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bottle by Kirsten Lepore

There are many ways to tell a story. If you click on the video link at the top right hand side of my blog roll you will be able to watch a beautiful story told without words by animator  Kirsten Lepore. I discovered it on Facebook where it had been posted by the author, Philip Adargh. Philip said he had a tear in his eye at the end and I can see why. But it also made me smile and laugh too. Stories can move us in many ways and the best stories take us through a whole range of emotions. Bottle is a fine example of how a story told simply, without undue embellishment, can be so effective.

Monday, 20 September 2010

An artist who tells stories

While browsing Jurgen Wolff's Time to Write blog I discovered the following post on Portugese artist, Paula Rego:
Paula Rego's paintings always suggest a story--often a dark story. It was interesting to read what her daughter said about her mother's process in an article in the London Sunday Times magazine some time ago:

"Pivotal to her work was storytelling, and inspiration would come from everywhere: nursery rhymes, poetry, plays, novels..She also addressed issues that were close to her heart, like abortion and the political oppression she'd grown up with in Portugal. Her work has always been visceral, symbolic; a world where humans often end up as animals--dogs, rabbits, bears, monkeys. It's all about the joy and pain of the human condition."

Because her style was different, Rego struggled for years to get recognition. But she was compulsive about creating and eventually she broke through. Just looking at her paintings is a great stimulus for any storyteller.

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Intrigued by Jurgen's post, I googled Paula Rego and found some fascinating paintings by Paula and another interesting blog post telling of the link between her art and storytelling which I have copied below:

 Paula Rego is not only a leading contemporary female artist, but also a wonderful story teller. All of her paintings are narratives, based on literature, observation, experience, or imagination. Looking Out is the story of a woman who wastes her entire days looking out her window hoping to catch a glimpse of the priest with whom she had an affair. The Jane Eyre lithographs were inspired by the novel The Wild Sargasso Sea, which is about Bertha, a character in Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece Jane Eyre. In addition, The Maids is an account based on Jean Genet’s play in which two sisters kill the woman they work for and try on her clothes.

While Rego’s primary goal may be to entertain viewers through the art of storytelling, as a woman painting women it is impossible for her messages to be completely separated from gender. As I see it, most of her works including the ones mentioned above serve as a commentary on the position of women in society. The woman in Looking Out has been condemned to a life of isolation and imprisonment because she got pregnant by a priest. Meanwhile, the man walks free without sharing the blame and continues his life like nothing ever happened. The Jane Eyre lithographs, on the other hand, portray a strong, brave, admirable character to which the entire female gender can look for inspiration. Meanwhile The maids is a psychologically intriguing depiction of women which gives some insight into the complexity of the female mind and emotions.

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I have used paintings to stimulate writing for myself and in my creating writing classes. Later this week I'll post an exercise using Impressionist paintings. In the meantime you might like to search the web for paintings which inspire you. Do let me know what you find! If there's any Paula Rego fans reading this, please tell me your favourites.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Stories Wanted for Two North East Festivals

This month's New Writing North newsletter has details of not one but two opportunities for short story writers. The Pursuit of Happiness is a competition launched by New Writing North themselves. Details  below:

In his 1693 work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, philosopher John Locke wrote that the “the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness”.

The 2010 BBC Free Thinking Festival takes place at The Sage Gateshead on 6 and 7 November this year. The festival will bring together leading thinkers, writers and commentators and will be exploring a number of themes, including the pursuit of happiness. As part of the festival, New Writing North will be hosting a Listening Salon, where festival attendees can relax between events. To support the event we are launching a new short story competition on the theme of The Pursuit of Happiness.

We are inviting North East writers to submit stories on this theme that are no longer than 1,000 words. Winning and shortlisted writers will be invited to perform their work, or hear it read by performers during the festival weekend. Winning stories will also be profiled on New Writing North’s website. The writer of the winning story, as chosen by New Writing North, will receive £500. Entries should be submitted to the following address by Friday 8 October:

Short Story Competition
New Writing North
PO Box 1277
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 5BP

Please note: entries cannot be submitted by email.

The second opportunity includes plays, poems and short stories too!

Ink Festival, Newcastle

Submissions of poetry, plays and short stories are welcome for the fast-approaching Ink Festival, which is scheduled for 18-19 November, when the winning entries will be read out or performed. Entries should be sent to Deadline for submissions is 3 October, and entries must not have been published or performed before.

The deadlines are looming so you'll have to be quick!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

An Amazing True Story

I watched Who do you Think you Are? on Monday evening and as I did, one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard began to unfold. Hollywood actor, Alan Cumming, discovers the truth about the amazing life of his war hero grandfather, Lance Corporal Tom Darling and his untimely death in Malaysia at the age of 35. Don't miss this inspiring story! Watch it on bbc iplayer by clicking on the link below:

Monday, 6 September 2010

You Are Not Your Story

I wanted to share this thought-provoking post on our personal stories from Karl Moore's blog: This came to me via Inscribe your Life facilitator, Chris Cade's newsletter. You can find my favourite of Chris's inspirational videos at the foot of my blog.

"You Are Not Your Story" – Karl Moore

For thousands of years, human beings have been wonderful story tellers.

There's a built-in yearning to get sucked into a story, to get lost in the drama of the moment, to orate and share your own tales with the world.

Modern story tellers include movie producers and politicians, actors and artists, mothers and fathers. As a society, we respect and admire great story tellers. It's the reason films and television shows have become so immensely popular. They tell stories.

We each love our own stories, too.

I have a wonderful ghost story about a house I once lived in, which gets spookier and more intricate every time I tell it. It's guaranteed to make your hairs stand on end, and I revel in telling it.

But by far and away our most common types of story are the stories about ourselves.

We're great at sport. We're pretty good at karaoke, but get nervous if singing in front of family. We love tomatoes, but they really need to be cored - or they make us feel a bit sick. We keep falling back into abusive relationships, no matter how hard we try not to.

These are our own "mini-stories." And often, they're harmless enough.

It's when our stories start to hold us back that they become an issue...

"My name is Michael - and I'm an alcoholic."

"I'm Jason - and I'm a failed father, and drug addict."

"Yes, I'm Kyle - and I'm a homosexual with intimacy problems."

Sometimes, our stories restrict us.

They define us as a very particular type of person, and ensure that we're kept locked in our own self-created prison. Our stories pigeon-hole us.

Not only that, we also build on them - much like I do with my ghost story. We make them bigger and badder with each telling. We give the stories more power. Soon, our original stories become irrelevant - and our new stories take on a life of their own.

They eventually start to lead us, cripple us.

We carry the weight of our stories around with us each day. They stop us from achieving true freedom, they limit us to working a particular way - and yet we continue with the stories.

To use an Eastern term, our stories are our attachments.

However, not everyone lives like this.

Those that enjoy true freedom, individuals that are genuinely self-developed, know this simple fact:

You are not your story.

You're not!

Whatever amazing story you can tell about your terrible past, how you've always failed time and time again, how life has dealt you an unfair hand, how things were just plain wrong, how you can't break the addiction - you are still NOT your story.

Past results are not indicative of future performance.

What you were is not what you are.

It's just what happened to you. It's not YOU.

You are not your story. You are not your emotions. You are not your past.

And if you could just learn to let go of your story - you'd instantly release all of your baggage, and you could start today the way that you would like. Without limitation. Without issues. Without attachments. Without unwanted stories.

To some degree, our stories provide us with comfort. It's the devil you know. The sick safety blanket. They enable us to indulge in self-pity, and enjoy a little sympathetic attention. But it's pointless holding on to the story, because it's limiting you today.

So, make a decision right now to be the change you wish to see you in your life.

Let me repeat that, because it's exceptionally important:

Right now, make the decision to be the change you wish to see it your life.

Sit back and think of the stories you have formed about your life. All those great stories you have about how your marriage started falling apart in the early days, and how you've been rescuing it ever since. Great stories about the time you were bullied, and how it made you feel suicidal. Fantastic stories about how life sometimes stinks. Especially yours.

Think about one of your stories.

Then ask yourself: "Can I let this story go?"

Can I drop this story? (Even if it's a good one?) Can I release this story? Can I unclench the tight fist I have around this story? Can I let go of desperately holding on to it, and making it part of "me"?

And, if you can, just do it. Let go. Breathe out - and release. Feel it drop away.

Don't go into it. Don't try to analyze the details. Don't dig around to figure out the "hidden lesson." Just ask yourself if you can drop the story. And if you can, do it.

Because your story, really, is ultimately just that. A story.

People cling to stories because they think they give their life meaning.


Life doesn't have meaning.

The meaning of life is the meaning you bring to life.

What meaning would you like your life to have?

Make a decision to shape your own story, starting today - and you'll discover a true freedom and happiness uncovering itself in your own wonderful life.

– Karl Moore

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Free copies of Stories for Children Magazine

Kathy Stemke features an in-depth interview with VS Grenier, children's author and editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine, on her blog: 

Grenier told Kathy, "I would like to offer your readers 2 free back issues of Stories for Children Magazine along with the educators' pages that go with them."

Check out the offer and learn more by clicking on the link above and following the instructions given.

VS Grenier is an Award-winning author & editor with over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers. She also has multiple titles published in the Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 1 anthology. She learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of Stories for Children Magazine.
In the interview Grenier talks about her life and her publications, the inception of the magazine and gives tips on how adults can share their love of reading with children.  If you'd like to learn more about the magazine and/or are interested in submitting or subscribing, you might like to sign up for the regular Stories for Children newsletter.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Letters to Africa

Letters to Africa is on sale now from the bookshop at South Lakes Animal Wildlife Park. It can be ordered online and contains letters between children in the UK and the African countries of Kenya and Zambia.  Extracts from my own fiction contributions can be found on the "My Stories" page of this blog. Access it from the link on the top right of this page.
The book contains writing from British and African schoolchildren, authors Lauren St. John, Mary Hoffman,  Ifeoma  Onyefulu and fellow MA in Writing for Children student, Victoria Todd as well as experts on the Massai tribe and their native language. Find out more too about the amazing Sport in Action programme I was fortunate enough to witness on my trip to Zambia while I researched stories and collected letters. Marvel at the stunning photographs and illustrations by Uclan students, discover interesting facts about the Massai warriors and even learn  how to speak their language. The book draws on the talents and knowledge of people from a wide range of diciplines - publishers, authors, illustrators, photographers and linguists included. School children, students, and professionals all worked together to produce a book which is as unique as it is insightful. A lovely gift for yourself or a child, it's both beautiful and educational. Most important of all, as all proceeds go to improve educational reources for children in Africa, you're giving others the gift of education too.
Click on the following link to order your copy now:

Saturday, 28 August 2010

5 Step Plotting Formula

Do you want to write a short story, but don't know to structure a plot? Here it is, my 5 step plotting formula. Try it out. Copy it, adapt it if you like, but be sure to make notes on every prompt. Once you've got a plot outline, you're ready to write your story.

5 step plotting formula



Brief details:
His/her goal:(what does he/she want or need?)


Who or what is it?
How does the opposition aim to prevent your character reacvhing his/her goal?


First obstacle:
How it’s overcome:

Further obstacles:
How they are overcome:


The dramatic high spot where it seems all is lost:

How  the goal is  achieved:

Monday, 23 August 2010

Children's Writer Historical Story Competition

If you like writing for children and contests, read on . . .

I received the following information by e-mail from Children's Writer today. It sounds like a great opportunity for children's writers. The rewards are publication in Children’s Writer, cash prizes, winners’ certificates, and valuable training in disciplined writing.

Writing to an editor’s specifications is the first hurdle that any writer must clear on the track to publication. Yet, editors repeatedly  say that the majority of manuscripts they receive do not match their guidelines and specifications. That’s a huge waste of time and energy for both writers and editors.

Writing contests also have exact specifications, and that’s why we encourage all writers to enter contests as often as they can. Contests are excellent professional training experiences. A winning entry can get you published, and often some healthy prize money, too.

The winning historical fiction piece in this contest will be published in Children’s Writer, the monthly newsletter that goes to almost 1,300 children’s book and magazine editors in North America.

Along with the winning story, we’ll publish an article about it and the other top-ranked stories and their authors.

In addition, we will publish the winning entries on the Children’s Writer website.

There are also five cash prizes: $500 for the top winner, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places. These alone are a lot of good reasons to write and enter.

The contest is for historical fiction for young teens, age 13, to 1,500 words. Balance originality with accuracy and utilize a strong bibliography of research sources. Create a voice and a story that is historical but relevant to contemporary readers. Publishability is the ultimate criterion.

Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others, including our students who are not subscribers to Children’s Writer, pay a $15 reading fee—standard for writing contests. But, if you are not a subscriber, your $15 fee will also bring you an eight-month trial subscription to Children’s Writer. You may enter multiple manuscripts, but please use an entry form for each one.

The contest’s rules are important. You’ll find them on the contest entry page. Please read them very carefully.

Note the October 30th deadline! Be sure to get your entry in on time.

Now warm up your computer, laptop, or notebook and write a $500-winning story of historical fiction! Good luck!

Please click here to enter:


Susan Tierney, Editor

P. S. As someone who has judged writing competitions for many years, I can tell you that nothing hurts an entry more than exceeding the word limit. Don’t fall out of the running because of this easy-to-meet spec. Please remember to count your words!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

List of Short Story Competitions

For an extremely comprehensive list of UK based short story competitions check out Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau. Click on the link: for an extremely well researched list with lots of important information including submission dates. The author does suggest checking individual links in case such information has changed. Once you are on the competitions page you will see a blue link MARKETS. This takes you to another page which gives advice and a list of markets for short stories. This could save you hours of searching and who knows, could lead to a competition win!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Short Stories Wanted at Bridge House Publishing

I've sent a story to Bridge House Publishing this week for their upcoming Charity Anthology.  The 2011 chosen charity is Children's Hospices UK and Bridge House are looking for stories suitable for children of junior school age (7-10 years). Stories should be 1000-3000 words and the theme must be uplifting.
If your submission is succesful you may find your work published alongside one or more well known children's writers who have been invited to contribute. £1 from the sale of every copy will be donated to the charity and  authors will be asked to donate their royalities.

Bridge House published two charity books last year 100 Stories for Haiti and Gentle Footprints, which supports the Born Free foundation and includes a story by Richard Adams. It is endorsed by Virginia McKenna and contains a foreword by her. Gentle Footprints, described as "an extraordinary book" was launched at the Hay festival. at a launch attended by over 1,000.  It was featured on the Book Show and on Loose Women. For guidelines on submitting to this and/or other Bridge House click on the link: 
Other upcoming anthologies include Angels, Science Fiction and Crime themes so there's something for everyone. Oh, and while surfing the site I found there's a competition too as well as some fabulous anthologies of stories to buy and read.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ten Tips on Writing Stories Children and Editors will Love.

Do you want to write winning short stories for children? Here's a few top tips!

1. Don’t patronize. Children are sophisticated, intelligent and like to be challenged. Don’t over simply or over explain. Don’t write for children because you think it’s the easy option. It’s not.

2. Don’t preach. It’s okay for your story to have a message or moral, but don’t bang on about it. If your story is well written the message will be apparent as your character will have learnt something and your reader will learn too as a result.

3. Do create interesting, realistic characters your reader can relate to and want to know better.

4. Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration. Find it by reading children’s books and stories, listening to them talk, watching their TV programmes and so on. Emerge yourself into their world as much as you can.

5. Do make sure your story and its language are age appropriate. Research what children of that age may be interested in before you write. Research what editors are looking for too. and write what they want

6. Do include dialogue that is realistic, true to the characters’ personalities and which helps move the story on.

7. Don’t jump into the story and tell it yourself– let your characters do that for you.

8. Don’t be miserable, morbid or melodramatic, even if your story has a serious message or sad content.

9. Do enjoy what you write. If you’re having fun your reader will too.

10. Don’t be afraid to try a new slant on an old story. Many successful modern stories are based on or inspired by fables and fairy stories writers enjoyed themselves.

Use the above tips as guidelines and add to it as you become experienced in writing stories for children.

Learn from your masters (the writers you admire), learn from your writing - from your mistakes and your successes. And one final tip to keep in mind – don’t expect your story to be perfect, just make it as good as you can.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Tell me a Story: make storytelling fun and fabulous

Do you envy those people who are natural storytellers? Perhaps you want to make reading stories more fun, but lack the confidence or know-how? Below are 10 simple things you can do to help make reading stories more fun.
1. Read the book several times to yourself before you read it with the child so that the content, the layout and the pictures are all familiar to you.

2. Talk about the front cover with the child before you open the book. Ask the child what he thinks the story is about.

3. Use a variety of different voices for different characters. Not every parent is able to speak in a variety of accents. There are some very lucky children whose parents can. But you don't have to be a trained actor, or even an amateur to be able to make your voice interesting. You can whisper, you can shout, you can sound angry, or sad, silly, or intelligent. You can make your voice squeaky, deep or scary. At first you might feel silly, but I'm sure with practice you will learn to enjoy it. I know I do.

4. Adapt your voice to help create different atmospheres. Is the book scary or funny, serious or lighthearted, sad or happy? Using an appropriate tone of voice is far better than speaking in a boring monotone.

5. Encourage your child to join in. Remember how much you as a child enjoyed those repeated phrases: such as I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down. Create a special signal to your child to let him know when it's time to join in: raise your hands, tilt your head, half close the book. The more dramatic, the better. Children also enjoy putting in missing words. This is particularly useful and educational if the story has a pattern of rhyme to it. For example: I'll... and I'll..., blow your house down.

6. Add sound effects or encourage your child to do so. Animal sounds, bird song, bells ringing, people snoring etc all add to the fun. Many authors add these to the text, but if they don't there's no reason you couldn't improvise.

7. Add actions too, silly walks, waving, driving a car. All these add greatly to the fun factor.

8. Pull funny faces to show feelings such as fear, joy, surprise etc. The more exaggerated these are the better.

9. Talk about the pictures on the pages and relate the text to the pictures. You might even encourage your child to guess the next word or words, using the picture to guide him.

10. Learn from the experts. Many well-known children's authors read their books at festivals or book shops. Storytellers also offer sessions in local libraries as well as at organized storytelling events. Look out for family literacy training at your child's school or ask to work as a volunteer there when literacy sessions are taking place. Last, but not least, listen to recorded books for inspiration.

Follow the ten tips, and make reading a pleasure, not a chore. You'll be glad you did, and so will your child.

Article Source:

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Natterjack want writers!

Natterjack is a fabulous online magazine of new writing in prose and verse. Read and/or submit articles and reviews, poetry and fiction. You can also become a member of the site and contribute to their discussion forum, Natterbox. I've pasted Natterjack'sVision and Philosophy from the site below:

Natterjack is a free independent online polyphonic magazine, which aims to produce unexpected juxtapositions of different kinds of writers and readers and bring them together in an online community of words. I say words because words are where we’re starting. In time we hope to expand into music, visuals, and multimedia presentations. Just give it time.
Essentially there are two sides to it:
The poetry and fiction section will combine poems and stories by established writers with those by obscure writers, new writers, experimental writers, children, and some of the famous names from the past. Sometimes the words are on the screen, sometimes they're in the speakers. There’ll be commentaries exploring links between these pieces, plus a forum (Natterbox) where you can add your own comments and questions. For more detail see the poetry policy page (under the poetry and fiction tab).

The articles and reviews section will feature a wide mix of material. So far we have articles promised on global warming denial; studies of blues guitarists; the fall of the Roman Empire; head lice; God; how to lose money on the horses; schizophrenia; how gypsies get their MOTs; etc. We will also have articles on running a home business, and on education.
Our emphasis is on entertainment, not on hard information, though we have some of that as well. Our content aims to be “quite interesting” (as Stephen Fry would say), even if it’s not always quite factually reliable. Some of our content is straight talking, other parts are spoofs and satires, and we credit our readers with being able to sort out the difference. We believe that laughter, ridicule, parody, the deconstructive, the carnivalesque, are valid vehicles for approaching truths, understandings and insights. Natterjack is not an academic site – though some features may be of interest to students and teachers.
We believe that a very wide range of voices can be worth hearing – though some of them may need a bit of careful editing first – and that some of the resonances of these voices can be brought out by unexpected juxtapositions. So, we aim to combine experienced writers with new writers, the very old with the very young, the mainstream with the marginal, the polished with the raw, and all stages in between. Sometimes we’ll provide commentaries exploring links between pieces we’ve put next to each other. Other times, we’ll leave readers to make their own connections.
While we welcome submissions from experienced writers, part of our purpose is also to encourage new writers who may have less confidence. We can offer various levels of support, ranging from light-touch proofreading to advice on content, style and structure, or editorial help with spelling / punctuation / grammar / layout etc if you want it. We can also offer more fundamental re-writing and ghosting services where appropriate. So if you have something to say but you’re not sure how to say it, we still want to hear from you. See the How to submit work page for more details.
The website itself is FREE to visit, and to read, look at, and listen to. You can download texts and quote from them freely, but we do ask you to acknowledge the author and the source. If you quote us online, please include a link to Natterjack.

Beyond the website, we are developing a series of larger-scale products, as ebooks, CDs and DVDs. There will be information about all these on the site as they progress, and they'll be available in the Natterjack shop.

But the shop's not open yet. Enjoy what's on the site.

Check out the site at Whether you're a reader or a writer, you'll find something for you. I adored the seascape picture links too!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Short Story Radio

Tune into http://www.shortstoryradio/ to listen to or read quality short stories. The project is Arts Council funded and offers the opportunity to listen to podcasts online or download to read or listen to later. The website features competitions and the chance to find out more about the writers and narrators. It's very user friendly and offers a range of services such as a newsletter, writing guide and e-book.

If you join their Short Story Radio Writers' Club you receive many great benefits. Membership costs just £20 per year and includes:

  • Free Short Story Competition Entry
Three free submissions to our short story competitions over the 12 months of your membership (normal price £5 per entry). We run three competitions a year. You can use your three free entries in any combination (e.g. all in the same competition, one for each of the next three competitions etc). You also have free entry to the annual Writers' Club Short Story competition.

  • 10% off Marketing For Your Book package
  • 10% off the premium Marketing For Your Book package (opens a new link).
  • Website hosting (including 5 email addresses) for £25 per year
  • Early Bird Writing Course Booking
  • Invitation to sign up for future writing courses before booking is opened to the wider writing community.
  • Guide to Writing for Short Story Radio
  • An e-pamphlet of very useful tips and advice on writing specifically for Short Story Radio.
  • E-book of Classic Short Stories
  • An exclusive e-book of classic short stories, including writing by HG Wells, Louisa May Alcott and Oscar Wilde.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Electric Literature: 4th edition

The following post is a newsletter from the editors of Electric Literature, a fabulous online magazine showcasing quality stories from talented writers across the globe:

Harrowing tales of heart-stopping brilliance: EL4 is out now!!

The wait is over! Our new issue, Electric Literature No.4, is available now, and it’s our most exciting collection yet.

From ghost hunting with Javier Marías, the novelist described by Roberto Bolaño as "by far Spain's best writer today", to Ben Stroud’s tale of a destitute cripple sent by his emperor to destroy a holy man, to Pulitzer-finalist Joy Williams' terrible and beautiful fable about Baba Iaga and her pelican child, to Mexican writer Roberto Ransom’s master fresco painter and the conservationist who tries to recapture his magic hundreds of years later, to Patrick deWitt’s chronicle of a man known only as “The Bastard,” the stories in this issue recall the simple pleasure of tale-telling, and celebrate the joy and wonder of escaping into a vividly imagined world.
Order your copy today in the format of your choice, or subscribe and get 4 issues of EL at up to 60% off the cover price!!

Like a Rolling Stone

Momentum. Propulsion. EL has been in the press a bunch since we last spoke. June and July brought print coverage in Writer’s Digest, Bomb Magazine, Interview, Paper, the LA Times, and GQ, a PodCast on MediaBistro, and a TV spot on Brian Lehrer Live!.

Friendship is Rare

When we were in an MFA program three years ago, there was a lot of pessimism about the future of literary content. We created Electric Literature as an experiment: could we take the forces that seem to threaten literature and marshal them in its defense? Could new media and innovative distribution help keep literature a vital part of popular culture?

Our journal is possible because of the work of more than 40 volunteers, and thankfully, we've been successful so far. Electric Literature has over 150,000 readers following us on Twitter (more than any other publisher in the world) and is successfully expanding readership for short stories through YouTube videos, iPhone apps, and other innovations.

Keep in touch. Follow us on Twitter (@ElectricLit), Join us on Facebook, or feel free to simply email us at

As writers, we know that the only way to keep literature vital is by reaching readers everywhere. Building strong communities, both online and offline, goes a long way.

Good night and good luck,

Andy & Scott


Electric Literature

Friday, 23 July 2010

Who do you write like?

Apparently my short story, Salamanda's Special Power is like JK Rowling and the novel I'm currently writing is like Dan Brown. Try this fun website link:
I Write Like website at
and download an extract of your short story to discover who you write like. I tried a few different extracts which resulted in comparison with several different writers, so I'm not sure how reliable it is, but I enjoyed the process anyway.
When you've got your result, which you can upload to Twitter, Facebook etc, you can also sign up for a free newsletter and an e-book on writing short stories, "SHORT STORY WRITING: A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story" By Charles Raymond Barrett, Ph. B. I've just received it myself so will let you know what I think once I've read it.
If you'd like to read extracts from some of my stories and find out how to buy them, click on the My Stories page tab at the top right of the blog.