Would you like to be featured in a future Writers' Forum magazine?
Have you entered or organised writing competitions?
If so, I'd love you to write an article of about 800 words about your experience.
Just to be clear, you do not have to have won, just entering and your experience with that is enough! A unique angle is very welcome.
For a charming example of such an article, scroll down and read 'When Words Flow Like Red Wine...' by Malcolm Hollingdrake.
Submit your article plus a link to your website/social media profile and a HD photo of yourself by clicking the button or send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, include a photo of yourself and a link to your author website. Thank you.
when words flow like red wine...
Malcolm Hollingdrake, author of The Harrogate Crime Thrillers
I believe it was the idea that attracted me, lured me to grab a notebook and pen. Write a short story of a thousand words that will include as many Lancashire place names as possible. You might think for a Yorkshireman that would be difficult, but I have lived in the county of the red rose for too many years and I am familiar with the environs. I have also written a new series set along the Sefton coast soon to be released through Hobeck Books.
The writing flowed as easily as the red wine that sat before me. The idea to link my passion for flight with the stunning beauty of the north-west coastline was exciting as I knew both well. This area of outstanding natural beauty is trapped between Liverpool and Southport, where the grey of the sea relentlessly bruises the mile after mile of beaches and dunes that were over a century ago, the birthplace for man’s giant leap into the skies. The area was the birthplace of Britain’s aeronautical exploration.
From aloft, the whole county would soon become visible for the first time, the towns exposed to intrepid aviators held aloft as the wind surged beneath the flimsy wings. It was this idea, the bird’s eye view, the elevated perspective, which allowed the inclusion of many of Lancashire’s villages, towns and cities. The writing took twenty minutes. My wife, reading opposite, was handed the jotting.
As a writer, you never lose that initial anxiety when someone reads your work for the first time. You watch their face trying to see a glimpse of their interpretation of the work before them. A quiver of lips at a pertinent moment, a frown, a smile all give a valuable clue. On conclusion, she looked up and her words were simple. ‘Have you just written this now?”
She nodded too and handed it to me. “It’s good. Are you entering it?”
Now there was the question. Did I feel it would be good enough? I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to maintain the spontaneity of the swift composition and only correct what was necessary. Within the hour it was done and gone. Its own flight through the ether would be swift and more secure than those first flights mentioned within it.
The thing about competitions is they can take an age to reach a climax, to find the results. You long for the deadline date to pass. You wait for the judging date and after that, you wait and you wait. You can wait so long you have forgotten all about your entry. And that was the case here. I waited so long that when a call came through late on a Friday evening I was taken by total surprise. My wife brought in the phone to me, one hand over the mouthpiece. “Someone for you – Lancashire Magazine?”
I honestly had forgotten.
“Mr Hollingdrake, I have some good news for you.” There was a pause. “You’ve come first in the short story competition. I’m delighted to tell you that you’ve won £250, a year’s subscription to the magazine and your short story will be published …”
I do not remember hearing the end of the conversation. I couldn’t believe it. A month or two later there was my story, published for all to read alongside a wonderful critique from the judging panel. There was only one thing wrong. Who was Russell Hollingdrake? The name error was corrected the following month!
It’s funny how winning a competition like that can be the catalyst for more writing. Since then, I have written ten books in the Harrogate Series and two in the Merseyside Series. I am a hybrid author with one series being self-published and the other in the safe hands of a publisher. Sitting down with a pen and notepad opened up a whole new world.