I'm a writer. I use my published short stories as case studies in the hope that the information and advice provided might help other writers become published authors. I hope you'll learn from my mistakes and therefore have a better chance of winning prizes in short story competitions or having your work published in magazines. That's the aim, anyway! Of course, if anyone just wants to read my stories, that's great too.
All the short stories and writing resources on this website are provided for you to use / enjoy free of charge.
Towards the bottom of the homepage is a full introduction to the site. If you want to skip that, you can go straight to the most popular areas of the website, listed below for convenience.
I provide some of my published short stories to read free of charge in the short story section of the website. Most of them are fantasy stories written in a humorous style.
You'll find lots of writing tips and advice alongside the stories, including comments from magazine editors, competitions judges and readers. From this, you can learn why the stories were published and then apply the same principles to your own writing, giving you a better chance of publishing success.
The writing advice section of the website is crammed with lots of different writing resources, all free of charge. The resources contain lots of practical, free writing tips and advice about creating short stories. I try to add more useful information regularly.
"What's in it for you?" you ask.
The writing resources I provide attract a lot of visitors to my website. This means more people read my short stories. Some of them go on to buy my books. I also make a small amount of money from the adverts on the site, which help cover the basic costs of running it.
The writing advice section of the website also contains the most popular resources on the website - a variety of writing competition lists and calendars. These include information regarding prizes, key dates, entry fees, story length and possible publication opportunities.
The short story competition lists contain details of many national and international competitions run all over the world. The lists are broken down into sections, including regular competitions, prestigious contests offering big prizes, annual awards, competitions for children and young authors, and many more.
The short story magazine lists contain information on magazines and journals that accept unsolicited fiction submissions. Genres and styles vary greatly - there are heaps of publishing opportunities out there for short story writers.
The book / novel competitions lists give details of global contests for full length novels, novelettes and novellas.
The poetry competitions lists are broken down in a similar way to the short story competitions lists - regular contests, prestigious awards offering big prizes, annual competitions etc.
The non-fiction writing contest lists detail lots of essay competitions and scholarships.
Now in its second year, offering more prize money! You can learn more on the To Hull & Back competition page.
The latest winner's video of the epic ride from Bristol to Hull (and back) can be seen below:
In the books section of the website you can find details on all of my books.
I have releasing a book called How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money. It does what it says on the proverbial tin. It's packed with writing tips and advice based on my own real-life publishing experience.
If you like the information provided on this website, you'll love this book. It contains 100 times more information and multiple short-story case-studies, showing you exactly how the tips and advice were used in practice to get a short story published.
The To Hull & Back short story anthologies contain the prize winning and shortlisted stories from each competition. They also include stories from the different judges. So each anthology contains 25 to 30 excellent humorous short stories for readers to enjoy.
Wicked Game was my first book. It's a fast paced thriller. You can buy it on Amazon and Lulu.
I offer short story proofreading and critiquing services, which have directly helped other writers become published authors. You can learn more about that in the writing services section of the site.
I play drums in a variety of rock bands. The music section of the site is dedicated to that.
Being a new writer and facing rejection can sometimes leave inspiration cremated like a forgotten sausage on a barbecue. But then the observation of any event can inspire a story, creating an escape from negativity. If you’re like me, when inspiration launches itself into a skydive, you’ll find yourself staring at a computer screen at 3am, trying to work out how a demon and a legless soldier might interact convincingly, wrestling to unravel your mental parachute in time to enjoy the view and deliver a graceful landing.
OK, I tend to be drawn towards the fantastic; characters and subject matters which remove you from reality. But whatever genre you find yourself writing, I suspect you can relate.
Books are notoriously difficult to sell if you’re an unknown writer. Agents are hard to come by and gaining the attention of reputable publishers is even more of a challenge. So, how can one become a successful writer?
In one of my more despondent moments, after another failed attempt at writing a 300 word synopsis that was turning out to be harder to finish than an 80,000 word novel, I found myself wondering what I could offer the world of creative writing that might be a little different. I’m not famous. I haven’t achieved anything particularly newsworthy. How might I stand out amongst the swarm? Then, a devious plan crawled forth from the darker recesses of my mind like a sneaky brain ninja.
I realised, like newspaper articles, short stories are a lot easier to complete. Once finished, unlike novels, there are many opportunities for publishing short stories and you don’t have to write a synopsis. Bonus. There are many respected short story competitions out there, which can gain a winning writer kudos and credibility. Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Philip K Dick and many other successful authors started out writing short stories, so why can’t I?
So, I started writing a lot of short stories. Due to being blessed with skin as thick as Godzilla, I’ve overcome rejection, developed a style that seems to work, and I’m fortunate enough to have been published. It took a while, but I achieved my first competition win early in 2011. But how could I utilise this achievement to further my writing career?
Currently, the internet seems to be a good way of gaining exposure and readers. The tricky bit is standing out and offering something unique. There are so many good writing resources already out there, and gazillions of excellent self-published authors to compete with, that being noticed is very difficult. I work in internet marketing and, over the last few years, have learnt a lot about making websites work well. Offering useful, interesting content seems (to me) to be the best way of engaging with communities, gaining credibility and giving yourself the opportunity of being noticed.
And that’s what I decided to attempt to do. Rather than having a website that simply showcases my work, I thought I’d use my published stories as case studies to provide other writers with useful information, advice and tips on how to get their own work published. All the short stories on the site (see the short stories section) have been published or been shortlisted or won prizes in short story competitions. By sharing my experiences, I hope I can help more writers achieve publishing success.
I’ll also provide information on the pros and cons of the various writing competitions I’ve entered. OK, this is one man’s opinion, but it is based on experience. I hope you find it useful. And, where I’ve been given permission to use their words, you’ll find comments from editors and short story competition judges, explaining why the stories were chosen and published.
So, what’s in for me? There’s a link on all the pages on this site which will take you to Lulu.com where, if you’d like to, you can buy a copy of my first book, Wicked Game. Other than that, it gives me somewhere to publish my work in the hope it might be read, and (fingers, toes and dangly bits crossed) enjoyed.