Five Reasons I Stopped Reading Your Story


In the past six months I’ve been a first reader for two major writing competitions and a first reader for a lit mag. I also organise my own writing competition so believe me when I say I’ve read a lot of submitted stories.

This blog post isn’t intended to put you off or put you down, I’ve written it because I want you to do well, I want your story to get past the first reader and through to the next round. What happens next is out of my control, but I really hope that these tips will help you. Continue reading “Five Reasons I Stopped Reading Your Story”


A Helping Hand With Horror

Recently one of my favourite lit mags, Ellipsis, put out a special call for something ‘creepy or unsettling’. Brilliant! I grew up on Clive Barker, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Nightmare on Elm Street. Even now I like to be scared and watch Supernatural religiously every week. I did a module at Uni way back in the 90s on ‘the literature of terror’ covering everything from The Castle of Otranto to The Shining. And yet…my notebook remains empty. I cannot think of a story to fit this theme and I am baffled and disappointed.

So this blog is a bit of a selfish one really, I’m going to head through some of my favourite creepy and unsettling stories and some of the things holding me back and hopefully, by the end of it I might have a rough idea for something to submit…and hopefully you might too. Continue reading “A Helping Hand With Horror”

Go Weird or Go Home

Successfully bringing the strange into your stories

A year ago I was asked on a writing course to consider the difference between magical realism and fabulism, to which my response was… ‘eh?’

But nowadays I love writing about strange things and writing in strange ways. I don’t worry about the labels, I just enjoy the creativity.

This post isn’t about genre fiction – which I don’t have a lot of experience of – it’s more about bringing weird elements into contemporary or literary fiction in ways that can help your work stand out. Continue reading “Go Weird or Go Home”