Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
What’s Your Story? is the title that Waterstones bookstores have chosen for their latest short story contest. In honour of the National Year of Reading, the famous bookstore will be featuring selected short stories from some famous authors on special postcards in their shop front windows.
Waterstones are also inviting us, the general reading public, to submit our own tales for consideration. So, if you’ve ever written anything from a Historical Romance, through Horror Fiction to Autobiographical Memoir, read on for more details - this could be your big break, or at least your chance to win a writing course so you can improve!
The idea is that interested entrants fill in either a ‘virtual postcard’ online or a print copy promo card collected from the store. Waterstones don’t even mind if isn’t a written story! Apparently, according to the promo literature, it is possible to send in a story as an art form or drawing.
The selected stories will be placed in Waterstone’s Bookstore windows. First, from 12th June, famous authors’ stories will appear, to be followed (from 10th July) by the winning stories of wannabe authors from the general public.
Famous authors featured could include the likes of J K Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Attwood, Michael Rosen or Doris Lessing. As well as appearing on postcards in Waterstone’s windows, the authors’ stories will be published as a postcard book.
Joining them there in the postcard book, will be the winning short story postcards from three lucky wannabe writers – two adults and one child (under eighteen.) Those national winners who are over eighteen will also win an Arvon Writing Course, whilst their younger counterpart will win five hundred pounds worth of Waterstones vouchers. Royalties aren’t being paid as all profits from the book are going towards the funds of the charities ‘Dyslexia Action’ and ‘English Pen.’
The closing date for the short story contest ‘What’s Your Story’ is 06/19/08. Remember, though, your story must fit on a postcard so either drag all those classroom memories of ‘precis’ writing to the forefront, or follow the following brief refreshers:
1.Jump straight in to the action of your story with the first sentence.
2.Leave out all introductions, throat-clearing exercises, and background descriptions – use vivid language instead.
3.Try using several lines of dialogue to tell your story.
4.Stick to a 3 action plan – action/reaction/result.
5.Keep editing your story to prune out unnecessary words until it reads fluently without losing meaning.
6.Keep trying it out on friends until they understand the story first time – it’s amazing what even expert writers can miss!
More details, and terms and conditions can be found at www.waterstones.com