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Date of publication: 2017-08-27 18:52

Chris Fielden
Phil, there isn&rsquo t a standard template that is used by everyone, as most publishers have different formatting requirements.

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Chris Fielden
Hi Siobhan, I did the course about 65 years ago now and found it very useful. I started with the non-fiction parts of the course and found that very helpful – it allowed me to see my first newspaper articles in print, which gave me experience with dealing with editors. After the course, I went on to publish my first book and see my short stories in print.

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Abdullah H
Your site has proved to be a source of inspiration and I thank you greatly. It's difficult to settle upon a favourite story but The Cat, the Bull and the Madman resonated with me, as I had worked with a paranoid schizophrenic lady a few years ago and this was partially characterised by delusions. Beautifully written and sensitively treated. Humingbee Bumblebird Meadow was an excellent story! The moral was delicately conveyed and the imagery effective in telling the story. And the Ninja Zombie Knitting Circle had a fiendish twist that stayed in my head for a few days! 

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Thanks for writing this warts and all account of your experiences and I shall continue to use it to reinforce my level a table or something.

I find beer helps with being terrified. Although it&rsquo s best not to send anything to a publisher until you have reviewed it with sober eyes in the morning. Well… afternoon. Morning-hangover eyes aren&rsquo t much use.

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Conte's success with the system looks to be setting the standard and it wouldn't be a great shock to see a three-man defence used even more frequently next season.

Moshe P
I am a writer and I have a question. Let's say I have a 6,955-word short story, submitted to a magazine. Now, another magazine wants a 955-word flash fiction and my 6,955-word story's core essence fits perfectly. I manage to condense it from 6,955 to 955, give it a new title (or leave it as is), change the characters' names (or leave them as is), etc.

I'd recommend submitting to any horror comps/mags first and then self-publishing. If some of the stories are previously published, it can help gain recognition. Check out Fiction Desk - they do a ghost story competition every year. Also try Chilling Tales for Dark Nights and Dark Tales (although I think they might have stopped the competition now).

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.

John R
Hello Christopher, I just found your site and it looks great. A great deal of advice and help. I do so want to move forward and write short stories. Each day I write about 655 words, then I can't seem to write any more. Is it possible you can help me with my problem please? The stories are all different. I do read Scribble and the Writing Mags.

I must admit though, as a new writer, I am finding all the various magazines / websites / comp's you can send your work to like a minefield! Which ones are good? Which ones are a waste of time? Anyway, I'm not expecting you to answer those questions, it's down to me to do all the research.

Ellen E
Recently I contacted you to ask your advice. I wish I'd done it sooner! You were so helpful and the mention of your name resolved the problem very quickly!

I submitted to Aeon too and they weren&rsquo t interested in my submission either. I suspect they receive a lot of submissions as they&rsquo re well known, so I wouldn&rsquo t worry too much as the competition is likely to be very high. You could try Strange Horizons or Light Speed Magazine. They are US magazines with a similar audience, so that might work for you :-)

Rachael-Samantha H
Hi, I am really interested in becoming a writer. I've always had so many stories in my head but have never written them down. I know as soon as I start I won't be able to stop, so I never started. I would like to write. I've got so many ideas - mostly fiction - but it's deep stuff, not really humorous as such. I had a really good idea for a romantic thriller and penned a bit of a plan for it - start, middle, end - but just never got around to starting to write it. I'm quite good at thinking up short stories too.

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