Saturday, 31 October 2009

places to send your work to part 4: Six Sentences

(a day late, but ssshhh...)

Because I'm really trying to do NaNoWriMo this year, and be in Full On Birthday Mode for my boyfriend's 30th this weekend, I'm cheating a little with Part 4 of the Places to send your work to series.

It's not really cheating, it just feels like it is because Six Sentences is a place I know fairly well, because I visit it every day, read the stories they publish every day, comment on most, and have been published there twice (Velcro and Ex).

I've also been rejected twice - but rejection comes in an almost-not-really-rejecting-you way, by suggesting you post your story on the Six Sentences Social Network instead. So far, I haven't taken that up.

Okay - I love Six Sentences for these reasons:

-it's friendly and busy: there are a good bunch of people who comment on most if not all stories published

-the work is varied: all different types of stories go up, and because there are 3 new ones each day you'll usually find one that you like, if not love

-it's easy and quick to sub to: email a story made up of six sentences with a short biography of yourself and you'll receive a reply within 6 days. If it's a yes - your story goes up as soon as you get the email telling you it has. That's very fulfilling for a writer, rather than having to wait a couple of weeks or months to see your work in print/online.

That's just 3 reasons. Darn it, if I had time I'd write 6.

Whether you're a reader or a writer I urge you to go and check out Six Sentences, if you haven't already. (I know a lot of you have, because a few of my much appreciated followers found me there.)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Nanoo Nanoo

I used to love Mork and Mindy.

Though I forgot about their entire existence until I just went to title this post NaNoWriMo and instead 'Nanoo Nanoo' came from my subconsious and then pushed me towards a Google Image Search where I found them so quickly and easily (I do heart you, Modern Age).

So, allow me to cut out the middle man for you and just paste some magic here:


Oh yeah, so, I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year, and my name for there is they.fall.back in case anyone wants to 'add me' - if that's how things are done. I sorta tried this this last year and got very close to nowhere with it. But I think I'm ready this year- despite not having much success just typing the word a few minutes ago.

I've joined a group on Andrea-a-cat-of-impossible-colour's blog. Andrew wrote her novel during NaNoWriMo 2008 and now has a book deal with Random House for it... inspiring stuff.

So, anyone reading now going to do Nano? Tell me who you are... say Nanoo Nanoo...

Friday, 23 October 2009

It's Friday so I have something to tell you about

I'm really not sure I should be sharing this with you. I'm not sure I should be alerting anyone else to such a great looking opportunity.

BUT, it's Friday, and I said I'd tell you about some cool or interesting place or competition or something you could get your creative teeth into... So here we go.

El Gouna Writers' Residency are offering three one month-long residencies in 2010 (Feb, May and June) for writers who are working on a specific project and need a tranquil haven of a place to work in. You get to stay, for free, in a beautiful villa in El Gouna, Egypt, by the Red Sea, with 4 - 6 other writers.

You do have to pay to get yourself there, that's the only thing. But you get your accomodation, breakfast and evening meals cooked for you for the whole month, and your own private room to be a writer in.

To apply, you must fill in a downloadable application form and scan and e-mail the following:
  • A biographical sketch including publications, performances and writing credits.
  • A ten page sample of your latest work.
  • A one page description of the work to be undertaken while at the Residency.
  • Two letters of recommendation e-mailed directly to the above mentioned e-mail address
  • In case the writer has a publishing contract for the project in process, he/ she should kindly state this.
Do this by November 30th.

I think it's a pretty nice deal if you can afford the air fare. Hmmm... I can't, but I could apply and if accepted do a jewellery heist when I'm in London next. Are you even allowed to joke about such things?

(Not that the stuff up there is news, really. I just like saying 'in other news'.)

Alex, editor of Tomlit asked me if I'd like to be a reader for all the submissions of poetry and prose he's receiving - and of course I said yeah - cos what a cool opportunity to be involved in a literary mag in the opposite way of my usual subbing. So I have a nice pile of other people's work to read tonight, and I'm pretty excited.

I don't have a plan, or any criteria, I'll just see how I feel about each piece and then feedback to Alex. A criteria could emerge naturally, and it'll be interesting to see how the process will work.

Hope you're all ever-so-well.

Monday, 19 October 2009

new piece over at Metazen

Thrilled, thrilled thrilled to be here.

a Tomlit and a to-do

Tomlit Quarterly Issue 1 came out today, and if this has been a succesful bit of copy and pasting and embedding you should see it thus:

Click on it and peel the pages. I'm muchos happy to have my story I don't know her name, I want it to be Nerissa right there 'pon page 5. 'Blogging World' friends Jessica Patient and Nik Perring also have pieces in there. And check out the photographs of Chicago by Bliss Braoudakis.

Today has been full, in a very good way. It's one of my days off work and, by contrast, I spent last Monday lolling and laying about on the sofa delicately holding my forehead and vowing never to drink again. You see last Monday, I was very annoyed at myself for 'losing' a day off to having one too many Sunday night drinks after a weekend of long shifts. Excessive tiredness + excessive wine = NO, Teresa, NO!

So, this Monday morning, fresh and rested, I wrote a list of things I'd like to/need to do today:

They're in no particular order - a sort of brainstorm - but I've not-on-purpose seperated 'household/boring' into its own category on the left, and 'creative/fun' on the right. But - how did 'run' end up in creative/fun? Odd brain.

So you can see I've ticked quite a few off - and let me add that 'train station - tickets' took a lot of time, a lot of queueing, a lot of giving people who were taking ages to sort their journeys out evil looks as they left. Then I took ages to sort my own journey out. Kept my shamed eyes to the floor as I exited past the long, long queue of people still waiting.

Also, 'casserole' was very time consuming because I've put shallots in it and had to peel each and every one.

Importantly, the 'free-writing/creative' part was done before anything else, and involved me unearthing and taking an old notebook (c2006) to a cafe this morning and reading through to see what amazing gems of writing I've written but forgot about. Ahem. I did find two ideas that I like and am working on turning into something.

So - what's left- I've blogged about Tomlit - check.

I'm not ready to edit after the cat (a short story).

'Reading/mslexia/relax' - hmmm, well I'm relaxing now:

- possibly un-doing any good I did with 'run'.

Friday, 16 October 2009

places to send your work to: part 2 - The Dana Awards

*post edited slightly since I had an email from the Dana Awards organiser*

I've been ferreting around the web and various listings sites looking for something interesting to share with you for Part 2 of my 'Places to send your work to' series.

If you missed it, last week I wrote about Tomlit Magazine. Alex, the editor, tells me he's accepted quite a few pieces sent to him as a result of that post, which is excellent news.

I thought it'd be nice to focus on a competition this week. There are a few big-name and established annual competition deadlines coming up: Fish, Sunday Times, Cinnamon Press. I thought about writing about one of those but they get a fair bit of attention anyway, so instead I'm going with the Dana Awards (listed in Mslexia Magazine).

When I looked them up I found this, not the flashiest of websites, but one where you get the 'feel' of the people who run it quite easily. Mary Elizabeth Parker is a writer herself while her husband Michael Dana (see, she named the award after him) provides the funding. Judging is done in-house at the moment, with a view to getting more outside judges for future prizes.

There are 3 categories in the Dana Awards, each with a prize of $1000.

1. The Novel Award: for the first 50 pages of your novel (completed or in progress). Any genre, except memoir.

2. The Short Fiction Award: for short stories up to 10,000 words in length. Again, no memoirs.

3. The Poetry Award: for the best group of 5 poems. No light verse.

I think $1000 is very generous, especially as it's awarded in each category.

There's no promise of publication - this is purely a 'monetary encouragement' award, supportive of unrecognised talent. You do have to pay to enter, as with most competitions. It's $15 for short stories and groups of poems, $25 for novels.

All entries must be made by post, to
Mary Elizabeth Parker, Chair
Dana Awards
200 Fosseway Drive
North Carolina
USA 27455

Looking at the past winners they are very heavily located in the US. This isn't a bad thing if you're not in the US - since I found the Dana Awards listed in Mslexia Magazine I'm sure they're looking for a more international flavour this year. *I've just had an email from Mary Elizabeth assuring me they do get entries from international writers but they'd love to have more on board this year*

Closing date is soon - entries should be postmarked by Oct 31st.

I'll end with this direct quote from the website about what they're looking for:

Whether fiction or poetry, it must be work that is original yet not merely sensational for the sake of sensation. It must contain clear, well-developed themes and be written in a style that exhibits love of language and mastery of craft.

If fiction, whether literary/mainstream or genre fiction, the characters must be fully drawn, not stereotypes, and must be engaged in conflicts (either internal or external) that are compelling and show forward momentum.

In both poetry and fiction, if it's a universal story (love, death, loss, coming of age, moral responsiveness or failure to respond), it must be told in a fresh way.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

improv rulez

Saw the best film I've seen in ages yesterday - Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee. Directed by Shane Meadows and starring Paddy Considine, it's a short (71mins) fake documentary about a roadie with a sideline in managing rap acts, well one rap act - real life Midlands rapper Scor-Zay-Zee.

It was made in 5 days (part of Meadow's '5-day-features' venture) for a tiny amount of money and was mostly (if not all) improvised. It's so very funny, and Paddy Considine is amazing. I wanted to say all this better but I'm in a rush so I just urge you to watch the clip I've linked to up there and here and if you like the look of it go see it if it's playing near you.

Also - very happy to say that Metazen accepted a short I sent them this week, not sure when it's going up yet but I'll link to it when it is.

*post script*
Thanks to Nik Perring: I went to from his blog to his wonderful story on Metazen and decided to sub from there.

Hope you're all having a super day.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

come and get it

Okay, I got this fab idea from Tania Hershman's blog.

Here's the deal:

The first 3 people to reply to this comment will get a lovely thing from me.

But WHY?

It's like one of those 'Random acts of kindness' thingies. No big big reason. Tania did it because she felt like some pretty nice things have happened to her lately and she wanted to give a bit back, or, and this is a painful expression, "Pay it forward". I feel the same. I've had some good bits of writing news lately: some you know, some you will soon.

If you look in Tania's comments box you'll see how I jumped in and yelled "Give me a lovely thing!" or similar. You have to be quick and bold here.


You are agreeing, when you throw your comment in my comment box, that you will do something or give something lovely to 3 other people. I mean it. No self self selishness, please.

You don't have to do it like this, in a blog-way, but you have to do it in some way. Or the world will end. Or be less good. One or the other.


Who wants a lovely thing and will in turn do/give 3 lovely things to/for 3 other people?

Friday, 9 October 2009

places to send your work to: part 1 - Tomlit

I'm going to start a regular thing.

It will happen every, let's say: Friday.

It will happen here.

It will be about how I've found an interesting thing and how I'm sharing it with you.

The interesting thing will always be about a place accepting submissions of short stories.

Sometimes it will be a publication, like a printed thing or an online thing, sometimes it will be a competition or a prize.

This is not a groundbreaking thing. You should know that.

There are websites, good websites, with submission listings as far as your eyes can see. Well, with far more places listed than one per week.

But, I think it's nice to share, and I'm always looking for new places to send work to, or read work at. And I like being pointed in directions by other writers myself. And I'll try to make it meaningful, I won't just copy and paste from somewhere else. I'll, like, really try. I'll email editors and ask them questions. My word, there'll be no stopping me.

Seems fitting to point my finger first at Tomlit. Not because they've been very good to me this week, but because the editor, Alex, and I have been in contact a fair amount and I know he really wants to expand this place for fiction, poetry and artwork. First though, he needs more good quality submissions coming his way, so I offered to give a little shout-out here.

So, as well as showcasing original and interesting work on the website, a free-to-sign-up-for web based magazine is in the pipeline. This will be emailed directly to subscribers' inboxes and will include completely new work as well as features.

In print, the Tomlit Digest is a single sheet of A4 comprised of a few select pieces of poetry and fiction, and is free to anyone who picks one up (it's mainly found in bookshops in Charing Cross Road). This is a tool to 'get stuff out there', generating interest in Tomlit and the writers included.

Each week, Alex reviews a short story he's read online, with a link to the story and the webpage of the writer. I think this is a fab idea, and again is very supportive of writers out there trying to make it and be heard. (And I'm very grateful to have my story Ex reviewed there.)

Send flash fiction up to 1500 words, short stories 1500-4000 words, features up to 5000 words and poems of no more than 80 lines (all attached as word documents). Artwork should be attached as a jpeg.

"Tomlit is a home for writing, art and friends. We set up to give us somewhere to display the work we believe in by people we love. If you're not our friend yet, please get in touch because I'm sure it'd be great to meet you. "

Check the website for more guidelines and to get a feel of the place.

And, if you send something, good luck.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

new piece over at Tomlit

Something very cool sprang from my story 'Ex' being published at Six Sentences last week.

I had an email from Alex, the editor of a new online literary magazine, who'd seen and liked my story over at Six enough to invite me to contribute a piece of fiction to his magazine, Tomlit.

This was such a wonderful thing - and also a first - to be asked to write something. Someone has read your work and likes what you do. Hard to get your head around, but very very cool.

I felt a little bit of pressure; I wanted to send the right thing for the feel of the magazine and for Alex to not feel awkward if it wasn't right.

He liked it. It's called I don't know her name. I want it to be Nerissa and you can read it here.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

new piece over at Six Sentences

I'm so very pleased to say that the good people at Six Sentences accepted the story I sent them this week. It's called 'Ex' and you can read it, rate it and leave a comment if you want to HERE.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


yeah, I said 'coolio'...

So I got an email today from the editor at Writers' Forum to say they are publishing my short story, Have you met the new guy? in their December issue. £150! Fantastique.

It goes on sale on November 4th and you can buy it in WH Smith's, Borders, all that jazz.

It's a story I didn't know what to do with because it's quite different from my usual writing style. It's a comedy, and I guess it's got a twist ending. I think. I'm too used to it to know if there's an element of suprise or not. I wrote it about 3 or 4 years ago, prompted by a conversation with someone at work, and really I wrote it to amuse myself, initially at least.

So yeah, coolio!

a thing published, a possibility, a regret

It's been in my 'Coming Soon' section for ages - today Fiction at Work have published a very short piece I wrote a while ago called Approaching girls in Dixons in their Short Shorts section and you can read it here.

And other writing news - Writers' Forum have shortlisted a story I sent to them for possible publication. They asked me to resend the story plus a biog and photograph to the editor so we'll see what he thinks, if he thinks it'll fit. If it does, it'll pay either £100, £150 or £300 - which would be, well, ace right now.

I always find writing biographies tough. 'Teresa Stenson is...' ???

You want to sound professional, but not too serious. Interesting, but not try-hard-quirky. My most regretted biography: 'Teresa Stenson is happiest with a cinnamon whirl in one hand a cup of good coffee in the other.' YAK!