Friday, 29 November 2013

Winners to be announced

We will announce the winners of the October Global Short Story Competition on Friday December 6.
Two days to enter the November Global Short Story Comp. Another low entry, good time to go for the £100 first prize You can enter at

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A link down the ages

I am often reminded that our competitions are part of a great cultural tradition, a small part, I grant you, but a part all the same.

You see, stories have shaped the world in which we live and helped inform the way we think and continue to do so.

All across the world can be found great storytelling traditions dating back thousands of years. From Africa to Europe, North and South America to Asia with its Indian epic tales and the storytelling tradition in China dating back to 206BC, the telling of stories has been part of cultural development.

This train of thought was prompted by an recent entry into the November Global Short Story Competition from Hong Kong. Indeed, we receive entries from all over the world, fifty-plus countries last time we added them up.

But why storytelling? Well, a New York Times article from 2007 reported that researchers had found that the human brain, wherever it may be in the world, has an affinity for narrative construction, with people finding it easier to remember facts if they are presented in a story rather than as a list.

John Dean

Grabbing the reader

OK, OK, I know I bang on about starts but some of the entries into the November Global Short Story Competition (still a very low entry, good time to have a go at the £100 first prize) show their importance.

Whether it’s drawing the reader into the author’s world through vivid description, creating intrigue through a striking sentence or idea or introducing us to a fresh and distinctive voice, the opening lines of several of the stories grab you.

And they need to because a good start can take you a long way and tip the odds of success in competitions like ours.

You can enter at

John Dean

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Storytelling in a flash

Our free flash fiction competitions are attracting plenty of interest so I thought it would be handy to provide some background information on the genre - and dispense some handy hints.

Flash fiction is fiction of extreme brevity. The standard, generally-accepted length of a flash fiction piece is 1000 words or less. A short-short (it’s all a movable feast!) measures 1001 words to 2500 words, and a traditional short story measures 2501 to 7500 words. A novelette runs from 7501 words to 17,500, a novella 17,501 words to 40,000 words, and a novel 40,001 words and up

Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story

The term ‘flash fiction‘ may have originated from a 1992 anthology of that title.

As the editors said in their introduction, their definition of a ‘flash fiction‘ was a story that would fit on two facing pages of a typical digest-sized literary magazine, or about 750 words.

However, the genre goes back much longer than that and flash fiction has its roots in Aesop’s fables. Practitioners have included Anton Chekhov, Ray Bradbury, Franz Kafka and Kurk Vonnegut.

The Internet has brought new life to the genre through its demand for short, concise pieces of writing - blogs and the like are brilliant disciplines for writers (especially given that over-writing is one of the biggest problems for many authors. The good ones are brutal enough to cut much-loved scenes, characters and phrases if they detract from the flow of the story).

One type of flash fiction is the short story with an exact word count, a word either way and it is disqualified. Types include:

Nanofictions, complete stories, with at least one character and a discernible plot, exactly 55 words long.

Drabbles, exactly 100 words, excluding titles

69ers - exactly 69 words, excluding the title. The 69er was a regular feature of the Canadian literary magazine NFG.

So how short can a flash fiction be? Well, it is alleged that the greatest example was written by Ernest Hemingway in response to a challenge in a bar. While it seems certain that Hemingway did not write it, the following six word story is truly brilliant - moving, emotional with a back story and you can see the characters. For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Good writing should trigger something in your reader; because of a sad event in our family life those six words never fail to evoke emotion.

Here’s some tips for writing flash fiction.

Write the story without worrying about the word count and make sure that it has all the necessary story elements. Just because it is short does not mean plot, conflict and resolution are lost

Having written it, start cutting. Keep dialogue short, description sparse. Take out every word that is not essential (a good rule for any kind of writing).

Start in the middle of the story (another good rule for general fiction) Plunge the reader directly into the action.

Ask yourself what the reader absolutely needs to know. Ok, so she’s wearing a pink top but do we need to know anything more? Or does it matter that she’s wearing a pink top at all? If yes, keep it in, if no, hit the delete button.

Make every word count. Each word has a job to do: do your words do their job? If yes, keep them in, if not - well, you know the rest!
* We have launched our latest free flash fiction competition. Prize £50. You can enter and find out more at

John Dean

Open mic night

The next Open Mic night for authors, the last of 2013, is on Thursday November 28.  The nights, supported by Darlington for Culture and which offer a forum for writers to read their material and audiences to enjoy it, run at Voodoo Café/Cantina, 84 Skinnergate, Darlington, UK, on the last Thursday of the month. Each session starts at 7pm and the cost of entry is £3 paid on the door.
More information is available from Inscribe Media Limited at

Low entry means good chance to win

Time is running out to enter the November Global Short Story Competition and, with just eight entries to date, it’s a great time to have a go at the £100 first prize and £125 for the highly commended story.

Launched more than five years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers. The competition, which has topped £10,000 in prize money handed out, has had entries from more than 50 countries over the years.
Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based. The competition can be entered at

* Inscribe Media is also running a free flash fiction competition at its Facebook page at or accessed through

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Numbers Game is published

Not so Noble Books have published The Numbers Game, the first novel by North East of England author John Stanley, as an ebook.
When a body is found in a house on a street marked for demolition, DCI Danny Radford and his team immediately come up against the actions of developers and local activists, all of whom seem intent on thwarting their investigation.
As more bodies are discovered, it becomes clear a serial killer is at work but will the interference of politicians into the police’s work allow the murderer to avoid Radford's efforts to bring him to justice for his homicidal games?
The book can be purchased at

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Amazon debate

I love bookshops as much as the next person, love being able to go along the shelf picking what to read next, and I support the shops whenever I can, particularly the little independents.
However, I can also see the value of online purchasing. Certainly, we at Inscribe rely on Amazon to sell our ebooks (for details of our titles check them out on our home page at www.inscribemedia).
So it was with interest that I read a thought-provoking article by Anne Treasure on, which includes the line ‘Amazon is good for book publishing because it is good for readers’.
I have regular debates with writers about online purchasing and the allied rise and rise of the ebook. My view? I’ll continue to support traditional bookshops wherever I can but writers also have to take note of where our audience is (and in many cases, an audience that would not use bookshops).
Same with my own books; I love the idea that they nestle on bookshelves but if a new audience finds me online, that’s fine.
The full Anne Treasure article is on

John Dean

Getting approaches to publishers right

Getting published is tough but you can give yourself a better chance if you do the proper preparation. Here are some thoughts:

Send them what they want Most publishers have certain requirements for work that is being submitted. For example, some want to receive a sample chapter and a brief synopsis of the plot, others prefer a full manuscript. Before you send a manuscript, it is a good idea to find out what is required and find out the name of the person you should send your submission to. The best publication for obtaining this information, certainly for UK writers, is the Writers’ and Artists‘ Yearbook.

Preparing your manuscript to send to a publisher Prepare your submission according to the publisher’s requirements. Details are important, so make sure your work is professionally presented and has been proof-read. The manuscript should be double spaced, with generous margins, and printed on one side of the paper only. The pages should be numbered. It is usually best not to bind or staple the manuscript: use a fastening that will allow the publisher to photocopy the manuscript easily if they wish.

Sending your manuscript to a publisher
Accompany your manuscript with a brief covering letter, not to ‘sell‘ your manuscript, but to provide some brief details. You might wish to give a little bit of background about yourself, and a description of the plot. It may be worthwhile mentioning your publishing history. For example, if you have won a short story competition (like ours!) or had short stories published in magazines this will be relevant. But keep the covering letter factual. None of this ‘my mum read it and laughed like a drain’!

Include a stamped self-addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript.

Hearing back from publishers
Publishers receive many manuscripts: it is not surprising then that it can take some time to hear back. Many publishers will send you a brief note when they receive your manuscript – often a pre-printed card – to say they have received the manuscript and to give you an indication of how long it will be before you hear from them. Most will take at least a month or two to look at your manuscript and some will take longer. If you have heard nothing after two or three months, and have not received an acknowledgement of receipt of your manuscript, it may be worth ringing the publisher to make sure the package arrived.

Good luck!

John Dean

Hotel to stage our first residential writing course

Got a story to tell? Keen to be a writer? Got a character chatting away to you? A story waiting to get out?

Then this residential weekend course in the North East of England at The Blackwell Grange in Darlington, County Durham, UK, could be for you.

Experienced creative writing tutor and novelist John Dean, who has had eleven crime novels published by Robert Hale and has appeared in a number of short story anthologies, will run a writing workshop on the weekend of May 16-18 2014 as part of the second Darlington Arts Festival.

The weekend includes:

* Two nights Accommodation (Friday 16th and Saturday 17th May 2014), two breakfasts, two dinners and one lunch

* Day-long writing workshop on the Saturday followed by a morning workshop on the Sunday, including how to create characters, structure stories and invoke a strong sense of place.

The cost for the weekend is: £205 per person based on double for sole occupancy, this rate includes VAT
To reserve your place and book your accommodation : Call the Blackwell Grange Hotel on 01325 509955 , their email is

Bookings must be made by Friday 18th April and paid in full to the hotel by Friday 23rd April 2014. Please note that minimum numbers are required for this course to run if this event needs to be cancelled you will be given a minimum 4 weeks’ notice.
About the Blackwell Grange Hotel
The Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington, County Durham has a long history, having been built as a private home by the Allan Family. Building commenced in 1693 and was finally completed in 1717, with the property being passed down through the family until 1953.

Blackwell Grange Hotel is set in nine acres of countryside with ample car parking and a leisure club which includes a small gym and swimming pool. The hotel has Free wi fi throughout the hotel.

The hotel is across the road from the Victorian South Park, with its formal gardens, and is 15 minutes walk from Darlington Town Centre.

Directions from the South

Exit the A1M at J57, follow the A66 towards Darlington, take the A167 at the second round about and the hotel is on the left hand side, it takes approx. 4 minutes from J57

Directions from the North
Exit the A1M at J58, take the A68 for Darlington. Travel to Cockerton Village. At the junction turn left then at the next mini roundabout turn right. Then take the first exit onto Carmel Road North – B6280, signposted Yarm A67. At the Elmridge Garden Centre roundabout go straight across and follow the road to the next roundabout and take the first exit to Darlington town centre. The Blackwell Grange is situated a few hundred meters along on the left.
Website -,-Darlington

About John Dean

More information about John Dean can be discovered at or

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A tale to inspire

Sick of getting rejections? Then this tale should inspire.

Publishers have been ‘spellbound’ by a first novel about witches written by a former accountant and spotted by a literary agent among a pile of manuscripts.

According to The Guardian newspaper, UK author Sally Green, 52, had no desire to write until three years ago yet her supernatural thriller about witches living secretly among us in contemporary Britain has been snapped up by publishers in 36 countries, from Canada to Ukraine, who see her as a potential big hit, with stories that will appeal to teenagers and adults alike. The film rights have been bought by Fox 2000 and Karen Rosenfelt, who produced The Twilight Saga.

So next time you consider giving up, think again - dreams can come true!

You can read the full story at

John Dean

Not that I'm one to argue....

Conflict makes stories, always has, always will, and that means writing arguments. The key thing about writing arguments is that they’re not at all like real life confrontations so here’s some thoughts.

*They shouldn’t have repetitive elements - unlike real arguments which go in circles for ages and achieve little

* They shouldn’t be boring. Written arguments are there to keep the plot moving, maybe revealing something about a relationship between two people or giving the reader information

* There should be some sort of outcome The reader has to feel it was worth reading the argument. The writer Elizabeth Spann Craig says on this subject: “Arguments are a great way to provide conflict and tension to a manuscript. I just make sure mine aren’t as unfocused and pointless in print as the verbal variety I’ve engaged in lately.“

Finally, remember how rules of conversation work:
* A lot of the time, we do not speak in correct sentences/we often use short sharp phrases.

* Keep your dialogue crisp - we can tell a lot about a person in a short snap of conversation.

* We interrupt a lot.

* We assume a lot. Not Your brother has been murdered.

What, my brother Brian?

Yes, thats him. Your only brother. The younger one. Keep it realistic.

* Dialogue must take the story on. Make sure each word does a job.
Plenty of time to enter this month’s Global Short Story Competition at

John Dean

Monday, 18 November 2013

Half way through competition

The November Global Short Story Competition is half way through.

Launched more than five years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers.

The competition, which has topped £10,000 in prize money handed out, has had

entries from more than 50 countries over the years.
Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based. The competition can be entered at

* Inscribe Media is also running a free flash fiction competition at its Facebook page at or accessed through

In short

A reminder that all writing is about every word doing its job and that becomes an even more pronounced skill when you are writing something short, like a poem or a story.

We do receive entries which are not 2,000 words long but 200 words instead - and that is an art form in itself.

The length means that the writers had to make every word do its job and discard every word, every thought, every element of the story that slowed it down. Those stories were stripped to their basics.

Did they lose anything for that? Not really. They may have left the reader to work out a lot, think through what they were being told and where it was happening, but many of them remained powerful pieces of writing for all that.

John Dean

GIving of yourself

I was teaching a class the other night and one of the writers was writing a story based around dementia.

My father suffered dementia in the years before his death and the story I was listening to struck home as real.

And why not? Emotion is something of which some readers are wary, preferring to read work without offering too much of themselves. However, for many others, there cannot be fiction without a sense of themselves in it somewhere.

And that’s why this story worked for me

John Dean

Friday, 15 November 2013

Publishing new short story writing talent

We love short stories so much that we have published two cracking anthologies as ebooks, all featuring some exciting new talent from around the world, and edited by myself.
They are:
Global Shorts - an anthology of short stories taken from the early years of the Global Short Competition, available at

Vegemite Whiskers - a selection of some of the finest writing from Australian authors who have entered the Global Short Story Competition, available at


John Dean

Why minor characters matter

It’s worth remembering that minor characters are important to your writing and that you need to take care creating them.

They may only be part of the scenery but it’s worth drawing them well so think how they look and act, how they help the scene on, what job you want them to do.

And who knows, they may assume a greater importance? I worked with one writer who created a ‘bit part’ character designed to show how nasty the main character was.

That was all she was there for but, by the time she had stolen the scene, she had become a major character and the story had to be rewritten - and was the better for it.


John Dean

Out of this world

Although we are not a specialist science fiction competition, we do get the odd sci-fi entry so what makes good science fiction? Here are some thoughts:

* The best science fiction writers create fantastic worlds but write about them as if they were completely normal. You need to do so as well.

* Make sure the reader is able to suspend disbelief. The plot and events need to be believable.

* Base your ideas on good science - that is what makes the best sci-work, it could happen. If a story comes over as impossible, you are moving into fantasy rather than sci-fi.

* You have to explain more as the reader needs more help to see your weird and wonderful world.

* Science fiction must evoke a sense of wonder in the reader. They must want to be in that remarkable world, to meet aliens, to travel in time and space

* Awe and wonder is all very well but what is also needed is a command of writing: bug-headed aliens does not negate the need for skilful writing

What makes bad science fiction?
1 The great Science Fiction editor John W Campbell said that a science fiction writer should never put beings into a story that are so far superior to Man that we cannot understand their motives, we cannot overcome their will or we cannot meet them face to face in a fair fight. It’s a rule that stands true today


2 Don’t try to re-create popular sci-fi stories. You can be more original than that!

3 Make your aliens alien but also make them realistic

4 No, it wasn’t a dream - no one waking up to discover they were in bed all the time!

Plenty of time to enter the November Global Short Story Competition at

John Dean

Thursday, 14 November 2013

A spot of theory

Characters are central to our stories but there’s more to it than creating people. Here’s the science bit!

Characters fit into different categories, including:

Dynamic Character - a character which changes during the course of a story or novel

Round Character - a well developed character who demonstrates varied and sometimes contradictory traits

Foil - a character that is used to enhance another character through contrast.

Confidante- someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions.

Static (or flat or stock) Character – a character that remains primarily the same throughout a story or novel.

John Dean

Back to the beginning again

As you know, I place great store on getting the start right for a stories - you have to grab the reader from the off.

The first rule of opening lines is that they should possess some or most of the individual elements that make up the story. An opening line should have a distinctive voice, some suggestions of the plot and a hint of characterisation. By the end of the first paragraph, we should also know where the story is set.

It can be a good idea to start as something is happening, so that the reader arrives in the middle of something.

If you want to begin a story with dialogue, keep in mind that you are asking a lot of your reader to get their head round your story as it is so rather than lots of dialogue, maybe begin with a single line then immediately offer additional context before proceeding with the rest of the conversation.

For me, good openings include:

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” — William Gibson, Neuromancer (you can see exactly where you are)

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” — C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (so intriguing)

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.” — Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (also intriguing)

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.” — Raymond Chandler, Red Wind (a strong and distinctive voice from the off)

“We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.” — Louise Erdrich, Tracks (I defy you not to read on after that!)

John Dean

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tales of mystery and mayhem

We’re happy to promote new books and have been sent details of a e-collection of short stories - Tales of Music Mystery and Mayhem by Lucy Bignall, available on Amazon via

The book delves into a world of mystique and music with a collection of fifteen absorbing tales. Each with its unique character, these stories will take you from the sublime to the chilling, the ridiculous to the whimsical. Ghosts, fairies, dragons, dramatic teenagers – this collection has it all. A perfect read for train or plane journeys but not recommended whilst driving a car.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Which viewpoint?

Two stories entered into the November Global Short Story Competition started me thinking about viewpoints again because one was told from the third person narrator, the other from first person.

Most authors do tend to go for the conventional third person approach in the past tense. It is my natural instinct, too. I like it because it means I am standing above the action in the role of nebulous narrator.

However, many of the entries into the monthly Global Short Story Competition tell the story from one character’s, first person, viewpoint and there is a very strong argument that such an approach is the best one for short stories.

Telling stories that way does give a certain intimacy to the writing, and encourages a more personal way of storytelling in many ways, particularly if you do not have many words to develop characters. From the very first words, you have created a strong voice.

Trouble is, unless you provide other first persons you are rather restricted to what ‘I’ experiences, which can restrict the way you tell your story.

And which one is right? Well, given the highly subjective nature of writing, whichever works!

You can enter the competition at,uk

John Dean

Monday, 11 November 2013


Hi everyone

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the team behind the Global Short Story Competition.

Honours go to writers from Australia and England in September competition
Judge Fiona Cooper selected her winners for the September Global Short Story Competition and writers from Australia and England took the honours.

The £100 first place prize went to Ruth Purdie-Smith, of Sydney, Australia, for Mother Nature. Our highly commended runner up was Yara Rodrigues Fowler, of London, England, who won £25 for The Story of Maddy Appletree.
The writers on the shortlist were:

Alexander Altman, Auckland, New Zealand

Jeff Taylor, Auckland, New Zealand

Siddhant VP, New Delhi, India

Anita Goodfellow, Marlow, Berkshire, England
Winning stories are posted on You can enter the competition at the same address.

Honours go to Norway and New Zealand in August competition
Judge Fiona Cooper selected her winners for the August Global Short Story Competition and writers from Norway and New Zealand took the honours. The £100 first place prize went to Seth Townley, of Bergen, Norway, for Contemplating Breakfast. Sally Franicevich, of Auckland, New Zealand, was our £25 highly commended writer with her story Carole Anne.

The writers on the shortlist were:

Jonathan Elsom (for Blind Date)

Jonathan Elsom (for Many a Slip)

Philip Corwin, London, England

James Alexander Allen, Redhill, Surrey, England

Well done to all our successful writers.

Free stuff

Theres loads of free hints on writing at our blog at and you can also check out our free writers toolbox, which can be downloaded off the home page at

Free flash fiction competition

We have launched our latest free flash fiction competition. Its a real challenge - make us laugh or make us cry, make us feel wistful or make us feel angry, make us rebel or make us think, just as long as you make us feel something. And all in no more than 20 words. Deadline January 20, 2014. Prize £50. You can enter at

Poetry competition winner named
We named the winner of our recent free poetry competition also run on our Facebook page. The challenge was to stir emotions in no more than ten lines and the winner of the £50 prize was Chrissie Petrie.

Mentoring and courses

You can check out our new online writing courses and mentoring packages at

Nurturing new talent through our e-books

A reminder that, as part of our efforts to support and showcase new writing talent worldwide, we have published seven e-books.

They include the two latest to be published:

Lost Souls by Roger Barnes When young women start to go missing in Africa, an International Strike Force is assembled to rescue them.

Harry’s Torment by Michael Beck Set in the fictional east coast port of Thirlston and centred on investigators tackling the heroin trade.

Previously published were:
Cyber Rules by Myra King. The novel by Australian writer Myra tells the story of a farmer’s wife in isolated rural Australia. Caught up on the addictive side of the Internet, she holds a secret which may prove to be deadly.

Global Shorts - an anthology of short stories taken from the early years of the Global Short Competition.

Vegemite Whiskers - a selection of some of the finest writing from Australian authors who have entered the Global Short Story Competition.

White Gold by Roger Barnes A thriller by Roger Barnes taking the reader into a world of intrigue and danger set amid the poachers of Africa.

Haghir the Dragon Finder by John Dean, a comic fantasy for older children. Haghir

and his hopeless comrades are dragon slayers seeking a new challenge.

All the titles can be obtained by keying their titles into the search field of the Kindle shop at Australian readers will have to purchase via Amazon US at

* If you don’t have a Kindle, there is a free Kindle reading app for your PC at

* You can find more about the books on our website.

Contacting us

You can contact us as

Thank you for all your support

John Dean

Inscribe Media






Writers keep it in the family

Novelists Claire Moss and Bud Craig will remember November 2013 for a very long time. It’s unusual enough for a father and daughter to have novels published; even more so when it’s in the same month.

“I’m sure this has never happened before,” says Bud

Married with two children, Claire Moss lives in Thirsk. She was brought up and went to school in the village of Hurworth near Darlington, where her parents still live.

Bud’s crime thriller, Tackling Death, was published on 3rd November by Not So Noble Books. Carina UK will bring out Claire’s modern romance Who Do You Think You Are? on 28th November, but it can be pre-ordered now. Both are e-books, which can be downloaded via Amazon.

Tackling Death is set in the city of Salford, where Bud was born and bred. In Tackling Death ex-rugby league player turned social worker Gus Keane is closing up his case files in preparation for retirement, but a bruising encounter with a client sets off a chain of events in which he finds his boss murdered. Now turning private eye to uncover the truth, as more murders occur Gus himself comes under suspicion in a thickening plot involving blackmail and a missing girl. When he closes in on the killer will Gus come out on top or fall victim to the murderer’s desperate moves?

Bud, a member of Inkerman Writers in Darlington, hopes this will be the first in a series and has already started on the next one.

In Who Do You Think You Are? Tash is back in Doncaster from the Big Smoke, leaving a broken marriage behind her. Her parents killed in a tragic accident, she’s left rudderless and alone. So when sexy features writer Tim arrives back on the scene, she’s sorely tempted. But what if journalist Ed, rootless and troubled, is The One?

Ed’s been enjoying the expat high life, but now he’s back in Doncaster, haunted by the past he’s never quite been able to leave behind. His brother disappeared at the height of the miner’s strike never to reappear. It’s even harder now that he’s surrounded by painful reminders. If the only way to lay his brother to rest is to find out what really happened all those years ago, who better to help than sexy librarian Tash?

Claire’s first novel Northern Soul Revival was published in 2010 and is still available in paperback and as an e-book. Writing has been a big part of her life for some years and she currently runs a Writing Group in Thirsk.

What does Claire think of her Dad’s book?

“A gripping story, it deals with tough issues with a light touch. The characters are believable and sympathetic and I was gripped from the first page.”

“I loved Northern Soul Revival,” says Bud. “It kept me reading, there were nice flashes of humour and the characters were great. I have already pre-ordered Who Do You Think You Are? and can’t wait to read it.”
Publishers links:

Friday, 8 November 2013

Tackling Death

Author Bud Craig, a member of Darlington-based Inkerman Writers, in the UK, has had his first book published by No So Noble Books.

Tackling Death, available as an ebook, is about Salford-based ex-rugby league player turned social worker Gus Keane, who is closing up his case files in preparation for retirement, but a bruising encounter with a client sets off a chain of events in which he finds his boss murdered. Now turning private eye to uncover the truth, as more murders occur Keane himself comes under suspicion in a thickening plot involving blackmail and a missing girl. When he closes in on the killer will Keane come out on top or fall victim to the murderer’s desperate moves?
To purchase the book, can go to Amazon Kindle Book Store or follow the publisher’s link:

The idea of the idea

I am fascinated by ideas and where they come from. In short, they come from all sorts of sources, what we see, what we hear, what we observe, often what we believe.

It is worth examining how writers go about it:

* Writing about something you know can work. My crime novels are set in a world I know well because I was a crime reporter for newspapers and still am for magazines, and know plenty of detectives and have covered plenty of crimes. That experience makes for a deep pool of inspiration.

* It could be something in your own life. My mum’s grandfather was a widower and lived with two animals, a budgie and a cat. The man loved the budgie and the cat but the cat hated the budgie and saw it as lunch. For years, the cat waited its chance then one day the usually vigilant old man dropped his guard and left the cage door open. The budgie fluttered out - into the mouth of the cat. The distraught old man saw the feathers and drowned the cat. Inside two minutes he was left with no one. A terrific short story (sadly, the story turned out to be completely made up but hey!).

* Could be something you read or hear. A writer I taught read a newspaper snippet about a ventriloquist who died but his dummy kept talking. Cobblers, obviously, but it made for a spooky short story!

* Jonathan Swift was one of the great satirists of his age. He wanted to make the point that the men in power were small-minded so he invented a series of mystical worlds. In these worlds there were, among others, tiny people with big pretensions and obsequious courtiers who spent their days crawling across the floor until their mouths were full of dust. Since Swift’s day, the book has become better known as a children’s story but originally it was a writer giving voice to his beliefs.

John Dean

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Honours go to writers from Australia and England in competition

Judge Fiona Cooper has selected her winners for the September Global Short Story Competition and writers from Australia and England have taken the honours.

The £100 first place prize goes to Ruth Purdie-Smith, of Sydney, Australia, for Mother Nature of which Fiona says: “What a superb story! Our relationships with our mothers are always complex, particularly when the mother figure grows older and we grow older and start to see the many layers of someone who has always been a parent. The writer explores this fearlessly and manages to paint that fuller picture with fleeting references to childhood, both her’s and her mother’s. A strand of real love emerges from this complexity, and makes this story come alive in a completely compelling way.”

Our highly commended runner up is Yara Rodrigues Fowler, of London, England, who wins £25 for The Story of Maddy Appletree, of which Fiona says: “This story has an admirable structure and an economy of style which completely suits the content. Death is an inevitable event which brings so many emotions into play that there can never be a definitive book about how each individual deals with it. This story explores an intriguing set of reactions, and ultimately brings a satisfying new hope to life. Excellent!”
The writers on the shortlist are:

Alexander Altman, Auckland, New Zealand

Jeff Taylor, Auckland, New Zealand

Siddhant VP, New Delhi, India

Anita Goodfellow, Marlow, Berkshire, England
Winning stories will be posted on Well done to our successful writers. You can enter the November competition at the same address.

John Dean









Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Let’s celebrate!

One thing that has been apparent right from the start of the Global Short Story Competition is the sheer quality of the entries we receive.

We know that from our own experience and because many of our winners go on to win other competitions and also break into print with novels and anthologies.

We want to celebrate those writers and would dearly love to hear about successes from authors so we can highlight them on our site.
You can email us with details of your book and we’ll give you a shout out on our blog at

All we need is a bit of blurb and a decent jpeg of the cover, to be sent to

John Dean

Conflict - why does it matter?

Why is conflict important in writing? Because stories need things to happen and that usually comes out of conflict - characters argue, fight, feud etc.

It is through seeing characters in conflict that we see them at their truest, when their guard is down, when they are fighting something.

You can develop a character through conflict: the meek little parlour maid suddenly becomes the towering heroine of the story

Conflict takes the story on: a school is to be closed, two friends fall out, a community is torn apart by an event. All these types of conflict are a rich hunting ground for the writer.

Conflict can evoke a strong reaction in a reader

Conflict makes for good drama - and if that is happening then writing is easier.

It also gives you a structure for your story, a story to tell

John Dean

A bit of Caribbean warmth

One of the beauties of the Global Short Story Competition is the way it makes you feel. Today, as I write in rainy and cold North East England, I note that an entry came in overnight from Grenada in the Caribbean. A first for us, we think, and it made us feel a little warmer!

You can enter your story at

John Dean

Monday, 4 November 2013

Poetry competition winner named

The Inscribe team has named the winner of our recent free poetry competition. The challenge was to stir emotions in no more than ten lines and the winner of the £50 prize is Chrissie Petrie with Clay Coffee Pot.
You can read the winning poem, and find out about our current free flash fiction competition at

Friday, 1 November 2013

Why not make your reader feel uncomfortable?

Continuing my theme of evoking reactions in your reader, I think that good writing is about triggers - words, phrases, images, places, sensations - that reach deep into the readers mind.
That reaction will be based on something the reader has actually experienced, or maybe something that the reader dreads ever having to experience. It is why horror and ghost stories work so well.
Yes, you are messing about with the readers head, yes, you may be forcing them to confront difficult truths, but isnt that sometimes what writing is about?
If every story, every book, was about sugary-sweet people in lovely situations, then writing could never really move the reader as it should.
So, yes, writing can, on occasion, make the reader feel uneasy, uncomfortable, scared even, but, lets be honest, isnt that sometimes the way we feel in our daily lives anyway? Its simply art reflecting reality.

John Dean

November short story competition launches

The November Global Short Story Competition has opened for entries.
Launched more than five years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers. 
The competition, which has topped £10,000 in prize money handed out, has had entries from more than 50 countries over the years.
Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based. The competition can be entered at
* Inscribe Media is also running a free flash fiction competition at its Facebook page at or accessed through

John Dean