Check out some books by your tutor Fiona Veitch Smith … (click on the book covers to find out more)

fiona-veitch-smith-the-jazz-files fiona-veitch-smith-the-peace-garden fiona-veitch-smith-david-and-the-hairy-beast fiona-veitch-smith-david-and-the-giant

free creative writing courseIn this final session in The Crafty Writer’s online creative writing course, I would like to leave you with some advice on how to develop your writing further. If you’re so inclined, you can join a writers’ group (for UK groups; for US and international groups) or an online critiquing group (for poetry and short stories). Be warned though, you may have to ‘shop around’ as many of these groups are filled with people who will just nod and smile and not give you constructive advice. Sometimes, you may have to pay for a professional critique to ensure you get a truly objective and constructive perspective.

Writing as a hobby

Even if you have no interest in earning money from your writing and simply do it for pleasure, it’s good to try and get some of your work published. This will give you a deadline to work towards and the added incentive to develop your writing to the best it can be.

Writing competitions

Competitions are excellent ways to develop your writing. If you get somewhere, you will be greatly encouraged that someone else thinks you have some ability. Some competitions offer critiques as prizes, which are invaluable, and if you’re lucky, even if you don’t win, one of the judges might offer you some advice. Beware though, many of these competitions ask for an administration fee. You need to decide whether it’s a legitimate fee or just a money-making enterprise. I would be loathe to pay more than £5. Competitions also give you a deadline and a reason to finally finish that masterpiece you started three years ago!

The Vanity Trap

Beware of competitions that are simply fronts for vanity publishing projects. These are particularly rife in the poetry world, where all ‘winners’ are included in a special bound volume which you have to buy (albeit at a supposedly discounted rate). I must confess I once succumbed to this, believing my poem actually had some merit, only to discover that every poet in my newsroom had also been accepted – and some of their creations were pretty dire. Even worse, one of my colleagues who was short of cash, told the competition organisers that she was happy to have her poem included in the anthology but she couldn’t afford to buy one. Not surprisingly, her poem was suddenly excluded.

Poetry Competitions

Here are a selection of poetry competitions you may wish to enter.

Short Story Competitions

Exercise 32
Go through the competitions listed about and choose one. Commit yourself to writing something to send off. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Writing commerically

After a bit of success in the competition world (or even without it if you’re brimming with confidence) you may want to actually earn a bit of money from your writing. But don’t be under the illusion that you will be able to live off the proceeds; most writers earn less than the designated British minimum wage – so don’t give up the day job yet!

Magazines that publish short stories

  • The Short Story Website – an extensive list of magazines that publish short stories from the people behind Save the Short Story Campaign.

Magazines that publish poetry

  • The Poetry Kit – thanks to this fabulous resource listing magazines from around the world that publish poetry, I have no need to re-invent the wheel.

Further courses

If this course gave you a taste for writing and you would like a bit more input, why not sign up for one of these courses below:

  • Non-fiction writing course – another superb free online course brought to you by The Crafty Writer!
  • Email College – offers free writing courses delivered to your in-box.
  • The Arvon Foundation – highly respected residential short courses based in the UK.
  • The Open University – offer short 10 week correspondence courses, mostly completed online. You will have the benefit of being able to communicate with other students in online conferences and workshops.

Book Resources

the-writers-and-artists-yearbookDon’t forget to check out the Crafty Writer Bookshop for writing guides. Market reviews such as the Writer’s Market and The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook also have short story and poetry courses and competition info.

Well, that brings us to the end of our journey together (sniff!). I hope you’ve enjoyed this creative writing course as much as I have. It’s been a delight getting to know some of you and I hope you will continue to visit. Please drop me a line if you would like an in-depth critique of your work. But if you don’t have any cash right now, don’t worry, there’ll always be free info and friendship at The Crafty Writer. Adieu!

59 comments on “Markets, Competitions and Opportunities

  1. Thank you Fiona your course has been very enjoyable.
    It has made me think about my novel in progress.
    I found the 4th session particularly helpful it made the show/tell thing really clear for me.

  2. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Glad to have been of service, m’dear! All the best with the novel. I’m considering doing a series sometime next year on structuring a novel; just need to find the time. Might see you then :) Fiona

  3. Soobdoo on said:

    Just say the word Fiona and I’ll be there.

  4. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    In the meantime, Sue, spread the word about the site! Thanks doll (a South African expression!). Three act structure is my forte’ darling, so I’ll be doing something on how to apply it to a novel structure as soon as I have time. I’m pretty busy right now with my short film and theatre script. I’ve also got some picture book ghostwriting to do, so won’t be much before March.


  5. Rebecca Laffar-Smith on said:

    I’ll be there for the novel series too Fiona!

    I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far in your other series. You have a knack for breaking it down into manageable chunks. If only everything was so easy to understand. Thank you!

  6. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Thanks Rebecca! I taught a course at an adult ed centre on structuring novels based on Aristotle’s three act structure a few years ago. It was aimed at children’s writers, but I hope to adapt it for general writers too. So many ideas, so little time!

  7. Madison S on said:

    I’m glad I decided to take this course. It was very helpful and I will continue to learn as much as I can about creative writing. :)

  8. Nantalaga on said:

    Hi Fiona,

    I have always wanted to be a writer, author or anything that relates to writing. I have done some literature courses but it involved mostly reading and reviewing known and well established/famous author’s books. they taught us some creative writing in Uni but it was never really practical. I have enjoyed this so much will have to return to take it in all well. Thanks for the practical advise.

  9. Nantalaga on said:

    Thanks for the course. Very enlightening.

  10. spartan on said:

    Hi Fiona
    Thank you for this web site. It is the first useful site I came across as I begin my journey of writing. My goal is to write short stories as a first step.

    One correction The link The “Save The Short Story ” seems to be incorrect – did you mean to point it to

    Thank you!

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      You’re welcome, Spartan. Here’s to a happy writing new year. And thanks for letting me know about the link change. This is an oldish article and no doubt the Save the Short Story people have updated their website.

  11. Valosar on said:

    I’ve just finished reading all of your articles and found them to be very helpful. Some of the links there at the end are out of date but as you mentions already this is an older article. From across the pond in the US to you over there in the UK I say thank you for offering this help for free. I’ve also read several of your other posts on the craft writer, this is exactly the kind of help a novice writer needs (a lot of websites shock you with the facts about how few writers finish their novels or get published and then leave you there in shock doubting yourself, but your words were very encouraging) I’ve always dreamed of being a writer ever since my first english classes in middle school. Until now I’ve put that dream off (I’m 30 at this point) I figure if I put it off much longer I’ll be writing in heaven ^_^

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      I was 30 when I started writing seriously. In fact I’ve just done an interview about it over at A good age to start a new career. Good luck!

  12. Frances C. Martin on said:

    The lessons were instructive and useful.
    The last lesson on markets and competition has urged me, a novice writer, to take my writing to the next level.
    You’ve rendered a much needed service.
    Thank you very much.

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      You’re most welcome Frances. And congratulations for getting to the end. Some of these comps and other links may be out of date as this course was written 6 years ago. But hopefully you will still get the idea that there are lots of outlets for your work if you do a little bit of market research. Happy writing!

  13. Thank you a lot for the free course. Your website is great.

  14. sharmistha on said:

    thanx a lot…

  15. Sushrut on said:

    Thts a nice little course… :) Thank You! :)

  16. Michael McGrath on said:

    Thanks for the course! I have written two short stories while going through the stages and have enjoyed the open and clear instructions. I plan on continuing and I’ll send some off to competitions while getting involved in some groups. Thanks again for what is a brilliant free course. I’ll be sure to credit you when I publish my first collection!


  17. Annelise.P on said:

    Dear Fiona,
    Excellent work! Very concise and informative. Many blessings for you!

  18. Paul C. Yellamaty on said:

    Dear Ms. Smith

    Thank you so very much for imparting such valuable knowledge. I just finished reading all free courses and 2moro I will start ‘studying’ them. More importantly, I am now more motivated than ever, to pursue a writing career.

    Once againg thank you,

    Best regards,

    Paul C. Yellamaty

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Brilliant news, Paul. Well done on getting to the end. And good luck when you start working on it in more detail.

  19. Jim Sheeran on said:

    I have enjoyed this course very much. Don’t know if I have the guts to go any further just yet but I’m thinking about it. Thank you for your expertise and encouragement. Best Wishes, Jim Sheeran, Crestone, Co.

  20. Jude on said:

    Thanks. I found the course a great motivator. It was informative and to the point…sort and sweet!

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