Aiming for 100 Rejections a Year…

Aiming for 100 rejections a year seems like a crazy, self-destructive path for a writer. I mean really, if one rejection is enough to have us reaching for the tissues, that glass of red, or that piece of  Vennels coffee cake, then any more starts to look dangerous for the waistline and the heart

But wait, I see that it’s not as crazy as it sounds, here’s author, Kim Lao, after deciding to aim for 100 rejections a year – ‘Since I’ve started aiming for rejections, not acceptances, I no longer dread submitting. I don’t flinch (much) when I receive inevitable form rejection emails. Instead of tucking my story or essay apologetically into a bottle and desperately casting it out to sea, I launch determined air raids of submission grenades, five or ten at a time. I wait for the rejections, line up my next tier of journals, and submit again…

The great news is that in the writing life, there’s always something or someone new to get rejected by. In the towering waves of slush, be it high tide or low tide, my own modest submission is out there, like a tiny sailboat, bobbing afloat, perhaps bringing me closer to land.’  READ the whole of this inspiring piece HERE including the experiment that left ceramics students paralyzed by theorizing about perfection – now that is dangerous

Here’s my post on Brene Brown and the disease of perfectionism



8 Tips for Writing What You Don’t Know

As promised here are my top tips for writing what you don’t know, whether it be time, place or both:

1. Imagine, imagine, imagine – imagination comes before research. You can imagine it all. Trust your imagination, it’s your greatest tool. Only later will you need to back it up with research.

2. Don’t get hung up on the research- do only as much as you need and don’t feel you have to use it all. I often do my research as I go along.

3. Primary sources are the best – journals, official records, diaries, fiction written in the time or place, blogs, videos…

4. Sweat the small stuff – this is where the research is important – the small details are crucial.

5. An image can be worth a thousand words – use paintings, photos, maps, etc to inspire you

6. Be patient, know that it will take longer and be harder – but it will be fascinating and worth every minute of time spent.

7. Use a timeline – it will help prevent confusion and keep things right

8. Names are crucial – people, places, streets, fauna, flora etc – they must be authentic.

Writing What You Don’t Know

Writing What You Don’t Know – is the best adventure you’ll ever go on as a writer, believe me. Its hard, at times painstaking, always exacting but ultimately so rewarding…

When Isabel Costello invited me onto her Literary Sofa to talk about writing my novel, Sometimes A River Song, and suggested I might like to do a, ‘Writers on Location,’ piece, it was time to confess. I hadn’t been on location. I had never been to Arkansas. Not even close. I had not explored its mountains and forests or sailed its great rivers down to the Mississippi Delta, and yet place, in particular an Arkansas river, is the thread on which the novel hangs. It begins and ends with the river and the 2016-05-16-18-38-04river is constant throughout.

So how did I come to write about something so far from my experience, a place and a people I knew nothing of and all set in the 1930s?

Well, here’s how….One evening, by pure chance,

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Voting in the People’s Book Prize and Lots of Competitions

Firstly, before I get down to a whole host of competitions for you to peruse, I’ve had a number of emails from people trying to vote for Sometimes A River Song, for the Peoples Book Prize but finding it tricky – I have to agree it can be, but it is a truly democratic and  worthwhile prize, so I do hope this guide will help and THANK YOU- THANK YOU for your support

Go to the Peoples BOOK PRIZE – here

Click on Register – which is right at the top, along with other tabs, like Home and About us etc or is HERE

You will then have to fill in your name, email address, then solve a simple sum and click on SUBMIT

You will then be sent a password to your email. If it does not appear in your email check your JUNK MAIL FOLDER.

Now go back to the main page again HERE. Click on the image for Sometimes A River Song. Fill in email and password. PASSWORD IS CASE SENSITIVE

Click on the vote square – a green tick should appear. Comment if you wish, solve the simple maths problem and click SUBMIT.

If it keeps going wrong try starting afresh – if you can bear it! CHEERS,


Now for the COMPETITIONS – good luck (click continue reading to find them all)

Hodder & Stoughton’s literary imprint Sceptre is marking the release of a collection of stories about love in November by launching a love-themed short story competition.

How Much the Heart Can Hold contains seven commissioned original short stories each exploring a different concept of love, authored by award-winning writers Bernardine Evaristo, Carys Bray, D. W. Wilson, Donal Ryan, Grace McCleen, Nikesh Shukla and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.

The competition, called “Sceptre Loves”, will coincide with the collection’s launch by

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Sometimes a River Song,The People’s Book Prize

One of the great things about being with a small independent publisher like mine – the lovely Linen Press – is that they have time for you, and they nourish the book by entering it for prizes. index

This time it’s the People’s Book Prize – yes, the one where you the people vote.  We are really hoping that Sometimes a River Song can make the shortlist and would love it if you could support us. It’s easy to vote, no reviews necessary this time. You can do so directly by registering on the website HERE

As always, THANK YOU, without readers, without your support and feedback, our writing is a pale thing: A writer only begins a book, a reader finishes it – Samuel Johnson

Avril x


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