Brunel Creative Writing students win 1st Prizes in short story competitions

1st Prize Winner R.V. Maloney. Source: http://www.dorsetfictionaward.co.uk/uploads/1/0/2/0/102049858/published/shortlisteepicture_1.jpg

Dorset Fiction 1st Prize Winner R.V. Maloney

Congratulations to 2nd year Brunel University London Creative Writing student R.V. Maloney, who was awarded  1st place in the international Dorset Fiction competition for her short story ‘The Greater Crested Tern’.

R.V. wrote the story following her weekly Creative Writing coursework prompts. She will be awarded a £500 cash prize, and her story will be featured in Dorset Fiction’s yearly anthology.

The judges said, “Within a thousand words, the story is threaded with blooming motifs and detail which are in turn sewn in to a wonderfully metaphysical piece. The writer uses an interesting range of sometimes obfuscated literary devices, which bed well into the prose. The creative and multilevelled story instantly caught our attention, and continued to blossom in our minds long after reading.”

Check out an interview with the author, and read her award-winning story, at the Dorset Fiction Award website.

Photo Credit: Scarlet Page / Henley Literary Festival

Photo Credit: Scarlet Page / Henley Literary Festival

Joint Honours Games Design and Creative Writing graduate Aimée White was awarded First Prize in the 2017 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition.

Aimée’s winning story ‘Generation Lotus’ was written to the contest theme of Journey and was selected by a panel of judges including comedian/writer Helen Lederer, journalist and novelist Paula Cocozza, and Daily Mail Literary Editor Sandra ParsonsAimée’s impressive £1500 1st Prize in the Main contest category was announced at an Awards Ceremony at Henley Literary Festival.

You can view all the 2017 Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition winners and runners up in the Main and Children’s categories here.

 

Inspiration

Inspiration can strike at any given moment, although it most likely will strike at a really inconvenient time. Unfortunately that’s just how inspiration is. Last term I was just sitting quietly in Starbucks when all of a sudden I had a great idea for a novel and a few characters. For those writers who don’t always carry a journal I highly recommend you do so you can avoid texting yourself the idea.

When you go for looking for inspiration you most likely won’t find it. Inspiration is a tricky little bugger. Fortunately, for the times when we are looking for inspiration, we can easily cultivate it.

  1. Music

The relationship between music and writers is often a fond one. Most writers nowadays have a playlist of music they create for each novel they write. This can be a really useful tool if you want to create a certain mood in your writing. If you still don’t have an idea for next writing piece, flash fiction exercises where you have to write down the first thing that comes to mind when listening to a piece of music can be a great way to get started.

  1. Photography

It is often said that one photograph is worth a thousand words. Photographs can provide you with a certain setting, mood or tone that you potentially could capture in your prose. A few good photography websites worth a look are the Lonely Planet and In-Public.

  1. Experience, experience, experience.

I am a firm believer in ‘write what you know.’ Writing from past or present experiences can provide you with interesting scenes in your prose that are unique to you.  Writing what you know can also make your writing more authentic and believable. This does not only apply to creating events and circumstances in your novel but can also be used to create characters. More often then not, when I am developing characters for my prose I take the traits and personality of my friends and family and mix them to create a realistic and interesting individual.

You can also gain inspiration many different ways but these are just a few to get you started. If you’re still staring at that blank page not ready to dive in at the deep end then try something on this list. You never know, you might just find you’ll be inspired.

Kate McKim.

Motivation, Motivation, Motivation.

It’s cold. It’s raining. It’s miserable. You’re tucked up under a blanket watching Gavin and Stacey. It can be really hard to get up and sit at your laptop for hours writing something, whether it be for your own satisfaction or for university purposes. There’s no one there apart from yourself to push you and lack of motivation can be a real killer, especially when you’ve got a deadline looming and are feeling so snowed under by work, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or you might be bursting with ideas, but can’t find a place to begin. Here are some top tips for jumping that first hurdle and settling down to some hard graft.

1. Get up!

It might be tempting to stay under your duvet (especially is a cold house – how expensive is heating??) and say to yourself, “I can do work here”, whilst balancing your laptop on your knees. Whilst that works for some people, it might actually be more beneficial for you to sit at a desk where it feels like you are actually about to do some work, rather than lounging around in bed where it feels like you should be watching a film. Once you’re sat upright, creative juices can flow and you’ll find that you get into a rhythm of typing.

2. Be patient!

It may seem like you will never reach the bottom of that metaphorical pile of work that seems to be towering above you. However, take it one step at a time! If you try to do everything at once, you’ll be going nowhere fast. Sit down and make a list before you even do anything, making sure you know which deadline comes where.

3. Take the pressure off.

It is so difficult to get started on an assignment, or any piece of work, if you’re more focused on pressuring yourself to finish rather than the piece of work itself. Yes, the piece might be due tomorrow and you’ve only just started (we’ve all done it) but panicking about it will only take up more time. Be focused, be chilled out. It WILL get done and it will take as long as it takes. You may just have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep. Somethings gotta give!

4. Try somewhere new.

Okay, so you’ve been sat at your desk for half an hour, staring at a blank word document. Move yourself to somewhere else! It might be just moving to a different part of your room, it might be putting your feet up on the desk. Or it might be leaving your house and taking a trip to the library. Brave the horrible weather and relocate yourself. Different surroundings might spring your brain into action.

5. Wake up earlier.

Lying in until 2pm is bliss, there’s no doubting that. But if you set your alarm for 10am, you’ve got the whole day ahead of you! It gives you more daylight hours (and let’s face it, we’re running low on daylight hours) to get the work done before it gets dark outside and you just want to have dinner and relax.

These tips may seem a little clichéd, but are SO easily forgotten when it comes to the crunch. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that you DO know what you’re doing and that you need to calm down and get on with it. A little tough love on yourself may be the key.

Hilary Nouwens.