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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas and all that

As you can see LitPig is all set for the festive holidays. Best wishes to all our lovely followers for a very Merry Christmas. Normal service will resume once I can get the remote back ...

Monday 14 December 2015

Anyone for a drabble?

Did you know a story containing exactly 100 words is called a drabble? Did you also know you can win £2000 by writing a drabble for the Reader's Digest 100-word-story competition? This is a popular annual competition with no entry fee. £2000 to the adult winner, along with 2 x £200 prizes to the runner-ups. It closes on 20 February 2016 and full details are here. Once a shortlist is selected there is a public vote, which is not to everyone's tastes. Another drawback is that you hand over copyright to Reader's Digest if your story does well. However, they often publish stories not shortlisted so basically be prepared to lose your copyright - if this bothers you then don't enter. Personally, I'm happy to risk losing copyright on 100 words for the chance to win £2000.

Top tip: create a grid of 10 x 10 squares and write a word in each to reach the maximum. I try to avoid any hyphenated words as never entirely sure how these are counted. Title is optional and not included in the 100 words.

I know other writers have blogged about this competition - so why mention it again? Everyone believes this sort of competition is impossible to win ... OK, I've never won it but in 2013 I was one of two runner-ups out of >2000 entries. My 100 words netted me £100 in book tokens, which didn't last long! Unfortunately, I can no longer find any links to the story - sorry.  I wrote it in my head whilst swimming. Jotted it down when I got home and hardly tweaked it before submission - I did not labour over this for days. It was a tingle story - I got a good feeling as soon as it was done ... and for once I was right. So, you never know how well you can do unless you submit.

Go on have a dabble and write a drabble!

Monday 7 December 2015

Spread the book love

I read recently on The Prime Writer's website that the best way to support an author, and particularly an author friend, is to buy their book. I like to extend that in supporting as many authors as possible by buying books. My book buying habit can get a little out of hand so I try to spread the love in as many ways as I can. Let me count the ways ...

1. Independent bookshops - We're really lucky to have a terrific local bookshop in Steyning. The Steyning Bookshop had its 30th birthday last year and regular hosts author events. Sarah the owner is very friendly and knowledgeable. It's a wonderful place to browse and inhale books. They support local authors and stock Wendy Clarke's short story collection Room in Your Heart.

2. High street bookshops - I've recently discovered Waterstones has a Click and Collect service. You can reserve a book and later collect in store 2 hours later. I'm not sure why but it's cheaper to do this. I reserved and collected 3 books last week saving £8 on the in-store price.

3. Online - Yes, I do buy from Amazon. Having Student Prime means I can get books next day. I do occasionally buy second-hand from Amazon. I know this doesn't support the author but sometimes books for my MA course were simply too expensive new. However, if I love something I often then get a new copy later.

My workshop mates recommended Hive. You can buy books (and other goods) online to have home delivered (free for next 5 days) or collect from a local indie bookshop. With each sale they give a percentage to the local bookshop that you nominate. When I went to check them out for this blog post I ended up buying Mary Berry's Christmas Collection as it was £4.25 cheaper than anywhere else. I rather like this idea of buying online and some of the revenue still goes to an indie bookshop.

4. Library - OK, this is not buying books but it still supports the author via the PLR system. Again I'm very lucky to live close to 4 excellent libraries: Steyning, Horsham, Storrington and Worthing. To date these seem to be surviving but you never know ... I try to regularly borrow books from all of them as my thinking is use 'em or lose 'em.

5. Charity shops - Again, I know this doesn't directly support the author, but I like to feel I'm supporting a charity instead. Also it can get you into a new author you've not read before. I recently bought this stack of books all in excellent condition from local Lions bookshop.

6. Author events - if you can get the chance to hear a favourite author read or meet them at a signing then go for it. If I go to any event then I usually buy a book and get it signed. I've met some of my all-time heroes this way, such as Rose Tremain, Matt Haig and Edna O'Brien. My recent hot flush moment was chatting to David Mitchell when getting my copy of Slade House signed.

I'm sure there are plenty more ways to spread the book love and support an author. What other ways do you have?