30 July, 2013

Calling Writers, Poets and Bloggers

You know what this blog needs more of? Creative writing. Not posts about creative writing - the actual writing. It needs flash fiction and mini-essays and poems. And you know who's good at writing those things? You. I'm asking you, dear sweet readers, to join the party.

Get inspired by the stars...
What are you talking about?
I was thinking the other day how I would like to do a series of flash fiction on this blog - 10 or 12 mini-stories tenuously linked together. Then, I thought it would be much better if I didn't write them all. How much more interesting would the collection be if each one was written by somebody different? This is where you come in.

So, what's the big idea?
My idea is to do a series of short writing - a piece of flash fiction, a poem or a non-fiction piece - linked by the signs of the zodiac and written by different people. The zodiac is fairly arbitrary here, I just picked something which came in a neat group and had about the right number of items in it! The writing wouldn't be about the zodiac or starsigns or fate/superstition/horology etc. Each piece would just use one of the signs as a starting point. For example, if you're into crime writing, Sagittarius (the archer) might inspire you to set a murder mystery at an archery club, or maybe Cancer (the crab) will inspire you to write-up those hilarious anecdotes from your seaside holidays as a child (or parent).

What's in it for me?
One of the other things I like to do on this blog is to promote other writers and their work. Along with your piece of writing, I'd post a little biography and photo of you (although you can be anonymous if you'd rather) and links to your own blog, twitter or website, books you might have on sale, or other pieces of work published on the internet. You might be an experienced writer with an anthology or competition to promote, or a complete newbie who wants a few more visitors to your blog. You might just want to see a poem or story of yours on the web. If fiction isn't your thing, use your post to tell us about something that IS your thing - music, morris dancing, mud-wrestling...

Who can take part?
Anybody! You don't have to be a fiction writer, you can be a poet or blogger of any age or experience. First-time fiction writers are welcome - why not make this your first piece of flash fiction? It'd be great to have a mix of experiences as well as genres.


This all sounds very anything-goes, are there no guidelines?
Let's keep things shortish, say 100-500 words for prose (though if it's 50 or 600 or 700 I'm probably not going to throw my toys out of the pram - soft word count limit!). Poems can be any reasonable length. You can tell me when you think it'll be ready - I won't chase you for your work for a good few months, though the sooner you can get it to me, the better. I won't start posting until I've got a few ready to go. It's meant to be fun and not take up hours of your writing time - think of it as an experiment and/or promotional tool. Copyright obviously remains with you and you can do what you want with what you produce afterwards.

OK, if it'll shut you up, I'll give it a go.
Brilliant! Below is a list of the signs of the zodiac and their symbols. Feel free to look up any other information about that sign for your writing. Don't spend ages thinking of an idea, scan the list and see what pops out (or choose your own starsign) and lay claim to it in the comments below. Brainstorm later! You can tell me what type of writing you're going to do and when you're going to do it at a later date. I'll claim whichever one is left until last!


  • Aries (the ram) [Taken; Iain]
  • Taurus (the bull) [Taken; Alicia M]
  • Gemini (the twins) [Taken; Dan]
  • Cancer (the crab) [Taken; Simon]
  • Leo (the lion) [Taken; Martyn]
  • Virgo (the virgin) [Taken; Alicia R]
  • Libra (the scales) [Taken; Anna]
  • Scorpio (the scorpion) [Taken; Derek]
  • Sagittarius (the archer) [Taken; Helen]
  • Capricorn (the goat) [Taken; Jenny]
  • Aquarius (the water carrier) [Taken; Kirsten]
  • Pisces (the fish) [Taken; Joe]

The more I think about this, the more cheeky it seem to ask people to give this a go, but I'd be really grateful to anyone who helps me out by taking part, or who tells their friends about the project and encourages them to take part. You don't have to be a regular reader of this blog already!

I appreciate a lot of you are busy, busy people, but I hope some of you might find time over the next few weeks to give this a shot. As I say, it doesn't have to be a brilliant piece of literature (brilliant pieces of literature welcome), just a calling card to bring people to your blog, or a fun way to exercise those creative muscles. If it works, maybe I'll do another series in a few months. There could be anthologies, Hollywood deals, foreign translation rights, modelling contracts... Who knows?!


42 comments:

  1. I could be up for the challenge. I'll have a think about which theme to take :)

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    1. Right, enough dilly-dallying. Best lay claim to something before the good ones are all gone. Capricorn I think.

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    2. Extra points if you include 'dilly-dallying' in your post. Thanks!

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  2. I may also toy with the idea... I shall let you know how this progresses!

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  3. Thanks everyone! Quick, pick a sign - my fear is to have a lot of interest and no definites and then for everyone to picke the same one at the last moment!

    Libra has now been taken!

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  4. This sounds great! And I need a bit of a challenge. I'll take Aquarius.

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  5. Hello - I'm a bit of a lurker... can I have a go? I'd like Saggitarius, please, if it's going.

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  6. Oh rats. That'll be Sagittarius with one G and two Ts. Ahem.

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    1. You can do Sagittarius however you spell it! Thanks!

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    1. YES DAN! (I was not so very secretly hoping you'd volunteer!)

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    2. Ha! Now I'm worrying what I've let myself in for...

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    1. There's a sentence you can't have written often? I would be honoured if the person who literally wrote the text book on short fiction would grab the ram for me!

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  9. Hi, I came across this post via Twitter, so I'm a newbie to your blog. Can I take virgo? That one should be easy.

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    1. Thanks for volunteering! Virgo is yours!

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    2. Oh and welcome to the blog!

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    3. How can I contact you and send you the piece plus a bio?

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    4. I'll be posting something next week explaining what I need from each person and when to send it etc. But until then, if you want to get in touch, there's a e-mail address towards the bottom of the 'About Me' page :)

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  10. Awww, I wanted Virgo because it's my sign. Can I have Taurus, then pretty please?

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    1. Billy, I didn't see your comment and gave away Taurus! Sorry, dear! You can now either a)sulk, b) pick Leo or Scorpio c)both of the above.

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  11. I'd LoveLoveLoveLove to do this, preference would be Taurus as it's my sign and I have a great character in mind for the 'bull associations but maybe not the typical character you'd associate with this!

    If not I'd love Scorpio :)

    Ths idea is amazing btw.

    Alicia

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    1. Thank-you Alicia, I will assign you to Taurus.

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    2. Thanks Chloe, looks like Taurus is a popular one! I'm on holiday atm but will get this to you on my return :)

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    3. Great :) You deserve Taurus for your enthusiasm - I didn't think anybody would want to play with me when I wrote this post!

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  12. Hey, I'm game for this, absolutely - Taurus if it's free, but I am not fussy. Great idea

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    1. Just realised the above poster (Alicia) mentioned Taurus - I should really read the comments better! Forgive me, Alicia. Forgive me.

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  13. WOW! Was not expecting this to be so popular. Two zodiac signs to go - of which billyblogger gets first dibs! Anybody else out there who would be happy to take the one he doesn't choose, speak now! Otherwise I guess I'll do it (yesterday I was wondering whether I was going to have do half of them).

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  14. Of course, there is also a Chinese zodiac...

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    1. Now you're being difficult! Just because you're not allowed to be the virgin, there's no excuse. Are you being a lion or a scorpion or...?

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    2. I was merely trying to solve your problem of over-subscription with a flash of genius. And anyway I still can't believe I'm discussing such devilish things as astrology with a good Christian woman!

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    3. I know, shocking isn't it? Don't tell God.

      (Oh, and as you are clearly now just trying to wind me up by not picking Scorpio or Leo, I have assigned Scorpio elsewhere.)

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    4. But I thought I was Taurus?? I'm going to refer this matter to the astrological-related flash fiction ombudsman. Can I be the Rooster, then? That's my Chinese sign, apparently... ("The rooster is wise and winsome. Those who cross him should expect a plague of locusts and to be trampled under a herd of angry swine."

      (I made that up.)

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    5. You lost Taurus in the Taurus blood bath that occurred while I was away from my computer.

      If we're going to resort to warfare using our Chinese signs, then I'm a Tiger.

      Tell you what, if you can't face being a Lion, you can write me a Rooster story and have your own little mini-series of one on my blog :)

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    6. Sigh...I'll be a lion, then if I must.

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    7. You'll make a very pretty lion I'm sure. Thank-you! :)

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  15. I'll happy embrace Scorpio, albeit with gloves on.

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    1. Sure, as billyblogger is being willfully destructive to the process, you can be Scorpio!

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  16. That looks like fun! Can't wait to see what people contribute. I have a great admiration for people who can write flash fiction. Actual short stories are still too short for me. They're fun to read, though!

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    1. I only occasionally write flash fiction, but I do love to read it. Good flash fiction is some of the cleverest writing in literarture, I think.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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