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Interview with Frances Ridley - A Short Story Competition Prize Winner 2021

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Hi Frances, you won third prize in our competition this year with your story The Weird Event . What were you doing when you found out? How did you feel? I was walking home from town and I checked my phone. I didn’t believe it, and had to stop under an awning to read it properly. (It was raining. I live near Manchester.) I felt very happy, but also worried that someone would email later to say that it was all a mistake.   It’s very unusual for us to receive sci-fi stories, so it was refreshing to read not just a different genre, but a story with a strong female lead. Tell us about your story. Where did you get the idea to write it? I like reading sci-fi. I loved John Wyndham when I was younger, and I also enjoy Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson and Iain M. Banks. The idea came from a picture of a probe landing on the far side of the Moon. I liked the idea of the probe up there and ‘seeing’ things that we could never see for ourselves. Lynn is based on friends of mine who hav

Second Prize Winner Richard Hooton Talks to Exeter Writers

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Hello Richard Hooton and welcome to Exeter Writers Short Story Competition Winners Hall of Fame. Congratulations on winning second place with your story The Homecoming . Tell us a little about yourself and where in the world you hail from. Why did you enter the Exeter Short Story Competition? Hi Jessica and thank you. I’m a former journalist now working as a senior communications officer and I live in Mossley in Greater Manchester.  I’ve been writing in my spare time for several years. Around five years ago I began writing short stories and entering them into competitions as way of getting published and developing my work. I’d read about a few writers who recommended it as a good way of improving your writing by testing what works and that by following feedback you would start to see publishing success.  I first entered the Exeter Writers Short Story Competition in 2017. In the first two years I tried, I didn’t manage to have success. However, I was longlisted two years ago, shortliste

The Lowdown on LM Rees - Short Story Competition Winner 2021

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The winner of the first prize for Exeter Writers' Short Story Competition 2021 was LM Rees with her thought-provoking Stand Up, which you can find in the Winning Stories section of the blog. If you haven't read it yet, we highly recommend you do.  Exeter Writers member and blog manager, Jessica Triana, speaks to LM Rees to get the author lowdown: Hello LM Rees… Should I call you LM or do you have a first name I can call you by? Hi Jessica. You can call me Lucy. Well done on winning our first prize with Stand Up this year. How does it feel to be an Exeter Writers Competition Winner? Thank you very much. It feels wonderful being an Exeter Writers competition winner. I am absolutely delighted. Racism and bullying are very sensitive topics. Where did you get your inspiration to write this story? I’d have to go way back to when I was in school, learning about the Holocaust for A level history. I remember being absolutely baffled as to how this was ever allowed to happen, not just t

How To Write Historical Thrillers - Some Tips On Getting Started

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Let’s face it. We all love a great thriller!  Some of us are drawn in by the mind-bending complexity of the plot, while others live and breathe for the high-octane action that keeps you turning the pages. But how do you get started on writing your own historical thriller? Well, the basic rules of premise, plot and characters apply, as they would in any novel — see my post:  Writing Historical Fiction Based on True Stories . But there are particular challenges for writers of historical thrillers and I will take you through some of those issues now. Decide on a premise for your historical thriller Think big to create apprehension and suspense for the reader. Here are five examples: The doomsday premise:   What could be more devastating than the end of the world? Nuclear apocalypse features in Stallion Gate by Martin Cruz Smith, and is a theme lurking in John le CarrĂ©’s thrillers. Or try natural disasters, like Pompeii . The science and technology premise (aka, new secret weapon). Keep i