From June 30th to September 30th 2018, applications will be accepted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. The scholarship will endow fiction recipients with £18,000 (over twelve months) and non-fiction with up to £27, 000 (over eighteen months).
Applicants must be born in Africa or have both parents born in Africa.
Entry excerpt must be a published work (literary fiction) of up to 2000-2500 words that has been offered for sale, with proof of publication.
A 400-1000 word proposal for the work they intend to write. This work must be up to 80,000 words for a full-length book (collection of short stories or collaborative work not allowed).
Official documents showing that the applicant or parents were born in Africa.
A brief bio of 200-300 words.
This scholarship is non-residential and scholars will be responsible for their accommodation during the scholarship. Please the FAQs and Entry Requirements for more details.
You’ve just finished writing the first draft of a story and you’re excited about it. You have set your characters free, so you feel relieved. Now you can’t wait for the world to read it, you hope they can understand the world you’ve created and that they care about your characters.
Before you send that work out however, read this!
1. Go over the story.
A first draft is what it is, the first. As you revise your work, you might discover that you have not considered an angle, explored the theme to the best of your ability or underdeveloped a minor but significant character. You want to be sure that your work is saying exactly what you want it to say, so it is important that you go over it several times before you share it with the world. I have sent out work that I hadn’t thoroughly revised and I was sorry for it, so read that story one more time.
2. Share it with a beta reader.
A beta reader is basically someone who reads your work objectively to point out its strengths and weaknesses. Such a person should understand what to look out for. So I’m saying, don’t share it with someone who will only flatter you. He/She should understand characterisation, theme development, setting, language and plot. You might not find all these qualities in one person, so it’s alright to have more than one beta reader. A good beta reader will look out for the little details that your story lacks. I have a beta reader who points out my weak sentences and another one who points out my long ones! If you’re reading this and you don’t have a beta reader, you should get one!
3. Have it edited.
This is super important! You need an editor to correct grammatical errors, proofread and ensure the coherence of your work. I have seen too many people whose works have little to no consistency or order rushing to get published. In the first draft you’ve dumped so much information, some of which is unnecessary and needs to be taken out. A good editor identifies these and helps to polish your work. No matter how many times you read the work, you cannot see all your errors because you wrote it. Don’t be afraid of editing, in fact, embrace it as a necessary tool for the refinement of your work.
I know the thrill of wanting to share your work quickly, and I have published work I am not very proud of, because I didn’t take note of these three tips. Don’t be like me, do better!
Got any questions or comments about anything you’ve read here? Feel free to leave a comment and share your own experiences!
Hunger Mountain, journal of the Vermont College of Fine Arts is now accepting entries for its 23rd issue. Simultaneous entries are allowed. Themes are yet to be announced, but feel free to submit your best work in the meantime. A $3 fee applies in each category.
Submit stories no more than 8000 words “with characters who are alive and kicking, storylines that stay with us long after we’ve finished reading, and sentences that slay us with their precision.”
Submit “truly original poems that run the aesthetic gamut” between one to five poems within a file.
Young Adult and Children’s Literature
Picture books, young adult and Young Adult crossover work acceptable (in text form).
Got a poem ready for submission? Entries for the Loraine Williams Poetry Prize close on May 15. Simultaneous entries not allowed. Submissions may include “no more than a total of ten standard pages in 12-point or larger type”. The winning poem will be announced by August 15 and will appear in the Spring Issue of the following year. “All submitted poems will be considered for publication in The Georgia Review; any selected will be paid our regular poetry honorarium of $4 per line.”
This is a guest post from a StoryCrafting Alumni, Rachael Onuigbo.
I run through the hospital. Everything is moving too slow and too fast at once. I run, the room numbers blurring. 201…202…203…204 and then finally, 205. Doctors are outside the room. A doctor moves out of the group when he sees me running towards them. He is saying something but I can’t hear him. I shrug out of his grip and push through to get in but I don’t have to.
Nurses roll out a stretcher. A body lies unmoving on it, completely covered. I refuse to believe till I see it. I struggle against the hands that hold me and pull the covering back then I see the evidence I need. The world becomes a roar. My husband is dead. The face that had smiled at me, the mouth that had kissed me goodbye this morning. Gone.
I start screaming and crying, begging the doctors to do something. To save the man that meant everything to me. My pleas and screams fall on deaf ears as someone pulls me away so the nurses can roll out the stretcher.
I feel like I’m in a haze, going through the motions but not really going through them. The accident is on the news and the phone rings non-stop but I don’t pick it. Pictures of both of us together are everywhere. Our wedding, our honeymoon in Paris, the impulsive vacation to Hawaii. Memories move as if in a slideshow and I know that I can’t survive without him. I can’t find the will to. Visitors come pouring in, offering their condolences and asking me if I’m okay. What can I tell them? I will never be okay. I am told that I have to eat. My husband will never eat again so why should I? Nobody understands how I feel and I doubt anyone ever will.
I stand in front of the mirror and cannot recognise the woman staring back. I have lost weight and my clothes hang off me in unflattering angles. My face is pale, my hair a messy bun. Before, I wouldn’t be caught dead with messy hair. Everything is now categorized as ‘before’ and ‘after’. Before my husband died. After my husband died. I can’t do this, I whisper to my reflection. I can’t do this. I give in and cry.
Today is the burial. I tune out what the priest is saying and look at the closed coffin at the altar. Everybody tells me that God knows best and He has a reason. To me, that means that God likes to see people suffer because why would he take away what was most important to me? The burial ends and we drive to the cemetery. I am quiet throughout. After the priest blesses the coffin, the pallbearers lower it to the ground. I feel like someone is cutting off my oxygen supply as I watch. Tears fill my eyes as I realise, yet again, how much I’ve lost. People come over and in a robotic voice, I thank them for coming. They offer words of encouragement that do nothing to help me and tell me I’ll be okay but I don’t believe them.
By now, I’m numb. I have locked my grief deep inside me because I’ve realised that sometimes, it is easier to bear your pain alone. People ask me if I’m okay. I nod and give a fake smile, knowing that they wouldn’t want to hear how I reach out on the bed for someone that isn’t there. Or how I wake up every morning thinking it is all a bad dream and break apart again when I realize that it isn’t. I cry myself to sleep every night, holding on to his things and inhaling his scent. I rage at God and ask questions that are never answered. My life is a big question mark and I wonder if the hole in my heart will ever fill.
I haven’t dreamt of him since he died and I am yet to decide if that is a good or bad thing. I push myself out of the bed and in front of the mirror and cringe at what I see. There are shadows in my eyes and hollows under them. I look like I have aged thirty years and I feel that way too. I put my hand on my chest. I can feel my heart’s steady beat. Even though my world has been torn apart and has lost its axis, I’m still alive. I decide to stay that way for him. I have to put all his things in a box and take them out. Oh God, I can’t do this. I want to crawl back into bed again but something in me refuses to keep drowning in the pain. I’ve been drowning for so long, maybe it’s time I learnt how to swim and for the first time in a long while, I have hope.
I’m at the cemetery, in front of my husband’s grave with a bouquet of white roses in my hand. I can’t believe a year has passed. I’m not the woman I was before or the woman I have become. I am something else entirely and I am trying to make that something good. My heart hurts in a million places as I drop the bouquet and kiss the headstone. I wonder if he is watching me, if he knows how much I miss him, if he knows that I will love him forever and will keep him safe in my heart so that death does not become what defines our time together. As I leave, I accept that maybe God had his reasons. It is time for me to live again. I cry a little in my car as I feel my heart go lighter and maybe I’m being paranoid but I feel someone-maybe God or my husband-smile at me from above.
Onuigbo Rachael is a writer, natural skin-care enthusiast and fitness coach. She won the 2015/2016 My Rainbow Books writing competition and is currently writing a book based on her life experiences. She is an ardent reader and loves romance, young adult fiction and thrillers and is usually found with her head in a book- or her phone- depending on where she’s reading from. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found at the gym, sweating it out and coaching other people wanting to loose weight too or making tutorial videos to show how you can use natural products to treat a lot of skin issues
She uses social media to share her works and you can connect with her on Instagram or on Twitter @_lilaurora or Facebook.