Writing prizes, prompts and promos at…

Image by Masha Raymers

Thank Freak It’s (almost) Friday!

Well my writerly friends, it’s the 1st day of October and the second month of spring. Now, these things might not mean much to some of you but, if like me, you’ve been stuck in stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne for… I can’t even remember how long, every little milestone’s a win!

This includes writing goals reached, big OR small. Maybe you wrapped-up a manuscript this week or settled on an idea. Maybe you forced yourself, bum on seat, to reach a word count goal. Whatever you achieved, making the time and space to practice your craft is a definite step in the right direction. So, keep going!

To celebrate these milestones and to keep you on your toes, check out the literary goodies below.

Allen & Unwin Crime Fiction Prize – a publishing contract plus $25,000.

Ever fancied yourself as a published crime writer. Well, now’s your chance to live the dream!

The inaugural annual Allen & Unwin Crime Fiction Prize is open now to debut and published writers for submissions. The winner will be awarded a publishing contract with an advance against royalties of $AUD 25,000.

The prize is open to all unpublished full-length manuscripts in crime and thriller genres by Australian and New Zealand residents, for works between 70,000 and 100,000 words.

Entries close on Friday, February 26, 2021.

For more information, go to Allen & Unwin

The Big Issue – call out for words

The Big Issue magazine is currently calling for personal essays and memoir pieces with themes including, but not limited to, road trips and ways to travel in a COVID world, local neighbourhoods and communities, new ways of living and sharing spaces.  

The mag is also after feature articles about housing, social justice and arts spaces. ‘Stories that inspire a better world. Stories of human connection and compassion.’

Submitted works must be unpublished. The Big Issue pays $200 for 700-900 words, and more for longer stories

For more information or to pitch your idea, go to The Big Issue

Thank Freak It’s Spring Promo!

In light of the fact we now have regular blue-sky days in Melbourne, which makes staying within a five-kilometer radius of home just that little bit more bearable, I’m offering a 20% discount on Writing Sparks novel courses until the end of October.

To get your fancy spring writing pants on at a great price, go to WRITING SPARKS and enter the promo code: OCT20PC

We’d love to have you on board!

Writing Prompt

While some of us might be smashing our writing goals, there are others of us who are struggling… This prompt goes out to you, and is designed to get your ideas flowing using music.

I’ve suggested a song, but you might want to choose your own. Try a tune from the time or place you are writing about. My novel, Hello, Goodbye, was set in the 1960s, which meant I listened to plenty of Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix (bliss!). Music is a great way to get you in the mood and to help you immerse yourself in a specific era.

Give this prompt a go and let me know what icy gems you come up with at Contact Emily.


Close your eyes and play Debussy’s The Snow Is Dancing. Listen to the story created by the music. What images do you see in your head? Let your imagination wander.

Now, listen to the song a second time with a pen or keypad at hand. Write in first person. What do you see and how do you feel. Are you alone or is someone with you? Maybe a stranger emerges from the snow… What does the landscape look, sound, feel and taste like?

Let the music guide you and write without stopping for 15 minutes. You may want to play the song again once it’s finished, or you may want to write in silence. It’s up to you, just keep those fingers moving.

Good luck and enjoy!

For information about Writing Sparks courses, mentorships or manuscript assessments, go to WRITING SPARKS.

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