Anthology Update

2017Anthology Cover1.1Just to update everyone. We have ordered a proof copy of the anthology for the 2017 Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition. We are waiting to receive and check over the proof copies. As soon as they have been checked, provided there are no issues, we will publish them ASAP.

The Olga Sinclair Anthology will be available in paperback for £6 and e-book for £3.



Manuscript Evening

On Tuesday 6th March we ran another manuscript evening.

Man Evening

We had a wide variety of prose genres. We had poems, speculative fiction, satirical comedy, adventure, crime drama, and thriller.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended. We hope you got some useful feedback.


Cover reveal for the 2017 Anthology

The NWC would first like to apologise for the delay of the anthology.

Last year we used a print on demand service but it wasn’t working as well as we’d like, so we’ve switched. This change means having to learn how to do it to the standards of our new service.

It’s also worth noting that we put the anthology together ourselves, we don’t hire professionals to do it, and we’re all balancing work, family, and other responsibilities which can cause delays as well.

The Anthology will be out very soon. In fact, we are pleased to reveal the cover.

2017Anthology Cover1.1

The cover artwork was created by our very own Maureen Nisbet.

We hope to update you all very soon with the release date.

Once again we apologise for the delay, and thank you for your patience.


Results of the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour:

Hayley Long returned to give her adjudication for the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.


The results are:

  • 1st The Reluctant Bridesmaid by Phyllida Scrivens
  • 2nd A Week in December by Paul Taylor
  • 3rd Puppy Love by Maureen Nesbitt
  • Highly Commended No. 43 The Last Dragon by Iain Andrews

Congratulations to all the winners!






Another manuscript evening is around the corner.

manuscript evening1

We will be holding a manuscript evening on Tuesday 6th March at 19:30 at Anteros Arts Foundation, 11-15 Fye Bridge St, Norwich NR3 1LJ.


This will be a good place to put those critique skills from the previous workshop to good use!

Please bring in a maximum of 1000 words to be critiqued in the group. Work will be looked at it small groups, so please ensure that you bring 6 copies, double spaced, with the font at least 12pt and preferably Times New Roman, or Ariel.

If you do not have access to a printer, please email the piece you wish to work on to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk. Please be sure to use the subject ‘Manuscript evening’ and please include your name and the story title somewhere in email.


Hayley Long is returning!

Just a reminder that Hayley Long, award winning teen fiction writer, is returning next week to announce the winner of the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour, and to share her feedback on the entries.


It’s also another opportunity to chat with the Hayley, ask her some questions, and perhaps get a signed copy of her books.

As always, there is an on the door fee of £3 for members and £5 for non-members. Light refreshments will be served.

The meeting is Tuesday 20th February at 19:30 at Anteros Arts Foundation on Fye Bridge Street, opposite The Mischief Pub.


We hope to see you there!


Keeping it constructive


“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”

― Frank A. Clark


On Tuesday 6th February we ran a workshop on how to give a critique. Kathy Joy, who runs her own critique business called Fine Tune Your Fiction, walked us through the process.

critique 1

First, we discussed constructive criticism.

Kathy defined constructive criticism as having 5 main characteristics:

  • It is specific – it clearly states what the problem is, and why it is a problem.
  • It presents solutions instead of problems. 
  • It focuses on the work not the author.
  • It is never personal.
  • It makes no assumptions.

In addition, Kathy explained that these rules applied to both positive and negative criticism. Positive praise that is not specific and does not explain exactly what was so good and why is empty praise, which is a form of destructive criticism.

Next, the group was walked through how to assess a manuscript and give a critique in four simple stages:

  • First, the group was asked to read through the work. No markings or notes were allowed – the task was simply to take in the story and become familiar with what was happening, who the characters were, where it was set, and so on.
  • The second stage was using a red pen to highlight any weaker areas, but also be able to explain specifically what wasn’t working, and why.
  • The third stage was using a blue pen to highlight stronger areas. Once again attendees had to zero in on the specifics – what was good and why.
  • The final stage was to pick a single weak area and suggest a way to resolve it. This was the first and crucial stage to giving a critique.

critique-4.jpg“The most important part of any critique is to ensure your suggestions are not how you would do it if you were writing it, because it’s not your work. An editor’s job is not to impose their style on other authors but instead to cultivate an author’s voice, to refine it. To do this, you must look at the work and try to understand what the author was trying to do and think of a more effective way to achieve it that fits the existing content.”

-Kathy Joy

Everyone managed to highlight a specific weak area and most could come up with a possible solution to it.

critique 3

Overall the workshop went exceptionally well, with everyone learning something new, which can be applied going forward.

“Much like how reading more helps you become a better writer, so does learning to critique. Seeking out strengths and weaknesses in the work of others makes you more sensitive to it in your own work.”

-Kathy Joy

The NWC would like to thank everyone who attended.We would also like to thank Kathy for walking us through the process of analysing work and offering effective, constructive criticism.


Next week’s critique workshop

critique reminder

Critiquing other’s work can be a great way to identify problems in your own work, and become a better writer, so we are running a constructive criticism and critique workshop on Tuesday 6th February. The workshop will be led by Kathy Joy, who runs her own critique business at www.finetuneyourfiction.com.

The workshop will include:

  • What makes a good critique?
  • What is constructive criticism?
  • How to give constructive criticism.
  • How critiquing others work can help you become a better writer.
  • How to fix issues found.

To participate, simply bring a 500 minimum – 1000 maximum word extract of a piece of work you wish to be critiqued. This can be from a short story or part of a novel/novella. Participants will swap work with each other and critique it in the workshop.


Manuscript guidelines:

To help with the critique process, please ensure your manuscript sample is:

  • Printed.
  • Double spaced.
  • 12pt.
  • Times New Roman font.
  • From the beginning or near the beginning of your work, rather than in the middle or at the end. This is to help make it easier to work with.

If you do not have access to a printer, please email your work to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk before 3pm on Tuesday 6th February. Be sure to include your name and the story title in the email.


Other things to bring:

A red pen, a blue pen, and a black pen.

Entry is £3 for member, £5 for non-members. Event is at 7:30pm on Tuesday 6th February at Anteros Arts Foundation in Norwich, near Fye Bridge and The Ribs of Beef pub.


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

Norwich Writers' Circle, Uncategorized

An Evening with Heidi Williamson

Members of Norwich Writers’ Circle were delighted to welcome award-winning poet and mentor Heidi Williamson to our meeting on Tuesday 16th January.  Heidi led an instructive and entertaining workshop on how the use of poetic techniques can improve both our prose and poetry.


The group was challenged to join a number of free-writing exercises, demonstrating the use of sound, patterning, editing and silence.  Heidi encouraged us to experiment with the length of sentences, to read our work out loud when editing (where we get bored, the reader will get bored!), to seek stronger words to replace overused verbs.  We should look to improve both the rhythm and vocabulary in our sentences.


Heidi recommended us to become absorbed in a different world, seeking out occupations or places that are out of our life experience, in order to expand our range.  Why not to go the dictionary, find ten random words and try incorporating them into a paragraph of free writing? Do not be afraid to repeat words for emphasis – poets often use patterning repetition to great effect.

Finally the group discussed the use of silence, pauses and tension in our writing, techniques more often found in poetry than in prose.

The workshop was inspiring and enlightening and Robin Parkinson thanks Heidi on behalf of the group.  During our refreshment break Heidi signed copies of her two anthologies, Electric Shadow and The Print Museum.


The Results – 2017


The results of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition are as follows:

Shortlisted winners (in no particular order):

  • Jan Harvey with Perfect Strangers (Oxfordshire)
  • Donna Tracy with @Crowstarver (Norwich)
  • Thomas Woodland with Strangers On A Train (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
  • Glenda Young with The Caller (Seaburn in Sunderland)
  • Clare Walsh with Breaking the Ice (Lancashire)
  • Iain Andrews with Babylon’s Falling (Norwich)
  • Alison C Wassell with The Comfort of Strangers (Merseyside)

The finalists were:

3rd Prize – Willian Brakes with I Never Go To The Seaside (Norfolk)
2nd Prize – Phillip Vine with The Thirteenth Station (Norfolk)
1st Prize – Bella D’arcy with A Shift in the Gallery (Essex)

Congratulations to all our winners!