Ray Stone's blog

Why enter writing competitions? by Ray Stone

The first thing we should ask ourselves is – Why competitions, what is their point, and why are they so important? It was not until serious writing competitions came about at the turn of the nineteenth century in 1901 when the first Nobel Literary prize was awarded. The age of modern fiction was born, and so were writing competitions. Since the 1901 Nobel prize for literature, other important writing competitions have been created. 1954 in Australia – The Miles Franklin award, 1969 The Booker award, the richest of them all, and 1993 The David Cohen Award in the UK. There are many more.



Professionalism before Pride


ORDER,ORDER, exclaimed the Leader of The House

ORDER, ORDER, exclaimed the Leader of The House

Originating in the 15th century, the exclamation point meant ‘Mark of Admiration.’ This has to be one of the most confusing and overused tools of grammar and for me, a ‘Mark of Frustration.’

Less Words more Feeling

Have you ever thought how writing serial chapters is preparing you for that step toward the moment you decide you are going to write a novel? There are several Story Mint writers who have and are going through that experience now. Roseyn is the latest author to do so. Her book has just been launched, following on the heels of Suraya’s novel and mine. Past and present members Enos Russel, Mat Clarke, and Annette Connor are also published. There are two more members in the process of writing novels or non-fiction books. So how does writing serial chapters prepare us for the big step?

Agents Crying – They can’t (cannot) find a word wrong.

©The publishing world is so full of grumpy literary agents it is hard to find one that will stop drinking coffee because they get involved in the plot you have created – that’s if they get past the first page. Writing is such a complex art because we are creating our story and characters in the first instance to please ourselves. However, when the story is finished it has to appeal to other readers as well. And while we are dealing with that we are also remembering all the rules of writing – and bending a few of them as we develop our personal skills. So how do we catch the agent’s eye?

Suspend agents’ disbelief and hook them in

During the first year of serials we had our first serious debate between writers about the phrase ‘suspended disbelief.’ I also answered a critic who slammed one of my books regarding the same subject a few months later.

From ‘Love the Critic’ – an article I posted in the Edit Lounge at www.raystoneauthor.co.uk

Fiction contains a certain amount of SD. I wonder how this reviewer would get on with all the totally unbelievable plots in James Bond.


Dialogue is the glue that holds a book together. When I sit and write, I become each of my characters in turn. I’m an actor in my head and my tone of voice and feelings change as each character takes the stage to perform. How do we make the dialogue come alive? It isn’t hard but it takes practice and patience and, before you know it, you are riding a bike and changing dialogue gears without giving your mind and itching fingers a second thought. So how do we write unforgettable dialogue that holds the reader’s attention?


Does your pen write with a boring black ink or have you got an ink mixture of many different colours that bring your story alive? That’s what agents will be asking themselves as they open your manuscript.

Quiet please - don't say a word

I just finished a re-edit of one of my books and was given some sound advice on a whole list of things that agents are looking for in order to reject your work. Don’t get me wrong. They are still looking for that book that will be a gem. It is much easier, though, to look for pet hates. If they’re there, it normally means a one liner rejection note.

So what is it they are looking for on the hate list? I’ll pick a few.

Ever heard of a writer’s crutch?


Subscribe to RSS - Ray Stone's blog