Help for anxious and challenged teenagers and their parents in new Nicola Morgan book

This blog is mindful of the challenges that writing parents face in their ‘normal’ lives outside of their creative pursuits and one of the fantastic resources I have come across in recent times is acclaimed YA author’s Nicola Morgan’s latest publication The Teenage Guide to Stress. This is a book written for the teenager but with parents in mind and is a companion volume to the critically acclaimed Blame my Brain. Nicola Morgan is not a psychologist but is an author with an affinity for the mindset of the teenager/young adult who has done research on the psychological and brain physiology of this age group whose brains are altering at a faster rate than any time since they were toddlers. You can read my article for all about The Teenage Guide to Stress here. Nicola has written various other no-nonsense guides for writers such as Write A Great Synopsis, Dear Agent and Tweet Write and I highly recommend her sincere and pragmatic approach.

Write a Great Synopsis: Nicola Morgan knows how!

Nicola and her dog Amber

The Background

When I got the chance to review Nicola Morgan’s Write a Great Synopsis I was delighted. Nicola is the author of more than 90 books – covering both fiction and non-fiction. Her novel Wasted (which I absolutely loved) was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and her guide for writers Write to be Published has been much acclaimed. Like many writers, I’ve been daunted by having to write a synopsis. Having read Write a Great Synopsis I’m so sorry I didn’t have it the last time I wrote one and delighted that this time round I’ll be able to put the advice into practice.


The Book

What grabbed me straight away was Nicola’s no-nonsense but wry approach that’s familiar to me from her terrific blog on publishing. You know from the off that Nicola is going to tell it like it is, she’s not going to pretty it up or soft soap you but what she tells you is going to get you where you want to go. Her advice is direct and realistic, it is also very straightforward. Reading her step by step methods (she gives two alternatives) for writing the synopsis I could feel myself already becoming more relaxed about the process. She tells us the specific things we need to do, what is required within the synopsis and what isn’t and alleviates all the other worries about synopses that circulate the writer’s brain. She answers commonly asked queries about how to deal with complicated plots, several points of view or many themes. Nicola even suggests ways you might phrase elements of the synopsis to sidestep convoluted explanations. The book also includes “Synopsis Spotlights” – a synopsis clinic if you will on some real examples of synopses. If you are engaged in a novel or have reached the stage – like I have – where you will soon be writing a synopsis, Write a Great Synopsis is everything you need to know, put simply. It’s certainly made me feel more confident about the steps I need to take to write a synopsis that says just the right amount about the story in a way that will interest the agent or publisher. I highly recommend this book for any novel writer.

For more, check out the video trailer!

The Barking Mad Special Offer

Nicola Says: I have a crazy price promotion until the end of January: Write a GREAT Synopsis and Tweet RightThe Sensible Person’s Guide to Twitter will each be stupid cheap on Amazon. I’m aiming for 99p, but VAT and currency fluctuations, along with Amazon’s naughtiness, are making that hard to acheive. So, forgive me if it’s £1 or even – gasps – £1.02.

But only till the end of January. So hurry!
Write a Great Synopsis on Amazon UK – for Kindle AND laptops/ipads/etc if you download the FREE Kindle app

Tweet Right on Amazon UK – as above.

For non-UK purchases, please see the site and do a search for the titles.

The Brilliant Comp

If you’d like the chance of winning help with your synopsis, simply leave a relevant comment below or on any or each of the guest posts. (This could be a deep and meaningful comment or a plea to the gods of fortune to pick you!) For details of all the posts you can comment on (for your best chance) see Nicola’s blog (panel to right).

Prizes: 1st prize – a critique of your synopsis, at a mutually convenient time; plus a signed book of your choice, if available. 2nd prize – a critique of your synopsis. 3rd prize – a signed book of your choice, if available.

Short Story Delights – Bridport Prize and more

A quick post to say that the results of the Bridport Prize are now official and I’m absolutely delighted to say that one of my stories has been shortlisted in this popular and very well known competition. Being on the shortlist means that the story reached the last 100 out of 6000 entries. On hearing the news I must say I shed a little tear of happiness. In the last couple of years I have really had a love affair with the short story and hope to continue to develop my stories.

Big congratulations to the finalists who will be published and the top winners including Kirsty Logan, who I’ve met online, her story sounds sensational.

All the details including judge Zoe Heller’s fascinating report are here Scroll down to see my name!

At the moment I’m working on a novel but thinking about my short stories always thrills me. I have to admit I’m a bit of a short story evangelist. If you are too and are on twitter, check out the #shortstories hashtag and follow @taniahershman, @nikperring and @BristolPrize among others for great short story tweets and links.

In the spirit of this short story love affair I was tremendously taken with this post on Nicola Morgan’s fabulous writing blog. It’s a wonderful interview with short story writer Tom Vowler and it really echoed many of my  short story writing experiences. This post is great but also sign up to Nicola’s blog. It is the most comprehensively helpful blog for writers. Nicola was recently nominated for the Carnegie Award for her latest book ‘Wasted’.

I’ve just discovered this link via the BristolPrize and had to add it as it seems (hopefully) very apt. It’s about why the Irish are good at short stories! Anne Enright in the Guardian.

If you have been scribbling away and have well rouned stories ready for the off, here are some Submission Opportunities for Short Stories.

Fish Prize

BBC Radio 4

RTE Frances McManus Prize

Bristol Prize