Freelance Round Up - This Month in Writing

Gerbil sentence scoops bad writing prize

An American author has gained the dubious honour of winning the latest Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, “where www. means ‘wretched writers welcome’”

Molly Ringle scooped the prize for bad writing this year with her line: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss – a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."

One judge commented on the “wonderfully poor choice of metaphor”, while another called it an “outlandishly inappropriate comparison”.

The annual prize is inspired by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s infamous opening sentence to novel Paul Clifford, which reads: "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents – except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

Molly Ringle took her ‘victory’ on the chin, quipping: “You kind of have to have a certain amount of skill to write a sentence so bad it would win. You have to work at it."

Freelance writer tweets his way around the world

A UK freelance writer has travelled around the world almost for free, thanks to the kindness of Twitter followers. Following his honeymoon in New York, Paul Smith decided he would like to cure the post-holiday blues by trying to get to Campbell Island, 200 miles off New Zealand's coast, within 30 days.

Whilst his initial Twitter pleas for help didn’t yield much, when Stephen Fry retweeted him, things literally took off. Thanks to the help of ‘tweeps’ around the world, he managed to get as far as Stewart Island in New Zealand, not far from Campbell Island, before he flew home (free, courtesy of Air New Zealand).

He told the Telegraph: "I was almost there, but not quite.

“But my main aim was to get as far around the world as I could in 30 days. When I gazed across the sea towards Campbell Island I didn’t feel like a beaten man.

"People were bending over backwards to help me and the trip proved to me there is a lot of good in the world."

His book, Twitchhiker, which documents his experience, is out now.

Journalism students urged to contribute to student media

A journalism student has urged more budding hacks to understand what they can gain from student media and what it can do for their career.

Writing on the blog, Joseph Stashko, student and co-editor of hyperlocal news site Blog Preston, asks: “Considering the uptake in journalism courses, student media offices should be bursting at the seams. So why are so many journalism students unwilling to contribute to student media outlets?”

Whilst he acknowledges that part of the problem may lie with the publications and editors themselves, he advises journalism students: “In this uncertain time, journalism students can hold the key to unlocking a lot of different possibilities for the future of the profession. So lose your inhibitions, put down your pints, and get involved in your student media.”


4th August 2010

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