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What are your intentions? by Sophie Duffy

Whatever you are writing for this competition, make sure your piece has honourable intentions. By this I mean, make sure your entry has a point, a story, something to say. A competent use of grammar, a way with words, a quirky style is a good start, but it isn’t enough. You need to leave the judges with an impression that is hard to shake. You need to give your piece of writing a life that will go on after they have finished reading.

Here’s a few things to think about when starting out or redrafting.

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Meet Pat Good, short story judge Hysteria 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

I have fond memories of reading Dickens through my school years until present day. He is a master storyteller and hones in on the minutiae of life and character so exactly that I feel compelled to keep reading just one more paragraph, one more page then one more chapter.

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Meet Hannah Onoguwe, short story judge hysteria 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

There are so many, more than I can likely remember off the top of my head. More recently Taiye Selasi, for her lyricism, the way she plumbs the depths of a character’s emotions, feelings, until you must agree that there’s nothing more that could have been said about them. Paulo Coelho, for making fantastic stories in simplicity. Maya Angelou for her graciousness, her honesty, her weaving of sentences.

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Meet Veronica Bright, Flash Fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

Where do I start? I’m inspired by people who write compassionately about the characters in their books. Rachel Joyce does this particularly well in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennesey, and Anne Tyler has a gift for taking very ordinary people, and making the reader understand what makes them tick. Emma Healey inspired me with her book Elizabeth is Missing. Maud, her long-suffering daughter Helen, and her lively grand-daughter Katy were real and the writer made it so easy for me to empathise with them.

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Meet Ingrid Jendrzejewski – flash fiction judge 2016

Which writers or poets inspire you and why?

So many writers and poets have inspired me, it hardly seems fair to select out a few, but I’ll try!

Jorge Luis Borges was an important early influence – when I came across Labyrinths on my parents’ bookshelf, I felt like I’d been socked in the face with its originality. Those stories made me aware that so much more could be done with fiction than I had ever considered.

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