7 ways to engage with your readers : Writing Challenges


Whether you want to get more followers on Twitter, encourage people to buy your books or just get your name out there, you need to engage with them. Tweeting (or blogging) lots of buy links will get you noticed but in the wrong way.

A better way to do this is to get involved in the writing events and challenges being run by other helpful Tweeps.

In the past, I have taken part in several writing challenges. In this post, I will share some of the ones I know about.

Do you know of any others?

paragraph planetAccepts stories which are exactly 75 words long. A different one is published each day. This is fine but yours may not be published. However, you can tweet it first.

81 wordsWrite a story in exactly 81 words. Other people rate them. Has a link to your website and includes your Twitter name.

100 Word Challenge for grown upsA weekly prompt is offered and people respond in 100 words or fewer.

finishEvery Tuesday, a prompt is given. Finish the story in up to 500 words. A winner is chosen each week.


Every Thursday a photo-promt is offered and two words given. The story must incorporate the photo in some way then begin with the first word and end with the second. The story should be between 90 and 110 words long.

2015TTBadgeEvery Thursday, a prompt is given based on a line from the previous week’s winning entry. You have until 7:00am the following morning to submit a piece of flash fiction (in the comments on the post). Winners are announced and your Twitter link given.

Flash Friday

Every Friday (the clue is in the title) A picture prompt is offered. You have to write a 200 word story and post the result into the comments of the blog. A winner is chosen and your Twitter link given as well as a 60 second interview published on Wednesday.


To be or not to be


There are many different views about grammar, ranging from ‘it doesn’t matter’ to Grammar Nazi.

Its easy to cheque you’re reaction too bad grammar.

Whilst I get annoyed by those people who trawl the internet searching for missed apostrophes or checking for rules-they-care-about being broken, grammar does matter.

If readers are distracted or confused by incorrect spellings or your use of the wrong word, they will soon abandon you and your writing. After all, there are plenty of authors who can either write grammatically or use a good editor.

One of the things that cause a great deal of difficulty is the conjugation of the verb, “to be” and its contraction.

Conjugation Contraction Confused with
I am I’m
He is He’s  His
She is She’s
We are We’re Were
They are They’re There or Their
You are You’re Your
 It is  It’s  Its

It is difficult to understand why these cause so much confusion but the most reasonable explanation is that they sound the same. The easiest way to see which version to use is to try to fit the un-contracted version into the sentence and listen whether it works.

For example, in the sentence, “It’s a good thing” you can replace “It’s” with “it is” and the sentence still makes sense. However, “He threw it’s stick” can clearly be seen to be incorrect as, “He threw it is stick” does not make sense.

This works with all these contractions and if there is an apostrophe (in this case) there has been a contraction. After a while, you get used to checking all versions of ‘Its’ and ‘It’s’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘were’ and ‘we’re’. Just don’t turn into a Grammar Nazi, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.