Posted by on Dec 4, 2007 in free critique, free edit, pay it forward | No Comments

Paying It Forward

I’m indebted to the excellent Fiona Nevile-Bowles whose great blog is The Cottage Smallholder, for reminding me about Pay It Forward – which describes itself in a rather tatty-looking website here: Pay It Forward UK

Regardless of the quality of the website, the idea is pure diamond. I’ve often owed my happiness to the acts of actual or almost strangers and I’m about to name names:

1 – The staff of Epsom Cottage Hospital, who kept me and baby Kai in the maternity ward for six days after we were unexpectedly made homeless
2 – Malcolm Rutter, who heard about our predicament and offered us a home where we lived very happily for a year
3 – Susan Hoivik who heard about our problem too, and got me a job with one of the UK’s finest charities, just on the strength of her good name and her friendship with the charity’s CEO.

One can never repay such generosity. But one can try.

So this December I’m offering a literary Pay It Forward to my lovely readers, even the lurkers! As you know, I edit fiction as part of my living and teach a course called Writing Fiction to get Published, so I know a little about what makes a short story publishable and one of the services I offer my students is a full edit/critique/submission suggestion package.

This month, I’m giving free edits, critiques and market suggestions to the first three writers to contact me at (sorry, sold out!) if the email address isn’t there when you read this, then three writers have already contacted me and arranged to send me their stories.

Caveats: the stories must be under 3,500 words (not because I’m lazy but because longer than that is really hard to get published in most places); I write and publish literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, a bit of crime and a bit of historical fiction and lots of erotica under a variety of names – I’m willing to edit anything, but the market suggestions won’t be as good if your work falls outside those genres because I won’t have personal knowledge of the editors’ preferences etc; the more you can tell me about your work, where you’d like to be published, what reaction the story has had from other etc, the more I can help you; don’t worry if you’ve never been published, or if you think your story is a bit rough (or a lot rough), you’re exactly the person I’d like to work with!

And finally, I’m going to ask the writers who contact me to think about what three acts of random kindness they could perform, so that they Pay It Forward too.

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