- Always edit on paper, not on screen. I don't know why it is but you do miss typos and other errors if you rely on screen editing alone. Why such errors should hit you in the eye the moment you put the story on paper is, to me, an oddball but it does pay to edit on paper to be sure of getting your work as near perfection as possible.
- When entering competitions, take a week off the official deadline. I do this so that if things go wrong, life gets in the way and so on, I still have time in hand and a chance to enter that competition. It also means I've allowed enough time to edit and check the story before sending it in.
- If in doubt about things such as dialogue presentation, take a contemporary novel or say a writing magazine that publishes short stories and see how they do it. This is a great way of making sure you've got things like this right.
- Be open to possibilities. Yes, your first ambition might be to be a novelist but be open to trying short stories, blogging etc. This widens your writing experience and gives you more material to put on your writing CV.
- Always check your work at least twice before sending it out. Check spellings, grammar, structure and so on as separate edits. I find looking for spelling errors easier to do as one job, then look at the story's structure as another.
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.