Why does it hurt more, the closer you get?
Jerusha Cowless, agony aunt: "if I find out I don't have what it takes, it might take my enjoyment out of my writing"

In other news: courses, competitions and fireside chats

I've been busy in various places lately, so just in case anyone's interested, here's some of it:

On 25th February Debi Alper and I are running another six week online course in Self-Editing Your Novel. Debi and I have taught together for years, and it works brilliantly. Feedback from these courses has been terrific, so if you're at that stage, do drop by and see if you think it's what you need. For a taster, I did a "Prose Microscope" dissection on the Word Cloud, where the course is hosted, which will give you an idea of how it works, and thanks to Steve, the brave Word Clouder who allowed Debi and me to wield the scalpel.

I'm one of several judges including Kate Mosse, of a new competition for historical short fiction, the Jerwood Prize, run by the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex. Deadline 22nd June 2012. There aren't enough competitions specifically for historical fiction, so I think this is a great opportunity and I'm delighted to be involved with it.

The prizes will be presented at an Historical Fiction Day at the Museum on 5th August 2012, where among lots of other things I'll be running a workshop. More details when I have them.

Over at multi-story.co.uk I've been talking about writing short fiction and what I think makes a good short story. You might make the connection between the Jerwood Prize and this, but I couldn't possibly comment.

On Morgen Bailey's blog we were talking about writing in one of her well-known "fireside chats".

You may not have spotted, tucked away in the side-bar, that I also run a one-to-one course in writing historical fiction. This is very flexible, as we can adjust it to what we jointly feel would be most helpful to you, although that also means I can't take on all that many students at once. But it is great fun.

The York Festival of Writing will be on 7-9th September this year - note that it's moved from its traditional place of just before Easter. Details will be announced in the middle of March, but I know a few - the Debi 'n Emma Show will be in town, and it's all looking good.