#WriteTips: The 2015 Short Story Day Africa Prize Winners.


Cat Hellisen 

- Don't be afraid to push yourself beyond your comfort zone when it comes to writing.

- Write for yourself; edit for your readers.

- Work the way that works for you, not the way Random Experts tell you is the One True Way.

- It's okay to not be a writer and have a real life.




Alex Latimer

- Take a writing course or find someone to mentor you. It’ll save you a lot of time.






Mark Winkler

-  Plan. You’d be crazy to set out on a marathon without knowledge of the route, or how long it’s going to be. You simply can’t sit down and try to channel your inner Hemingway without the vaguest notion of where you’re heading.

- Then, write with your writing glasses on (these could glitter-rimmed, or a pilot’s goggles, a spy’s Ray-Bans, or a psychopath’s binoculars). Write from beginning to end without concern for typos, loose ends, ugly sentences, laughable dialogue, or word count. If you get stuck, it’s only because you took a wrong decision somewhere. Backtrack until you find it, refer to your plan, fix it, and then fix your writing.

- When you think you’re done, rewrite the whole thing – three, five, a dozen times.

- Once you feel you have a reasonably coherent manuscript in your hands, walk away from it. The longer the piece, the longer you should let it rest – it’s the only way to develop any semblance of objectivity.

- When you return to it, put on your editing glasses (sensible, horn-rimmed, thick-lensed). Tighten screws, polish surfaces, iron out lumps, and bin anything that doesn’t build on what you’re trying to achieve.

- Once you get to work with an editor, remember that they’re only trying to make your work better. Listen, debate, discuss – and learn to roll over when necessary.