Mslexia short story writing workshops

Mslexia has a series of excellent writing exercises on its website, devised by Sarah Salway (pictured) in support of the magazine’s women’s short story competition, which closes on 19 March.

The first two of a series of three ‘Stealing Stories’ workshops are available for free and should help writers find and generate stories for the competition, which has a first prize of £2,000, plus a week’s writing retreat at Chawton House Library and a day with a Virago editor.

Five other winners receive a share of an additional £1,050 prize pot. The judge this year is Tessa Hadley.

“Where do we get our ideas from?” asks Sarah Salway in the introduction the the first workshop. “One myth is that ideas come to artists magically, floating in from our unconscious, our dreams; or that we are somehow born with a treasure chest of ideas to sift through.

“Maybe a more honest answer is that we gather many of our story ideas from other people: friends, family, people we work with, newspapers, snatches of conversation we overhear, myths, textbooks … However it still takes a brave writer to admit this in public and to declare, like TS Eliot, that ‘Mediocre writers borrow; great writers steal’.”

Find the first of the workshops, ‘Stories about Strangers’, here.

For more information on the competition, click here.