Fabulous First Lines; to get you going

Shocked expressionI must confess, I am very fond of fabulous first lines.

If they grab you by the ears and make your jaw drop with excitement and anticipation, it’s often a good sign that the subsequent belles-lettres are going to entertain with fervour.

When I receive a new manuscript to evaluate, one of my favourite rituals is to arm myself with a large cup of tea, then dive into the text like I’m sliding down into fresh bed sheets; the question is will there be a literary embrace awaiting me, or am I destined for a drop-fonted, cold shoulder and an early night, for all the wrong reasons.

I thought I’d share a few wordy whoppers from some of the greatest writers of our time and I hope, as you wade your way through them, that you are inspired to (a) find a copy and go read whatever has grabbed you, or (b) find a pen and go write something better to enter into the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize for short stories and poetry – click here for details.

See if you can work out which great books these opening paragraphs come from, the authors and titles are listed below; please note, there are indeed three good Williams. Continue reading

Explore the Dark and Find the Light

Statue with head in handsNB: Depression is a clinical condition and can be treated in many ways. If you think this might be affecting you, make an appointment with your doctor as a matter of urgency, then put the kettle on and find a pen.


We have been very lucky to work with authors who have had their fair share of difficult times…they shall remain nameless, except for Tracey West.

I say lucky, not in response to them having had a slice of darkness, but in respect of working with people who have come to realise that being depressed or deeply sad can evoke some incredibly powerful pieces of writing.

 


Poetry of Divorce and Diary of Divorce are two cases in point, both penned by Tracey West during and after her tumultuous divorce. Tracey hoped it would lift the spirits of readers who were struggling with their own divorce and also encourage them to tap into their darkness and write from the heart when they felt the clouds were closing in.

There are no prescriptive methods to exploring this line of advice. You don’t need to be a writer, a poet or a crafter of jaw-dropping prose, you just need to know how to hold a pen or find a keyboard.

Tracey advises you to get a cup of your favourite brew, find a reliable source of tissues and something nice to nibble if the need arises, then sit quietly (or immerse yourself in loud rock music if you prefer) then pour your heart out through your fingers.

When a spot of hindsight kicks in at some point in the future, you might look back on your piece of writing and be entirely shocked and surprised by what you produced. If your mental health and well being are back on an even keel, you might not even recognise the author!

Think of the piece as a snapshot of your life at that time, a readable photograph with a splash of creativity that you never thought you had in you.

The strange thing is it might sit in a dusty drawer for years, then it’ll suddenly surface and if you choose to share it, the words might be able to help a friend who is blighted by the same clouds that you were.

Sending love and light to all.

The Team

News of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Spreading

The Magic Oxygen Literary PrizeNews of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is slowly spreading, like warm honey spilled over a bowl of cornflakes and we’re enormously thankful for the coverage!

It’s getting into the nooks and crannies of many wonderful competition listing sites and I thought this might be a perfect juncture to send them an appropriately linked thank you.

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Why Are We Planting Our Word Forest in Kenya?

That’s a very good question and if you are about to enter our Literary Competition, it might be one you’re keen to find out the answer to.

Ru Hartwell is the Magic Oxygen Word Forest Coordinator and he is responsible for overseeing (and getting his hands very dirty) on many global tree planting projects.

One of his biggest and most recent projects was with Size of Wales, which aimed to bring everyone in Wales together to help sustain an area of tropical forest the same size as Wales, as part of a national response to climate change. Continue reading

Literary Prize Press Release

Magic Oxygen Literary Competition to Create a Tropical Word Forest

Writing competition closing dates punctuate the diary of many a creative writer and there’s little more tempting than a four figure 1st prize and the promise of going into print, to get the ideas flowing.

front_loresMagic Oxygen Publishing in Dorset, run by Tracey and Simon West, has just launched a new annual prize for literary excellence in short stories and poetry.

It has an impressive prize fund of £1,000 1st, £300 2nd, £100 3rd and two Highly Commended prizes of £50 in both categories, kindly sponsored by Coolio. The winners and shortlisted entries will also be taken into print.

As well as nurturing fresh literary talent, they also want the contest to help reduce the world’s carbon footprint with a four-pronged approach and one absolutely unique *eco-element:- Continue reading

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Now Open for Entries

Literary Competition Prize CoverWe are absolutely delighted to announce the inaugural Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is now open and quite beside itself about receiving your entries!

The #MOLP rules in short are:-

  • Short Stories, up to 4,000 words (not including the title)
  • Poetry up to 50 lines (not including title or lines between stanzas)
  • The theme is open
  • Electronic uploads are preferred but written entries are also accepted
  • The competition is open to writers all over the world
  • Entrants must be 16 or over at the time of submission
  • Entries must be written in English and must be your own previously unpublished work
  • You can enter as many pieces of writing as you wish
  • £5 per entry
  • Closing date midnight 30th November 2014

Continue reading

Non-UK Entries: problem solved

A bugI am delighted to confirm that the Magic Oxygen Literary Competition is indeed open to writers across the globe.

Unfortunately, it seems we had a bug in the works that was causing a problem for non-UK entries.

This has been kicked into touch by our resident super-geek and you can now let those international entries flow with the ease they should have had at midnight last night.

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The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Rules…in short…

The Team are getting quiverishly excited about the fact that the Magic Oxygen Literary Competition is open from MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

If you are itching to start writing this afternoon, here are the rules in short:-

  • Short Stories, up to 4,000 words (not including the title)
  • Poetry up to 50 lines (not including the title or lines between stanzas)
  • The theme is open
  • Electronic uploads are preferred but written entries will also accepted
  • The competition is open to writers all over the world
  • Entrants must be 16 or over at the time of submission
  • Entries must be written in English and must be your own previously unpublished work
  • You can enter as many pieces of writing as you wish
  • £5 per entry

The full rules, terms and conditions will be on the website from midnight tonight. Be sure to read them fully before you submit your work. Your submission will also act as your full acceptance of said rules.

This is the only literary competition in the world to plant a tree for every single entry. We’ll even send you the GPS coordinates of it! Be part of the Magic Oxygen Word Forest and get an entry in soon.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please click here to get in touch.

Good luck, have fun!

The Team

#MOLP is trending…

Magic Oxygen Literary Prize: animated trailer

The Team have worked solidly this week – actually, they do that every week – and are now delighted to bring you the teaser trailer for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

Aside from the whopping great prize fund and the fact that we’ll be planting a tree for every entry, the shortlist and winners will also go into print too!

Continue reading

Magic Oxygen Publishing: Powered by Creativity and Sunshine

The Nissan LeafMy lovely eco-husband Simon West and I are very proud of our eco-principles in both our business and personal life and most excited to share a bit of big green news with you.

Yesterday, we took delivery of a Nissan Leaf, a zero-emission electric vehicle that will help us reduce our driving costs to around 2p per mile.

It’s a sexy black kitten of a car (not the one pictured above of course) and makes even less noise than a real furry one. I kid you not, there’s not even a purr, it’s silent!

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