30 November 2018

#WriteCBC – The Big Winter Story

Marian Keyes, Author© Dean Chalkley
by Anna Davis Events, Writing Tips

Curtis Brown Creative runs a monthly writing competition on Twitter – you can join in to potentially win a free place on one of our six-week online writing courses – and also just for fun! For THIS month – December – we’re running a VERY SPECIAL #WriteCBC, with a writing task set by the fabulous MARIAN KEYES!! Here’s how to play … 

Our one-off festive #WriteCBC is going to run from 6th December to 17th December – with final results on 18th December.

This month we’ll be writing a Big Winter Story on Twitter (@cbcreative), with new episodes to be written each weekday (not weekends). We know lots of you have actually got lovely warm weather (or even uncomfortably hot weather!) at the moment – but writing fiction is all about using your imagination, after all … This story is a Winter one.

We are so THRILLED to tell you that the wonderful Marian Keyes will be setting a festive prompt to act as a jumping off point for our story. Marian has given amazing support to CBC this year, by sponsoring a scholarship place on our 6-month online novel-writing course (taught by Lisa O’Connell) for a writer with financial hardship. The scholarship was won by Liz Xifaras, whose course is still in progress. It’s utterly brilliant to now have Marian setting our festive writing competition!

We will be tweeting the writing prompt at 11am on 6th December – and we’d love it if you’d respond to the prompt by writing the opening of a story in the form of a tweet by 10am on 7th December. It’s up to you what the story is about, but we’ll also give you further guidelines and suggestions in a special Big Winter Story advice blog.

We’d like you to tweet your story-beginning by ‘replying’ to our tweet with the writing prompt – and do use the hashtag #WriteCBC to be sure that we’ll see it.

At 11am on Tuesday 7th December, we’ll choose one person’s story opening and announce the result on Twitter – at which point we’ll ask you to write the SECOND episode of the story, as a reply to our selected first episode and including #WriteCBC – we’ll then pick a winning second episode, and so on …

We’d also like to invite Illustrators to create some art for our story. You can join in with this from 11am on 7th when we tweet the opening: we’d love it if you’d create an illustration for the opening, photograph it and tweet the photograph as a reply to our first episode. You can illustrate any of the episodes that inspire you – and join in as many times as you’d like to – whether that’s every day of the challenge or perhaps just once.

Together – across the eight days of the challenge, we’ll write our Big Winter Story. Each day’s writing winner will get a £50 discount off the cost of our six-week online courses – and illustrators who take part can also win a £50 discount each day. Finally, on 18th December at 11am we’ll announce an overall writing winner (drawn from among our daily winners), plus an illustrator winner – both will get free places on our six-week online courses, worth £200. And who knows, there may be further surprises – and prizes – along the way – we’re coming up to Christmas, after all …

Easy? Well, let’s just see …

A few rules …

  • Only one entry per person per day of the challenge, please.
  • Over-18s only.
  • This one’s just on Twitter – there isn’t another way of taking part. Sorry to anyone who doesn’t use it and doesn’t want to – we’ll do something else that’s non-Twitter soon.
  • Winner and discount winners and the overall winner get to choose from our online novel-writing courses: Starting to Write Your NovelWrite to the End of Your NovelEdit & Pitch Your Novel – or our online picture book courses: Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book or Writing a Children’s Picture Book.
  • If you’re in receipt of more than one discount offer, you can only trade in one per course enrolment. 
  • If you’re the overall winner, your free course place replaces your episode-winning discount
  • Discounts and free place valid only on courses running in 2019. 
  • If a winner has already paid and enrolled on one of the applicable courses (yet to run), we will refund the £200 fee/discount (as relevant).
  • If a winner or runner-up has already taken all relevant courses, they may gift their discount or full fee (as relevant) to another writer. Or you can wait to find out about a new course launching Autumn 2019 (details not yet revealed …)


Here are the dates and times to look out for … 

Thursday 6th December – 11am (UK time) – Marian Keyes’ writing prompt will be posted up and the competition opens … Tweet your response up until 10am (UK time) on Friday 7th December.

Friday 7th December – 11am (UK time) – we’ll post the first winning entry, and will ask you to respond with episode 2 … Tweet your response by 10am (UK time) on Monday 10th December. And illustrators – we’d really love to see your art for episode 1 by Monday 10th December at 10am (UK time)

Monday 10th December – 11am – we’ll post the winning episode 2 and the winning illustration for episode 1. Tweet your episode 3 and/or your illustration for episode 2 by Tuesday 11th December at 10am (UK time). 

And it continues in the same way … New instalments to come:

Tuesday 11th December – 11am – closes Wednesday 12th December – 10am

Wednesday 12th December – 11am – closes Thursday 13th December – 10am

Thursday 13th December – 11am – closes Friday 14th December – 10am

Friday 14th December – 11am – closes Monday 17th December – 10am

Monday 17th December – 11am – closes Tuesday 18th December – 10am

Tuesday 18th December – 11am – final results!


Are you looking for the perfect Christmas present? Our new gift vouchers cover the full £200 fee for a place on any of our 6-week online courses for novel-writing or creating children’s picture books.

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