To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Friday, April 12, 2013

ABC Open 500 Words

On February 21st, Sean O’Brian held a seminar at SCWC. The seminar focused on ABC Open – a website that seeks to publish the photos, videos and stories created by regional Australians. Sean spoke about 500 Words ABC Open’s latest theme, ‘A Scary Moment’, and gave tips on how writers can make the most of their stories published through the website.
  • It’s all about the title – Short, catchy titles are what gain attention. If you name your story after the theme or use something generic-sounding, you may not get as many readers as you would with something original. For example, a title such as “The Journey” may not get as many readers as a story entitled “Never Listen to Your Mother”.
  • Images catch eyes and readers – Finding an appropriate and interesting image for your story can help draw people to your story. A great website for finding original images is Flickr. However, be aware of copyright; only use images if they are in Creative Commons or if you get permission from the photographer to use their work. Focus on picking a strong image that conveys one element of your story simply. If you cannot find an image, Sean can choose one for you.
  • Keep summaries simple – Grab a reader’s attention by using a good summary. Questions can be provoking and stimulating.
  • Take care when submitting – If you submit to ABC Open by pasting your story from Word, be sure to click the Word button on the submition page in order to retain your formatting. To make your story easier to read on the internet, make sure you have short paragraphs and sentences. A single sentence can be its own paragraph. Using brief grammar and language can help make your story more reader-friendly.
Sean provided much insight into the broader ABC activities and his encouraging attitude inspired many. He says that if anyone has issues with using the site or uploading their stories, they can contact him at for help.

ABC Open’s ‘A Scary Moment’ category already has 500 published submissions. As all submissions are published (unless there are legal issues) and all writers retain their copyright, anyone is welcome to send in their work. You may also respond to previous themes, but keep in mind you will get less readers.

As the current theme comes to a close on February 28th, writers are encouraged to come up with their next story, centered on the theme ‘I Was There’. You can browse other stories and guidelines at the ABC Open website

By Rhiannon Hall and Ashleigh Kelman 

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