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Julie Noble: Writer-Momma Julie has five children and several award-winning pieces of writing. A graduate of Lancaster University in 1990, in 2004 she self-published ‘Talli’s Secret’, a children’s novel about dyspraxia, the Brontës and bereavement, which was Whitbread long-listed and finalist in other awards including Brit Writers 2010. In 2010 she won the She Magazine Short Story Competition with the story, ‘Sands In Time’. Recently another short story was selected for the International Collection published by Fluster Magazine, ‘Tell Me A Tale’; in conjunction with Armida publications.

Story: Taking Leave


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Keep going, keep trying, keep reading, keep improving!
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
Jump in! My characters are usually quite able to take over from there!
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I always read it carefully, trying to extract all the useful parts. Often it has proved helpful, occasionally it has deflated me, but I always aim to improve, and good readers are great assets!



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I like this story, and it was very well written. However, there were a lot of words that I did not know . . . that isn't your fault, I just happen to have a horrible vocabulary and I am not going to dock you points for that. I also found this story hard to get into. I think that it might have been from having too much description. I love to have description, but sometimes, I feel that an author will use too much in the beginning of their stories and for someone like me, I need something that immediately pulls me into the story. I feel that in a short story, you need to reach out and grab the audience within the first few paragraphs or your reader will lose interest. I could see your passion though. I could tell by reading this that you are a mother . . . and I think that your daughter, I assume, in your profile picture is really adorable. Your story was very good, and I feel that it could appeal to many different people.

Ann Mason

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Lovely prose and finely drawn characters make this short story a standout. Reading about the MC's despairing struggle with an uncaring (or simply overburdened) social worker struck many true-life notes, as did reading about the difficulties of dealing with a child who is no longer a child, but growing more unmanageable day by day as he heads into adolescence and adulthood. We feel for the mother and the desperation that leads her to her final, haunting choice. A wonderful, highly evocative story!


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This is really severe realism and I couldn't comment on it the first time I read it because it was so disturbing. Unfortunately, the evil social worker is a true portrait and symbolic of just how little compassion there is left in the world.


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Julie, you are an inspiration. Unlike you, I am just starting out, but I am also writing for the purpose of educating the public through children's stories. You give me hope that I am on the right path. I look forward to reading your other stories! Thank you for your story, and keep writing. Would you mind taking a look at my story? "Missy's New Home"


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How truly moving from someone not familiar with tears


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Great writing. Love the portrait you paint with words. This isn't a story I'd normally read, but I enjoyed it!


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Hi there, thanks for the reviews you have posted already, several people have told me that they are not able to vote or post a review, this is really disappointing as I loved reading them, and it is such a confidence boost as I was unsure how this story would be received. There are notes on the Facebook page about it, or if you have problems please would you kindly email Tyler at the organising team giving details of your browser, i.e Firefox, system, ie windows 7 etc. Thanks SO much!!!

Bears Fan

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I thought this story started out a bit the writer was trying to demonstrate her expansive vocabulary...then it toned down a bit. I liked the way she mixed the thoughts in with the dialog. Having a special needs child, although not as special as Warren...I had to go back and look at his name, I understand the frustration a parent...especially a solo facing. I think Christine's character is developed more than Warren's....which I don't agree with. It was a surprise ending. Unexpected and just okay.

Susan Gale Wickes

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This story really speaks to the emotions. I could easily sense the struggles and the feeling of hopelessness. You created a very memorable tale and the ending, although sad and not quite what I was expecting, was beautifully written.


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This story was a gorgeous read, the emotions were clear, and I felt the struggle of this mother, her desperation and eventual resolve. You went straight to the heart of the issue, and it worked so well. Sad but well-written. Some spelling errors which didn't detract from the story. Well done.

Margaret Alice

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Very touching. I really liked your writing style and the imagery you created. Great job! Thanks for reviewing my story and good luck!

Summer Beth

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I really enjoyed this story, it was very well-written and thoughtful. Having worked with many kids with autism and other special needs I could relate well with the main character as well as with Warren. I liked ending of the bridge where the two could just forget things for a while. There were a few parts with the dialogue where I was confused with who was speaking but other than that, nice story!

Lisa Rose

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Welcome to the contest. I want to say I enjoyed your story, but somehow that seems wrong. I experienced the story as it unfolded. It is well written with very few punctuation mistakes. In my heart I knew what was going to happen when she asked Warren if he wanted to go see the bridge. Sometimes it seems there is no place to go and at least they went together. People often judge others by what they think they would do in their place, but there is no way to actually give it a go themselves. It would have been most satisfactory to have Christine switch places for a week. If you have the time please read my story 'Drift Away' and leave a review to let me know if you liked it.

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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