September 28th, 2016
First, thanks to Jacqueline for her blog earlier this month. I must apologise for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been away on holiday. I love the Italian lakes and having already visited the three most well-known ones – Garda, Maggiore and Como – we decided to try Iseo. It’s quieter and less geared up to English tourists but the scenery is fantastic, the walking/cycling is great and there’s so much to see and do using the local trains.
But I had to smile when we arrived at a little station, in the middle of nowhere, after a long walk. The train was delayed, the man in the ticket office had gone off to lunch (obligatory in Italy) and the ticket machine was broken. But there, in pride of place, was a stand containing lots of books with a notice asking readers to leave the books they’d read and feel free to take a replacement. The UK’s obviously not the only country pushing this scheme! Read the rest of this entry »
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September 9th, 2016
Still got that secret novel you’ve always wanted to write stuffed away in a notebook? Then consider being inspired to actually get it started (if not completed) at a week- long Writer’s Summer School in Swanwick, Derbyshire. This has been going for over 60 years now so clearly provides the right environment for everyone who has the urge to write, whatever genre that might be. The week is made up of workshops, presentations, talks by well-known authors plus one-to-one sessions with a tutor if you prefer.
Interested in crime writing? You can meet published and aspiring authors, chat about fascinating ways to dispose of a corpse during breakfast, and hear about real detective work from police officers themselves. Love poetry? Join the sessions with other poets, working on new themes in a supportive group setting. If you yearn to write books for children, experts are here to help you identify the best way to structure and illustrate a book that children, and a publisher of course, will love. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 1st, 2016
First, thanks to Mike for last week’s lesson on writing the perfect limerick and I hope he’ll accept my apologies for having him down as ‘Steve’ for the first few days of the blog’s life. I’ve no excuse – just absent mindedness.
In a number of our courses we stress how important it now is for writers to make their presence felt online. If you don’t promote yourself, no one is going to do it for you – and one of the best ways of doing it is to write a blog. But it’s not just writers that can benefit from a blog. Lots of businesses, large and small, are using blogs as part of their social media mix to make the public feel that they are more ‘human and approachable’. How well this part of the exercise works, is another matter – one that I’m not going to go into today. Read the rest of this entry »
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August 25th, 2016
The limerick can be a nifty vehicle for delivering a single, amusing idea (pun, quirky or satirical observation, etc.). Writing one is at least a good poetic exercise. Though much disparaged, in many specific cases rightly so, it is a poem in microcosm, and needs many of the standard features of a more ‘serious’ piece.
Economy, vital in both poetry and humour, is doubly important here. If you start with ‘there was a young lady from . . .’, that’s nearly 20% of your word count squandered already, with nothing original said. Such open-ended openings often fizzle out in a bland or contrived finish. Edward Lear’s pioneering pieces seem to suffer this fate, although some are redeemed by those lovely illustrations. Read the rest of this entry »
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August 19th, 2016
Last week I promised to let you know the winners of our Limerick Competition that closed at the end of July. So, ta-dah! Here they are.
First place was taken by Anthony Watts (pictured) from Somerset.
A scone is a scone is a scon,
Depending on whose side you’re on.
When writing in verse
This can prove a real curse
(Should you rhyme it with Joan or with John?) Read the rest of this entry »
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