September 28th, 2015
Once a month I write a piece for this blog about ‘useful websites,’ and over the past year I’ve covered a lot of stuff: online dictionaries; international associations; writing competitions; self-publishing; website building … it’s become quite a list. But one thing I’ve never mentioned is the blog itself.
The Writers Bureau blog has been running for six years now, and though I’ve already put up seventy posts since starting in August 2014, I’m still just the new kid in town. Diana Nadin (our Director of Studies) has been posting since day one, and many of our tutors and successful students have posts going right back to the early days. Generally these pieces are short, anecdotal essays, but they’re also a good source of practical advice and information, with links to numerous articles and external sites providing all sorts of resources for writers. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 25th, 2015
Lawrence Pagett begins the story:
I had writer stamped all over my hands (and face) from age eight.
My silver-haired grandfather revealed his old mechanical typewriter and set me down to learn the art of touch typing. My first short story suitably followed telling the tale of the Swiss skiing boy, Jan.
“Clack, clack, clack. Ding!”
At the end of each line a silver bell would chime as you pushed the lever to descend the page.
The heavy slate metal contraption’s smudgy ink-soaked ribbon printed in a slightly irregular fashion. Black smudgy hands and face were common place.
If you tapped the keyboard inaccurately your finger would get stuck between the keys and on occasion you would accidentally hit two keys at once causing the thin metal strips, each containing a letter, to vie for position on the page and even get tangled together. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 21st, 2015
Looking back through some old copies of E-Zee Writer, I spotted an article about editing by Janie Slater – The Gentle Art Of Surgery. Now, I know editing isn’t everyone’s favourite subject, but don’t go falling asleep just yet because … I love it. It’s like out in the garden, taking on a raggedy border full of weeds and dead stalks then, after a couple of hours graft, standing back, completely satisfied. It really makes a difference, and it’s never wasted time.
Course, I understand, most people don’t ‘get’ the editing thing. I’ve been having a running argument about it with one old friend for over a decade. She keeps a note book by the bed so that, if an idea pops into her mind at two in the morning, she can write it down (it drives her husband nuts.) But as far as she’s concerned, that’s it – job done. She never re-writes because: “What comes out at two in the morning is the truth.” To which I say: “That doesn’t mean it’s any good.” Read the rest of this entry »
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September 18th, 2015
Thanks to Simon for last Friday’s blog. That’s one of the great things about writing – you never know where it will take you and what doors it will open for you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s crafting an article for your favourite magazine, plucking up the courage to self-publish your book or trying your hand with a competition entry – there could be a pleasant surprise waiting for you. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 14th, 2015
Summer’s nearly done here in northern England. The kids are back at school, days are getting shorter, the first yellow leaves of autumn are just starting to show. All of which makes our family holiday (fifteen days in a caravan in Brittany) seem like a lifetime away.
I got loads of reading done in that caravan, and one of the books I devoured was a sci-fi novel by English writer Jacey Bedford called Empire of Dust. It’s a romping space-opera, like something by Isaac Asimov, but mixed in with all the interplanetary politics and wham-bam action is a boy-girl romance straight out of Mills & Boon. I’d never read anything quite like it. It was great.
Chatting with my wife about Empire Of Dust, we started up a holiday-long conversation about romantic fiction for men. Was there any such thing? And did stories have to be specifically written for men? Couldn’t they just enjoy the same stuff that women read? To this I had an immediate response – No Way! And why? Mainly because of the way men are depicted in women’s romances – all those wealthy, chisel-jawed hunks. They may be the stuff that dreams are made of, but they’re so far removed from everyday life, us ‘normal’ guys just can’t relate to them. Read the rest of this entry »
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