October 30th, 2015
My first claim to fame was in my English lesson at junior school, back in the late 70s. We were doing a project on Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, which was a big hit at the time. The best writers were to be given the chance to talk to the author asking him ten of our chosen questions. I won for the girls, another student won for the boys.
I can remember sitting in the school office, waiting with eager anticipation whilst our teacher dialled his number. I went second, speaking to him without being able to contain my excitement. I’ve got to be honest – I can’t remember half of my questions but just remember feeling extremely proud that I’d be given the chance to talk to what was then a celebrity, at least in my eyes. Read the rest of this entry »
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October 23rd, 2015
In last week’s blog I mentioned that if you’re writing a novel you might be better to break it down into three 70,000 word books rather than one long saga. Hook your readers in the first book so that they can’t resist buying the sequels and, in the long run, you’ll build up your reputation more quickly, make a better profit and, if you have a conventional publisher, keep them happy too.
But there are still a lot of long books out there and I have mixed feelings about them. I’m always rather wary of short stories because unless the author is very good I often come away feeling unsatisfied. On the whole I prefer a good, meaty read that transports me into another world and keeps me there for long enough for me to feel I’ve become part of it and know the characters better than most of my neighbours. Read the rest of this entry »
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October 19th, 2015
Come on now, let’s get our cards on the table. What, exactly, do we all want out of this ‘writing’ business? Worldwide fame and fortune like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King? Or literary kudos? Maybe one of us could be the next Arundhati Roy, or Lemn Sissay?
Well, to be honest, either would be nice. But the way things are, I’ll settle for a third option: staying home (so I’m here when the kids get back from school) with no ‘boss’ breathing down my neck, making a bit of extra money doing something I love – something I do anyway, paid or not.
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October 16th, 2015
First, thanks to Jan for last week’s blog. She provided it a little earlier than expected – so apologies for not mentioning that she would be my guest in my previous post. I hope it encouraged you all to enter our Short Story Competition. If it gave you the nudge that you need, don’t forget that the closing date is 30th November!
I was interested to read that Waterstones are to stop stocking Kindle e-readers. There was much made in the article about the resurgence of proper, paper books. Apparently, sales rose 3% in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period the previous year. This is the first time it’s happened since 2012. However, in the same period the sale of e-books rose by 2%. So what do you make of that? Read the rest of this entry »
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October 12th, 2015
The idea of ‘Writer’s block’ sits hunched, but menacing at the back of many authors’ minds. ‘I might not have it now, but what if it strikes in the future?’ I hear you cry.
We give good advice about overcoming writer’s block in the course but I think that what the following YouTube clip tells you is both concise and effective – it really makes sense.
The first, and most important, point it makes is: Give yourself permission to write garbage! I know, it doesn’t sound very promising, does it? But stick with it and you’ll see where the speaker is coming from. The other two steps are equally important, though: (1) Have confidence in yourself and (2) Silence your inner critic (at least until you’ve got over the block). Read the rest of this entry »
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