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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August 11th, 2016
I was reading an interview in the paper last weekend with best-selling author James Patterson. To date he’s sold more than 350 million books – but he was rejected by 31 publishers before his first novel ‘The Thomas Berryman Number’ was published in 1976. So, if you’ve had your fair share of rejections, don’t despair!
When asked what advice he’d give to others he was quoted as saying, “Writers always ask me how they should market their books. My advice is, don’t worry about that. Just start your next book. Just write.”
Sounds good, but I suspect it only really works if you already have a publisher, are earning lots of money for them and you are famous. For us mere mortals, in an age where getting an agent, let alone a publisher, seems nigh on impossible, I don’t really think it works. Publishers are having their promotional budgets cut all the time and the onus to generate self-publicity is falling more and more upon the author. And if you choose to self-publish, you’ve no alternative but to use every means at your disposal to reach the reading public. The thought of sitting at home beavering away at book after book may sound comforting but it’s not going to get a novice writer noticed. Read the rest of this entry »
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August 4th, 2016
We’ve all heard the saying …a good picture is worth a thousand words. It may be a cliché but it’s certainly true! So this week I thought I’d have a quick look at the options available to ensure that when you submit work to editors you really do increase your chances of success.
1. You don’t have to be a photographic genius. With today’s digital cameras and a little knowledge of image manipulation (which you can easily learn) you can take photos good enough to illustrate your articles – and they’ll be unique.
2. If you really can’t take the pictures yourself, try to come to a fair agreement with a good amateur photographer or a friend who is confident with a camera. Do a project together and then split the proceeds – a win-win agreement for both of you! Read the rest of this entry »
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