February 17th, 2017
First, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog. It really is important that you proof your work thoroughly before you send it out to an editor or a publisher. If you’ve not bothered to correct silly typing mistakes then they might wonder just how carefully you’ve checked your facts. I’ve done a lot of proofreading in my time and I actually find it quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s involved – either to check your own work, or to take it up as a freelance career – then you might want to consider our Proofreading and Copy Editing Course.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our 2017 Short Story Competition is now open for entries until 31st March. If you’re thinking about sending in your work, why not have a look at how some of the modern masters write their stories. Every year the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition is held with a prize of £30,000. As you can imagine, with prize money at that level, the standard of entries is pretty high. Read the rest of this entry »
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February 2nd, 2017
First, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog. I’ve been on holiday; so it was great not to have to think up something to post while I was away. I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica and despite the trip down to Gatwick (no flights direct from Manchester) and 11 hours in the air it was terrific. Blue skies, lush greenery and animals galore. At the top of my wish list of beasties to see was the sloth! I wasn’t bothered about the monkeys, the crocodiles, the kinkajou… or even the rather attractive tarantula that popped up near the path one day. All I wanted was a real, live sloth. And, dear reader, I got plenty of them, hanging high in the trees. They might be slow but they’re not daft; so they stay high enough not to get caught which makes taking good photos difficult unless you’ve got a very high spec camera! Read the rest of this entry »
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January 12th, 2017
As I write this, I’m watching the snow come down, settle and then melt away. It’s a very half-hearted attempt! But it’s certainly miserable for anyone out in it and it’s times like this that tempt even the most industrious writer to have a ‘duvet day’.
My advice is: don’t fight it. The odd day’s loss of production can soon be made up and it’s the ideal time to curl up and have a good read. Most successful authors agree that if you don’t read, you’ll never by a competent writer. Stephen King is quoted as saying: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 9th, 2016
With Christmas just around the corner and many people considering new laptops, the additional price of purchasing and installing Microsoft Home office can be considerable (from about £99 upward). So I was interested to see a reply to a reader’s query in the December issue of Writing Magazine.
The reader asked if there was a reliable, free substitute for Microsoft. Obviously there’s a lot of free software out there but this varies considerably in compatibility and ease of use. The suggestion they gave was Apache OpenOffice. It’s certainly not a new kid on the block so it has a track record of being stable and reliable. It offers similar software to Microsoft: word processing, graphics, spreadsheets, presentation software. It also looks similar, which is helpful if you are already familiar with Microsoft,and the big plus is that it also allows you to open and save Word docs! Read the rest of this entry »
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October 21st, 2016
First thanks to Sophia for last week’s blog. I found her list of online tools fascinating, but confess to being a bit worried by Write or Die. When I came to have a closer look, however, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. They’ve even introduced a ‘Reward Mode’. A picture of a cuddly kitten? Images of the designer shoes you’re lusting after? Mug-shot of your favourite author? You choose if you hit your word target. That sounds decidedly less scary than the ‘consequenses’ which they originally threatened if you dared to procrastinate!
This week I’m going to revisit a subject I’ve mentioned before – literary festivals. According to a London Book Fair report there are now more than 340 of them held each year in Britain and Ireland alone. It makes you wonder whether some authors are now spending longer attending literary festivals and beavering away on social media to drum up sales than they are on their writing. If you’re considering giving up the day job to become a full time writer it might be worth considering all the other ‘obligations’ that you’ll need to fulfil. With publishers’ promotional budgets being slashed there’s definitely more required of an author than just being able to turn a good phrase. Read the rest of this entry »
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