January 27th, 2017
Just now I am fascinated by the way flash fiction challenges us writers. We are given so few words to play with, which means we have to do a lot with every single word, choosing each for maximum meaning and suggestiveness. It also seems to me that flash pieces offer us a chance to experiment with new forms that will enable us to do more and more with less and less.
One of the first decisions you have to make in writing a flash piece concerns the ‘voice’ of the story. Will you choose third person narration, where you’re telling a story about people and events as seen from the outside, or first person narration, where you create an ‘I’ who tells the readers the story, giving his or her version of events? If you choose first person narration then you can go one step further and plump for an ‘unreliable narrator’, that is, someone who offers an account of events in whose literal truth the reader is led to disbelieve as the story unfolds. Read the rest of this entry »
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March 7th, 2016
It’s the first Monday in the month again (doesn’t it seem to come round fast)? And because we’ve just launched our Flash Fiction Competition I thought I’d find an interesting clip on the subject for you. In it, Katey Schultz outlines her rules for writing good short fiction, and this involves the Five S’s. 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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June 23rd, 2015
Since we did the limerick competition back in May (click here to read the winning limericks) I’ve been looking into constrained writing – any kind of writing that has to fit a pattern or obey particular rules. We all know some of these: haiku; sonnet; iambic pentameter. Even if you don’t know the specific structures involved, most of us have an idea what they are. But what about univocalic poetry, where verses use only one of the eight available vowels, or chaterism, where the length of words in a phrase increase or decrease in a uniform way, like: “I am the best Greek bowler playing?” Read the rest of this entry »
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May 22nd, 2015
Living in France can sound like a dream come true to Francophiles living in the UK, but when you’re a budding writer it can sometimes feel like you’re living in exile.
How I envy those bloggers who wax lyrical about their writing groups and litfests, not to mention book signings. When my French friends show an interest in my writing very few are able to read it let alone provide a critique.
The current trend for Indie publishing is also out of my grasp as I can hardly nip over the channel in my spare time to actively promote my book in local bookshops. Looking for an agent is just as difficult as it would be if I were back in Blighty, but at least comprehensive lists can be found on the internet.
Speaking of the world wide web, this is my lifeline, it keeps me abreast of changes in the publishing world and allows me to pester my faithful readers back home with dozens of rewrites! Even finding an editor for my first full length manuscript proved a simple task, again with the help of my trusty laptop, and whilst the editing process taught me a lot, I can’t help thinking it would have been so much more fulfilling to learn this face to face or in a writer’s circle. Writing is by definition a solitary pursuit, but how I crave the contact with like-minded souls! Read the rest of this entry »
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