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Writing By The Rules

March 7th, 2016

five sensesIt’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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Where’s the ‘Man’ in Romance? (A Flash Fiction Competition With a Difference)

September 14th, 2015

Romance_blogSummer’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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Constrained Competition

June 23rd, 2015

typewriter-BlogSince 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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Living and Writing Abroad

May 22nd, 2015

Kerry.blogLiving 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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Editors Aren’t Always Perfect

January 30th, 2015

writer.com-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last Friday’s blog. You often hear people who are ‘sniffy’ about genre fiction saying it’s plot driven, whereas literary fiction (usually their preferred reading/writing matter) is character driven. It’s OK for a book or story to be character driven but if those characters don’t provide some forward movement or development (a plot?!) then the reader loses interest pretty fast. Read the rest of this entry »




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