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Giving Your Readers That Little Extra ‘Something’

May 26th, 2017

First, thanks to Pam Fish for last week’s blog. I haven’t been the NAWGFest for a while but when I did attend, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was on my own, but did know one or two of the people giving presentations as they were WB tutors. What struck me most, though, was how friendly and welcoming everyone was. So, if you want to attend, but you’re travelling solo, don’t worry that you’ll spend the weekend feeling lonely. I can promise – you won’t!

I was listening to an interview with the author, Michel Faber, recently. He’s the author of The Crimson Petal and the White (a fantastic, noirish book that was made into a TV series); Under the Skin (made into a film) and his latest novel The Book of Strange New Things, which I’ve just started reading. But in the interview he was reading from his latest project Undying: a Love Story – a collection of poems which he wrote while he was coming to terms with the death of his wife from cancer. Read the rest of this entry »




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Is Splashing Out for a Writing Weekend Good Value For Aspiring Writers?

May 19th, 2017

It is coming to that time of the year when we, as writers, start reading about residential writing courses – Festivals, Schools and Weekends. Are they worth it? Some appear to be quite expensive. Will I gain anything for my writing? Who goes? And, aren’t they mainly recreational? What exactly do you get out of it?

If you are new to the game choosing represents a rather daunting prospect. They are varied in what they offer, but I can assure you that some are with experienced, professional tutors and they will work you very hard. So, how will you find the right one for you?

I went to my first Writing Festival in 2002 – the NAWG Festival of Writing at Durham University. And now, thirteen years later, I have two novels published and I am the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Writers Groups (NAWG) and heavily involved with the planning of their annual writing festivals, which has been re-branded NAWGFest 2017. Read the rest of this entry »




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In A Class Of Her Own

October 28th, 2016

different-class-blogOn Friday I went to listen to Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat, amongst other well-known novels) talking about, and reading from, her latest book Different Class.

But it was the question and answer session at the end that I found most interesting. Someone asked her how long it took her to write her books. The answer was anything from three months to five years! The reason she gave for this was that sometimes she ran out of inspiration; she had to have a break while she did some research; or she had to wait for the pieces of a plot to fall into place in her subconscious. What she stressed, though, was that she didn’t feel that any of this time was wasted as she always had more than one project on the go and when a particular piece of work wasn’t going well she turned to something else. A sensible approach for any writer. Read the rest of this entry »




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Taking Sitcoms Seriously

April 15th, 2016

Scots-Magazine-September-2013-blogYou don’t see that many competitions for humorous work, but I’ve got a good one for you this week. The Sitcom Mission holds a competition each year for 15-minute sitcoms and the best four are then showcased at The New Diorama Theatre in London in front of the British TV and radio comedy industry. The central aim is to get the winners commissioned for TV, radio or online.

The fee for basic entry is £10 but there are various other options where you can pay more but receive a critique/advice on your work. The closing date is 15th May. Read the rest of this entry »




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