October 28th, 2016
On 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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October 7th, 2016
Yesterday was National Poetry Day – if you took part in any way I hope you enjoyed yourself. To mark the event we’ve been offering £25 off our Art of Writing Poetry course and this offer will be available until 16th October. So if you fancy brushing up your poetry skills, now’s the time to do it.
I live in Rochdale, near Manchester. It doesn’t often get good press. Some parts come very high on the list of most deprived areas in the UK, there was the grooming scandal involving young girls and who could miss the allegations against Cyril Smith the former Liberal MP.
But it’s a town that’s set amidst beautiful Pennine countryside, it has some truly outstanding Victorian buildings and it’s really trying to put all that behind it and move on. One of the many ways it’s doing this is by holding an annual literary festival later in the month. Read the rest of this entry »
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June 24th, 2016
I’m delighted to have this opportunity to re-introduce myself as a tutor after a few years away following a bereavement.
For those of you who read Writing Magazine, you probably know me best as the columnist of ‘Notes from the Margin’ – the humorous final page. The reason I mention this is because I owe my long-running column (seven years and counting) directly to the Writers Bureau course.
I started my writing career many, many years ago as a student and only signed up because I wanted to learn how to write fiction for the women’s magazine market! Instead of starting with the fiction modules, as I could have done, I wanted to learn all I could about writing and elected to take the comprehensive course. As a result, every assignment led to work being published in a vast variety of magazines in several countries – and one of the assignments also brought about my first humour column in Living France Magazine. Read the rest of this entry »
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January 8th, 2016
I’d like to wish you a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year, but before we go any further just let me reassure you that, despite the title, I’m not going to spend this post trying to put the world to rights. Though after watching international news over the past few days many places could certainly do with a helping hand!
No, I’m thinking of the BBC’s new, six-part adaptation of War and Peace which started last Sunday. I talked before Christmas about the Instapoets and last week Neill mentioned the way social media, and its short forms, is impacting on language (thanks, Neill, for your humorous take on life), but we still seem to be suckers for a good, long read. I know I certainly am. Read the rest of this entry »
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November 27th, 2015
I’ve just got back from a holiday in Japan – somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. It was a terrific experience: wonderful autumn colours in the mountains and forests; imposing Shogun castles and enough temples and shrines to keep you going for a lifetime (and who can argue with people who are so relaxed about their religion that when you find a Buddhist temple it often has a Shinto shrine in the same complex). Read the rest of this entry »
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