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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July 7th, 2016
Most people are familiar with the Costa Book Awards but since 2012 they’ve also been doing a Short Story Award.
In order to choose the winner, the public votes for six shortlisted stories that have been chosen by the five judges. You can download and listen to, or read, all the shortlisted stories at the appropriate time. I’m quite looking forward to this stage, as the shortlisted entries are invariably of a high standard and you can learn a lot from the way they are crafted. It also gives you a clue as to what the public enjoys and you might want to take this into account when you’re putting together your own entries for future competitions. Read the rest of this entry »
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November 13th, 2015
Last week I took a look at NaNoWriMo, where writers try to create a novel in a single month.
November is obviously developing as a literary month (all those dark nights to settle down and write) because National Short Story Week also takes place from 16th to 22nd. According to their site, this is ‘an annual awareness event. Its aim is to focus the attentions of the public and the media on the short story and short story writers, publishers and events. The aims of National Short Story Week are to get more people reading and listening to short stories; get more people writing short stories; develop creative and commercial opportunities for individuals and organisations involved in the short story form. Read the rest of this entry »
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November 9th, 2015
Do you ever finish a job and think: ‘Ooof – that was hard?’ I do it all the time, most recently with a story I (eventually) entered for the Aeon Award just last week. As some of you may remember, I started The Little People for a competition in Writing Magazine way back in September last year, but when the first draft came in way over the word count, I had to find a plan B, and this was it. Read the rest of this entry »
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October 23rd, 2015
In last week’s blog I mentioned that if you’re writing a novel you might be better to break it down into three 70,000 word books rather than one long saga. Hook your readers in the first book so that they can’t resist buying the sequels and, in the long run, you’ll build up your reputation more quickly, make a better profit and, if you have a conventional publisher, keep them happy too.
But there are still a lot of long books out there and I have mixed feelings about them. I’m always rather wary of short stories because unless the author is very good I often come away feeling unsatisfied. On the whole I prefer a good, meaty read that transports me into another world and keeps me there for long enough for me to feel I’ve become part of it and know the characters better than most of my neighbours. Read the rest of this entry »
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