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The Importance Of Walking Away

January 12th, 2018

We’ve all been there. The thrill of typing ‘The End,’ the realisation that it’s perfect. It’s time to show it to the world.

STOP! Step away from the Send button. Don’t print it yet. It may not be as ready as you think.

I know it’s hard. You’ve been working on this for weeks, months, maybe even years. You’re finally finished and can’t wait for the rewards: first place in the competition, centre spread in the magazine, the big book deal, the lavish reviews. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Literary Television Treat

January 5th, 2018

First, happy New Year! Here we are at the start of 2018 having been lashed by storms Dylan and Eleanor. I can’t say that I’m really sorry as it’s given me the chance to spend a bit more time curled up with some good books and the last of the chocolate biscuits rather than having to go out into the garden and start dismantling the Christmas reindeer.

This year my husband decided to make reindeer from logs that we’d sawn off trees over the previous year, and give them collars of shiny red metal. I think they’re great, but the local wildlife wasn’t as impressed. We have some very fat, very bold squirrels. They’re not frightened of me, or my husband, but they certainly gave the Rudolphs a wide berth. I loved watching them edge their way around keeping a very beady eye open for any movement. At least I know what to put near the bird feeders in future to keep them at a distance. Perhaps we need to invent some all-season mythical beast that we can use to keep them in check! Squirrels are cute, but not when they’re eating all the nuts and digging up my bulbs for a quick snack. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Janus Effect

December 22nd, 2017

We’re now at that time when people start looking back over the year that’s just gone and looking forward to the future. So, I thought I’d share some of the advice that I’ve been given over the years and found helpful. I hope it will give you some ideas for how you intend to approach your writing over the next 12 months

1. Sit down and think about what you wish to achieve – but don’t be over-ambitious. Rather than saying ‘I’m going to write my novel…’ when you haven’t even started the first draft, try ‘I’m going to have the first six chapters completed by the end of March.’ Or ‘I’m going to send off two short stories/articles to X Magazine by the end of January’. Breaking things into smaller chunks makes them more attainable.

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Show Don’t Tell

December 15th, 2017

I’m back to a bit of mix-and-match this week. First, I’d like to mention a competition I saw recently. Creative Writing for All is currently accepting entries for its 2018 Poetry and Short Story Competition. The theme is Cats and/or Dogs. The entry fee is £5 for the first entry and then £3 for any subsequent entries and the prizes in each category  are 1st: £60, 2nd: £30, 3rd: £15. All profits go to a good cause – The RSPCA at The Holdings, Kempsey. The closing date is 30th April; so you have plenty of time to start thinking up those animal-inspired plots and poems.

Next, I’d like to suggest you have a look at Popshot Magazine.  It’s an illustrated literary magazine – you can subscribe to the online version or the physical edition, and it’s a long time since I’ve seen such a beautifully produced publication. Even if you don’t feel you want to subscribe, there is plenty of content on their website that you can access free, to get a feel for their ethos. And it might just tempt you… Read the rest of this entry »

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Picking The Right Name For Your Character

December 8th, 2017

Last week I mentioned the Debut Dagger Competition. I’ve just been on the Crime Writers’ Association website again and discovered that they have a page of excellent crime writing advice by well-known authors plus tips for entrants to the competition. So if you are considering having a go, it’s definitely worth taking a look.

This week I’ve had another great contribution from Writers Bureau tutor, David Kinchin – about naming your characters. So, rather than looking at bits and pieces, I’m going to provide some general advice, followed by what he has to say on the subject.

Choosing the right names for your characters is crucial. You can suggest a great deal about a person’s age and background by the name you give. All names have popular connotations and associations which the reader subconsciously tunes into – they create instant mental pictures. For example, Nikki is a young art student with a way-out dress sense, while Cynthia is a rather staid housewife in her mid-60s with an immaculately clean house in the leafy suburbs. Read the rest of this entry »

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