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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October 19th, 2015
Come on now, let’s get our cards on the table. What, exactly, do we all want out of this ‘writing’ business? Worldwide fame and fortune like J. K. Rowling and Stephen King? Or literary kudos? Maybe one of us could be the next Arundhati Roy, or Lemn Sissay?
Well, to be honest, either would be nice. But the way things are, I’ll settle for a third option: staying home (so I’m here when the kids get back from school) with no ‘boss’ breathing down my neck, making a bit of extra money doing something I love – something I do anyway, paid or not.
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October 9th, 2015
Not all writers enter competitions, which is good news for those of us who do, because it improves the odds in our favour.
But, if other people aren’t entering, then why not? Well, let me guess. It’s a lot of time and effort, there are bound to be loads of entries and most of them won’t win, quite simply because not everybody can. So, all of those people will have wasted their time. Also, it costs money.
I can’t argue about the entry fees. All I can say is, stick to a budget. A few are free. Lots of them won’t cost more than a couple of coffees. Decide how often you can afford that. Read the rest of this entry »
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August 10th, 2015
First, thanks to Vincent for last Friday’s blog. It’s always good to see how authors from different countries approach their writing – but I suspect the sentiments he expressed are pretty universal!
Have you been watching the BBC drama Life in Squares? I must admit that I saw the first episode and then started to find it rather tedious. That’s possibly because when forced to read and analyse copious amounts of Virginia Woolf’s work for my degree I found it something of a chore. ‘Stream of consciousness’, and the Bloomsbury set in general, aren’t really my cup of tea. Read the rest of this entry »
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