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The Novels That Shaped Our World

January 31st, 2020

The BBC has asked a selection of people to choose 100 English language novels that have had an impact on them. They say:

“Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking.”

You can see the list here. I find some of the choices rather odd, but reading preferences are a very personal thing and I’m sure no two people would agree completely. Last year, the Sunday Times printed a list (many of which I had already read) and I am still working my way through the stragglers. It’s been great as it’s introduced me to some wonderful writers that I might otherwise have overlooked. But there are still the odd one or two that I have downloaded to my library app and then deleted after only a few chapters. Read the rest of this entry »

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Focus On Your Writing

January 23rd, 2020

I’m really happy to be able to announce the winners of our recent Flash Fiction Competition. We had some of the best short fiction that I’ve read for a long time; so the people who were placed should be very proud of themselves. I do hope you’ll read the three winners and I’m just sorry that we haven’t been able to include the best of the rest.

So, congratulations to winner, Susan Kittles, with Moving Day. Second place goes to Jim Goodman with Family Meal and in third place is Ruth Clarke-Irons with Where You Are Sleeping.

Don’t forget our 2020 Fiction Competition is now open for entries! Read the rest of this entry »

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How To Read A Novel

January 14th, 2020

One of the things that I’m sure you hear repeatedly is that if you want to be a writer then you must read, read, read. But why?

You should read – especially contemporary fiction – because it shows you what trends are current, what readers are looking for NOW and so what publishers are searching for.

You should read all fiction – contemporary, classic, experimental – to see how other authors use words, how they put together their plots, twine in sub-plots and how they make their characters realistic. When you read something you enjoy then you can analyse it and use the knowledge you have gained in your own work. When you read a book that doesn’t work for you, then you can try to decide what’s wrong with it and avoid this in your own writing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whatever Makes You Happy

January 6th, 2020

The very first thing I want to say to you is a rather belated ‘Happy New Year’! I hope that 2020 will be happy, healthy and, of course, good for your writing.

In my last post before we finished for Christmas, I said I’d be considering New Year resolutions, but I’ve actually decided that I’m going to break with tradition and not make any this year. Instead I’m going to try something different.

You’ve probably heard about the idea that each night before you go to sleep you try to think of three things that have happened during the day that made you feel grateful. Well I’m going to try and do something different; each week I’m going to think of three things that make me happy. And I’m going to make them simple things – things that don’t cost a fortune. It’s a way of reminding myself of how good life can be, despite all the pressures we face and the worrying things we see in the news.  I’ve chosen these to start with:  going for a walk on a sunny, windy day; a visit to the seaside when the waves are rough; beans-on-toast when I’m really hungry. Couldn’t be simpler, but just thinking about them puts me in a better mood. Read the rest of this entry »

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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