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Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

May 25th, 2018

“Sometimes you just have to put your money where your mouth is.” This is what best-selling writer Jo Jo Moyles said in her interview with the Guardian when she was talking about the funding she is providing for Quick Reads. For those of you who don’t know, Quick Reads publishes a series of short, simple books that might appeal to the one in six adults in the UK with reading difficulties. The scheme, established in 2006, is designed to encourage reading and hopefully give slow readers more confidence and help them to move on to full-length books.

I think it’s a brilliant scheme, but there have been funding difficulties and the threat of closure has been hanging over it. When she heard this, the author offered to provide resources to keep it going for three years, providing a lifeline which would give it the opportunity to work on finding additional funding. When you can read fluently, you tend to take it for granted. Nothing beats the pleasure of a good book;  it’s easy to find information when you need it and understanding and filling in forms isn’t a serious problems. But, if your reading isn’t fluent then you’re missing out on so much and life is far less smooth. So, Quick Reads can now start commissioning new books again and I wish them well! This is definitely one organisation that deserves a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s YOUR Motivation?

May 18th, 2018

First, thanks to Vicki for last week’s post. I think she’s right when she says that nearly everyone who has had a burning desire to write probably remembers the motivation that first prompted them to pursue their dream.

But for some people, it’s maintaining that motivation when things don’t seem to be going right that’s a problem. Your cherished novel has been rejected…and rejected…and rejected. That fascinating article about your trip to the saffron fields of Morocco just doesn’t seem to be catching the eye of a travel editor. Your carefully crafted short story hasn’t been short-listed in yet another competition.  At some point, any writer can start to feel that perhaps they just haven’t got what it takes. Read the rest of this entry »




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Getting Your Writing Ready to Self-Publish

May 4th, 2018

First, thanks to Jackie for last week’s blog. Self-publishing is turning out to be the preferred option for many writers these days and over the next couple of months we’ll be looking at others who have made this choice, not because they couldn’t get a mainstream publisher, but because they preferred the freedom and control it offers.

But if you are going to publish your own work then you need to employ a first-class proofreader/copy-editor or be very confident that you have the skills needed to do the work properly yourself. There’s nothing puts people off more than buying a book (whether online or a print copy) and finding it full of typos, stilted sentences and inconsistencies. I borrowed a book recently from the library (produced by a reputable publisher). There were lots of typos and someone who had read it before me had marked each one lightly in pencil. I don’t condone defacing books but I could understand the irritation that had prompted the previous reader to action. Read the rest of this entry »




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Limerick Competition Open For Entries

April 20th, 2018

First, thanks to Claire for last week’s blog. For me, it demonstrates two things. First, that writing isn’t an easy option. You really have to work at it if you hope to succeed. And second, if you feel you’re working on something good, you should follow your own path and not just go with the flow.

We’ve been hearing for ages that novels should be a minimum of 70,000 words, or they are hard to market, and that novellas and collections of short stories don’t sell unless they are written by someone famous. But Claire’s experience disproves this – they will sell if you persevere and find the right way to get your message to the reading public.

While we’re on the subject of novellas, I’ve just read that ‘Nightflyers’, by George RR Martin is being turned into a ten-part TV series to debut on Syfy (and Netflix) later this year. I’m a great fan of Game of Thrones and can’t wait for the final series to be ready. But I have to admit that since production outran the actual writing of the novels episodes do seem more run-of-the-mill and less riveting. Read the rest of this entry »




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Hooked-up In Your Writing

March 23rd, 2018

First, thanks to Sherry for last month’s blog. The thing that I found most interesting was her suggestion of experimenting with different word-lengths to find what suits your idea best. Many people sit down and if they’ve decided to write a 2000-word short story, that’s what they go for. If they’ve decided to write 500 words, that’s what they write. But there can be so much to gain from a little experimentation – making sure that your story is written in the right number of words to do it justice. There’s no point dragging out a pithy, epigrammatic idea to thousands of words or condensing a character-reliant, romance down to a summary. I get so frustrated when I start watching a series on TV, think the set-up is good and then gradually realise that what’s being told in six episodes would have been better kept to four. I don’t want to waste two hours of my life on padding! Read the rest of this entry »




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