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What Do Writers Eat?

August 9th, 2021

First, thanks to Simon for last week’s post. I suspect that certain types of writing come into fashion because of what’s going on in the world at that particular time and ‘Cosy Crime’ seems an ideal genre when we’ve just been through what we have in the past 18 months! It’s not surprising people want gentle escapism rather than graphic blood and gore.

Last month I mentioned a documentary about Ernest Hemingway. There were six hour-long episodes and the interest never waned. These days it has become commonplace for readers to judge an author not just on his or her literary output but on their private lives. Were they ‘bad’ people – racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic? I’ve always disliked this way of looking at literature but I suspect Hemingway was all of those things and when I sat down to read a much-lauded collection of his short stories recently I decided that it wasn’t just the man behind the books that I found unacceptable but I didn’t even rate the writing. And as for his much-praised novel, The Old Man and the Sea, only Edna O’Brien had the temerity to say that it wasn’t one of his finest – and I suspect that was an understatement! Read the rest of this entry »




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Are You Considering Self-publishing?

February 28th, 2020

First, thanks to Esther for last week’s blog. I enjoy reading both ‘proper’ books and e-books.  As I’m sure I’ve said before, for me it’s all about the most cost-effective way of getting my hands on what I want to read, whether it’s physically visiting my local library, using their library app, browsing in a good bookshop or downloading a book from Amazon. But I do tend to have a preference for my Kindle when I’m reading in bed. As Esther said – less strain on the arms!

I know that even young children are now savvy when it comes to tablets and phones and there are so many channels on the TV fighting for their attention. But I still get a buzz out of the fact that my 14-month-old grandson loves his books. He likes nothing better than making his choice and then staggering over with his favourite picture book so that we can sit down and enjoy it together. Let’s hope it lasts. 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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See It Through And Reap The Rewards

June 7th, 2019

When you’ve looked at the writing courses on offer and made the commitment, a strategy can be helpful to ensure you’ll get the maximum benefit.

I’ve recently completed the poetry course with The Writers’ Bureau, and found planning helpful in keeping up the momentum. Here are ten suggestions to remain on track from selection to completion. There is so much enjoyment and satisfaction to come!

    1. When choosing your course, whether purely for interest or with an aim to be   published, read everything the website can tell you about it. Don’t be put off by a suggested timescale. (I completed mine with very few weeks to spare.)

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Student of the Year 2019!

January 25th, 2019

Last week I announced the winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. This week I have pleasure in announcing  the winner of our Student of the Year Competition – Criselle Nunag from the Philippines – and the four runners up. You can read their stories here. As you’ll see, it’s not all about how much they’ve earned from their writing, but also about the other benefits (health and emotional well-being) that writing can bring. I hope that over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting guest blogs from some, or all, of them and next week I’ll be starting with Kunda Londa from Zambia. Read the rest of this entry »




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