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From Stand Up to Sonnets

December 4th, 2020

First, thanks for Amanda for last week’s post. I don’t know how I would have managed without the library BorrowBox App during lockdown when our local libraries were closed. Now I intend to look into lots more of the suggestions that she packed in. I also found it so inspiring that even when she was up against serious health problems she still found time to write!

This week is going to be something of a miscellany – but hopefully an interesting one!

First, have a look at Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2020 (I know we’re nearly in 2021, but it’s still good). There are 10 categories which include Freelancing, Blogging, Travel, Publishing, Podcast etc. To ensure that the content is genuinely good they only include sites that have been recommended by readers of The Write Life; the published content is judged to be helpful to writers and the list is updated recently and regularly. I hope you find it useful. Read the rest of this entry »




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Is Working From Home A Good Or Bad Idea?

September 25th, 2020

COVID19 has meant many are required to work from home instead of their normal workplace. Has it been a good or bad experience for you?

Many writers work from home, of course, so here’s my list of critical things I found when first setting up my home office over 20 years ago.

 

Make a Timetable with realistic times to start your working day, when to have a break, when to go to the shops. It may not always work out, but it helps you focus on the bits you must do each day.

Let others know you are “working” from home. Friends and family are still likely to pop in for a chat, phone to say “Hi”, expect you to make them a cuppa and sit with them. You are not available because you are at home, so they need to know your timetable. No distractions. Avoid phoning you at critical times of the day. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Ten Commandments For Writing Divine Short Stories

July 31st, 2020

I’ve been wanting  to play God ever since I watched Bruce Almighty. I’m delighted to say the day has finally come. So, here is my Decalogue to write divine short stories.

1) You shall write

I can hear you shriek “really, Mr. God?” Although being obvious, it can be challenging. Write daily if possible, even just a couple of lines.

2) You shall read

Explore different authors and various genres. Learn from the masters. Above all (to me, at least): Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man; Stephen King, Everything’s Eventual. Read the rest of this entry »




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Becoming A Published Writer

July 3rd, 2020

It was when one of my students had a reader’s letter published that the idea for my latest book started to take shape.

“It’s only a reader’s letter,” she said, “but it means the world to me. I’m published!”

For a few months, she’d been sending work out and either not heard back, or received a rejection. Understandably, she’d started to feel a little despondent and wondered if she was ever going to be published.

Then came that first moment of success. It was swiftly followed by a short filler being accepted. She emailed me a few weeks later to tell me she couldn’t believe the confidence that one reader’s letter had given her. She realised that she could write and now she’d had a few small successes, she wanted more and was going to work on some articles. Read the rest of this entry »




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5 Tips to Write Compelling Dialogue

May 8th, 2020

Writing a story or novel is a skill that takes time to develop: you need to know how to flesh out your characters, strategize your plot, reach a satisfying climax, and wrap everything up neatly.

One of the most crucial tools in your writers’ toolbox is compelling dialogue. The best writers know how to make their characters talk in a way that feels so real, we can instantly identify who’s speaking even without a dialogue tag. How do they do that?

How to write better dialogue

Here are some tips on how to write better dialogue:

  1. Listen to the way people talk.

One pitfall that writers fall into is writing dialogue for characters as though they were writing, not talking. Take time to pay attention to the way that real people talk, and take note of the following:

They tend to speak in fragments and not always in full sentences.

They don’t always speak in grammatically correct lines.

A lot of the time, they interrupt each other.

Use these in your writing and you will see the dialogue becoming more real. Read the rest of this entry »




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