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Discovering Literature

August 10th, 2018

First, thanks to Sally for last week’s post and her tips for writing a psychological thriller. This week I realised just how good her advice is about not making your protagonists either all bad or all good. I was watching Debbie Horsfield’s new comedy drama on TV – Age Before Beauty. I found myself shouting at the TV in irritation because nobody could possibly be such an out-and-out bad ‘un as the Leanne character. I know we’re not talking noirish thriller here, but characterisation still needs to be realistic enough for you to be prepared to suspend your disbelief for the duration. Just one redeeming feature might help. Perhaps we’ll see it in future episodes; perhaps not. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opening Shots

July 20th, 2018

What is one of the commonest faults in stories written by writing students?

Before I answer this, peruse the opening of a novel by the prolific Irish novelist Amanda McKittrick Ros:

“Have you ever visited that portion of Erin’s plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern and prejudiced, and reaching the hand of slight aid to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?”

Pause, and take a moment to recover, if you need to!

You will not be surprised to hear that Amanda self-published most of her  work and she is regarded as one of the worst stylists in literature – and this may well be the worst opening to a novel ever. Read the rest of this entry »

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Something For The School Holidays

July 13th, 2018

First, thanks to Andrew for last week’s blog – it made me smile. I’m not an avid fan of The Big Painting Challenge but I remember sitting watching the episode where they were asked to  paint boats and actually willing them to stop adding ‘improvements’ to their work.  So, I agree with his comments in the post wholeheartedly. It’s essential to give yourself enough time to edit your writing thoroughly before sending it out but it’s also essential to know when enough’s enough!

With the long school holidays about to start I thought that this week I’d provide some suggestions that might be interesting for those of you who have kids that enjoy writing . The first of these, if you live in the Midlands, is the Spark Young Writers Summer School running from July 30th to August 3rd at Wolverhampton University. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Urge to Not Write

June 22nd, 2018

The most important thing a writer can do after completing a sentence is stay in the room. The great temptation is to leave the room and celebrate the completion of the sentence or to go out in the den where the television lies like a dormant monster or to go wander the seductive possibilities of the kitchen. But. It’s this simple. The writer is the person who stays in the room.

Ron Carlson, Ron Carlson Writes a Story


The day I came across this paragraph, I felt somebody understood me. Almost. I wish staying in the room were my only problem; usually, I’m reluctant to enter the room in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Best Way To Avoid Unfair Contracts

June 8th, 2018

A few years ago, I was offered a publishing deal with the first publisher I sent my first book to. I was stunned and euphoric. This was a dream come true for me.  Unfortunately, my joy was short lived. My WB Tutor, David Kinchin, suggested I ask legal experts to review the deal was I was being offered and sure enough all was not it appeared. The head won over the heart and to my astonishment I rejected the offer.

After this narrow escape I was wary of publishers and traditional printing; it wasn’t as rosy and wonderful as I’d been led to believe. There were sharks out there who wanted to take your creativity and use it to make themselves rich, whilst you did all the work. Read the rest of this entry »

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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