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World Book Day Comes Round Again

February 14th, 2020

First, thanks to Jim for last week’s blog. He’s absolutely right about flash fiction being a wonderful medium for making you concentrate on your writing and then edit it until the only words and ideas left are the ones that form the core of your story and move it forward.

March 5th is World Book Day. Thanks to National Book Tokens and lots of lovely book publishers and booksellers, World Book Day, in partnership with schools all over the country, will be distributing more than 15 million £1 World Book Day book tokens to children and young people (that’s almost one for every child/young person under 18 in the UK and Ireland). They’ll be able to exchange these for any of the 15 free books available at local participating bookshops or they’ll be able to put the £1 towards any full price book or e-book of their choice costing more than £2.99. Read the rest of this entry »




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For the Love of Flash

February 7th, 2020

When Diana kindly asked me if I would contribute to the WB blog I was a little stumped, considering my amateur status in the world of fiction, on what to write about. Recently, I have had success in placing in the WB Flash Fiction Competition, so with this in mind I thought I would share with you why I think writing flash fiction is invaluable to any aspiring writer.

With a word limit tending to range between 200 – 1000 words, flash allows you to lay down a complete first draft in one sitting, often in under twenty minutes, so you can create a fully formed piece of fiction in your lunch break. You gain a sense of accomplishment and are well on your way to having a piece ready for competition or publication. More importantly (for me at least) you are able to go through the complete writing process in miniature (re-drafting, proof reading etc.)  building on skills like editing, that you may rarely get to use when writing in longer forms. In going through the process, I’ve found that I enjoy the re-drafting more than writing the initial draft. This has given me more hope in completing the first draft of my novel, which (as I’m sure some of you have found) can be a painful process. At the end of the week you could have a fully realised piece of fiction ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »




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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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