March 17th, 2017
First, thanks to Julia for last week’s blog. After reading it, and the very polished entry that she submitted to the recent AFW poetry competition, I think she should stop being tempted to say ‘poetry isn’t really my thing’ – it most definitely is!
However, I definitely know what my thing is, and I’m not sure I should be boasting about it: collecting snippets of useless (but, in my defense, interesting) information. I recently read an article about Milton and Paradise Lost. Apparently, it’s been estimated that he introduced 630 new words into the English Language (Will Shakespeare was a laggard by comparison with only 229). Examples include pandemonium, fragrance, didactic, stunning, impassive, debauchery, self-delusion and terrific. Read the rest of this entry »
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March 10th, 2017
I’m tempted to say poetry isn’t really my thing; but while that used to be true, recently my attitude has changed and I’ve been become more open not just to reading it, but also writing it.
Of course, I did the usual stuff at school and several quotes are forever engraved on my mind: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (Owen); Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is Man (Pope); and, a particular favourite, Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide (Dryden). (When I get round to writing my best-selling novel about a tortured genius I shall call it ‘Thin Partitions’.) And then there’s this chilling morsel: This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together (Browning). Read the rest of this entry »
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March 3rd, 2017
First, thanks to Kym for last week’s blog. I must confess to envying her the fact that she has a fully-fitted writing shed. I’ve always loved the idea of having a comfy little snug in the back garden where you can sit and listen to the rain on the roof, watch the birds (and cats!) and get on with your writing in peace and quiet. Perhaps it’s something I should put on my Christmas list – but I doubt Santa, or my long-suffering husband, will humour me.
Yesterday, when I was writing this, it was World Book Day. I always think this is a great idea because it gets children thinking about the books that they have read and their favourite characters. For those of you who are not familiar with World Book Day, it’s when children in schools around the country are encouraged to go to school dressed as their favourite book character. They pay £1 for this privilege and the money raised is used by Book Aid to send children’s books to third world countries where they may be in short supply and literacy levels need a boost. Last year over 60,000 books were sent to Africa alone. Read the rest of this entry »
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February 24th, 2017
For most of my remembered life, I have had a love for the written word. Books have been my treasured companions. Library’s terminals for flights of fancy, on vehicles of imagination to destinations of alternate worlds and realities. On scraps of paper I write ideas, sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs, then squirrel them away till the right time and set of circumstance would allow me to write.
Years fly past. Life is a roller coaster of amazing highs and blessings. The birth of three sons, five grand daughters, of wonderful friendships formed, nurtured and enjoyed, and the gift of travel to six of our world’s great continents. What joy and adventure I have had. This is balanced with life’s cruel lows of loss, untimely bereavement, sadness and struggle to survive the blows. Truly, what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Read the rest of this entry »
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February 17th, 2017
First, thanks to Mary for last week’s blog. It really is important that you proof your work thoroughly before you send it out to an editor or a publisher. If you’ve not bothered to correct silly typing mistakes then they might wonder just how carefully you’ve checked your facts. I’ve done a lot of proofreading in my time and I actually find it quite enjoyable. If you’re interested in knowing more about what’s involved – either to check your own work, or to take it up as a freelance career – then you might want to consider our Proofreading and Copy Editing Course.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our 2017 Short Story Competition is now open for entries until 31st March. If you’re thinking about sending in your work, why not have a look at how some of the modern masters write their stories. Every year the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition is held with a prize of £30,000. As you can imagine, with prize money at that level, the standard of entries is pretty high. Read the rest of this entry »
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