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Ulysses – a day out with Leopold Bloom

June 10th, 2011

First, thanks to Sally for last week’s tips on how to achieve success with your short fiction. The first point she makes about keeping the number of characters to a minimum and telling your story from the point of view of the main protagonist is particularly useful. As I go through the Writers Bureau Short Story Competition entries I’m amazed at the number of people who try to get a cast of millions (well, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration) into 2000 words. It just doesn’t work – it only confuses the reader.

Celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses

Did you know there was such a thing as Bloomsday? It’s held on 16th June to celebrate James Joyce’s Ulysses – it’s the date in 1904 when the book is set. And now I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve read Dubliners, I’ve read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I’ve even read Finnegan’s Wake – but I could never quite get to grips with Ulysses. But that’s all about to change!

I was listening to someone on the radio this morning, claiming that the book was written to be read aloud – he then went on to demonstrate. Although some of the words look weird on the page, when you read them out they are so onomatopoeic that they give you a real feel for the atmosphere that Joyce was trying to create. So, it will be interesting to see whether, in three months’ time, I’ve reached the end or whether it’s still gathering dust under the bed. In the meantime – let me have your views.

So you think you can proofread?

In the course of my work I spend quite a bit of time proofreading – and it’s amazing how I can read something numerous times and then mistakes still appear when it’s been printed. Proofreading isn’t as easy as many people suspect. But it’s a valuable skill – whether you’re checking your own writing and printers’ proofs or as part of your day job. So why not test your ability? The Society for Editors and Proofreaders has a test on their site that you can try your hand at. Then, if that whets your appetite you might want to enrol on our Proofreading and Copy Editing course.

Well, that’s it for now. Next week my guest is Phyllis Ring, a former Writers Bureau tutor, who will be looking at a topic that generates many queries – how to use sidebars effectively in your articles.

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