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Literary Vending Machines

August 18th, 2017

First, thanks to Elise for last week’s blog. It just goes to show how different writing for film or TV can be from writing a novel. In the former, you have to be able to produce something visual for your audience whereas when writing a novel you are providing the structure and the ideas which will allow your readers to use their own imagination to understand and visualise your story.

I read an interesting piece this week in Writing Magazine about vending machines having been installed on 35 French railway stations. But these aren’t your standard machines offering drinks, sweets and crisps – instead they provide short stories. If you get to the station and have forgotten your book, or don’t want to fiddle with your mobile phone, you can press a button and print out a story. And you’ve even got a choice of length – do you want a one minute read, a three minute read of a five minute read? (Don’t worry, if you’re train is delayed you can always go back for another as they’re free!) Read the rest of this entry »




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What Kind Of Writing Course Is Best For You?

August 4th, 2017

First, thanks to Maria for last week’s blog. It must be great to attend one of her courses in such a wonderful setting. I can feel myself turning green just thinking about it!

Like her, I’ve no interest in criticizing taking a master’s degree in writing, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this option is now horribly expensive and I have talked to a number of people who really have been quite disappointed by the experience. Whereas they wanted (and expected) something practical, instead they have been faced with theory and found themselves no nearer publication at the end than at the beginning. In addition, they’ve felt there has been a lack of interaction with their tutor.

So, my advice would be to always do your research thoroughly before making any decision – or paying any money! Look at all the options, whether it’s a university course, a week-long course (like the one Maria runs, or those organised by Arvon at their various sites) or a distance learning course where you have one-to-one contact with and feedback from your tutor. Then decide what’s best for you. Read the rest of this entry »




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To begin at the ending…

August 25th, 2016

MikeGHeadshot-blogThe limerick can be a nifty vehicle for delivering a single, amusing idea (pun, quirky or satirical observation, etc.).  Writing one is at least a good poetic exercise.  Though much disparaged, in many specific cases rightly so, it is a poem in microcosm, and needs many of the standard features of a more ‘serious’ piece.

Economy, vital in both poetry and humour, is doubly important here.  If you start with ‘there was a young lady from . . .’, that’s nearly 20% of your word count squandered already, with nothing original said.  Such open-ended openings often fizzle out in a bland or contrived finish.  Edward Lear’s pioneering pieces seem to suffer this fate, although some are redeemed by those lovely illustrations. Read the rest of this entry »




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Limerick Competition Winners

August 19th, 2016

Anthony-Watts---head-&-shoulder-portrait-(2)-blogLast week I promised to let you know the winners of our Limerick Competition that closed at the end of July. So, ta-dah! Here they are.

First place was taken by Anthony Watts (pictured) from Somerset.

A scone is a scone is a scon,

Depending on whose side you’re on.

When writing in verse

This can prove a real curse

(Should you rhyme it with Joan or with John?) Read the rest of this entry »




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The Limerick Song!

December 1st, 2014

iron-press-blogOur newsletter, Freelance Market News, holds a monthly competition for subscribers and one of the most popular is when we ask people to write a limerick. I can certainly understand it because they’re short – and they’re fun.

Limericks originated in the 1700s and were made even more popular by Edward Lear in the Nineteenth Century. They have a very definite rhyming scheme (aabba); often feature a place name (There was a young woman from London…) and are normally both funny and a little risqué! Read the rest of this entry »




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