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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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Putting the Emphasis on Non-fiction

June 9th, 2017

First, thanks to Sarah for last week’s blog.  I found it fascinating and very useful because, as you know, it’s becoming increasingly rare for small publishers to offer writers an advance. And if you do get one, it is often small (unless you’re one of those famous/infamous celebrities that can command a six figure deal). If you’re self-publishing, then you simply have to fund the full process yourself and in these cash-strapped times it’s not always easy. This is where crowdfunding can come in useful – but before you embark on anything like this make sure you take on board Sarah’s advice. It’s not easy, and you might find yourself spending more time raising funds than actually writing. You have been warned!

In the Writers Bureau Comprehensive Course we have a section on writing readers’ letters and fillers. Writing letters is pretty obvious, but some students struggle with the idea of ‘fillers’. At one time magazines needed very short articles that they could use to fill blank spaces on a page. Hence the name – ‘fillers’. This is no longer necessary, with electronic setting, as articles and photos can be re-shaped and re-sized so that they fill the appropriate space without any difficulty. Read the rest of this entry »




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Organizing Your Research

December 4th, 2015

Sue-Wilkes-now-blogWhether you are researching a non-fiction article or a full-length book, it pays to be meticulous about your research.

If you are making notes from a reference book, and have found a useful fact, carefully write down the name of the page number, author, book, date published, edition, and publisher. This is so you can easily find it if you need to refer to it again. If you prefer to type up your research as you are going along, then type the whole reference in brackets (or whatever suits you best) so you have a record of it – you can always edit it out later if needed.

Depending on your book publisher, you may have to provide source references for each chapter, and your life will be made much easier if you have noted them down throughout the writing process. Read the rest of this entry »




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No Time To Waste

May 18th, 2015

Pitch-BlogRight, now, I’m not getting fixated or anything, but last week I blogged about magazine articles and, here I am again, blogging about … magazine articles. Y’see, I’ve got these ideas – all good, publishable, and I’ve got my editorial calendar sorted, but the thing I’m not sure about is how to approach an editor. So I’ve been looking back through the E-Zee Writer archive to get some advice and, as usual, it’s come up trumps. Back in June 2009, Simon Whaley wrote a piece called Perfect Pitches, all about making a good impression and striking deals with editors, and it’s proving to be a great help. Read the rest of this entry »




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Further On Down The Road

December 15th, 2014

Road-blogLooking for inspiration in some back copies of E-Zee Writer, I came across a great article by Esther Newton called ‘Plan B.’ It’s all about what to do if your dream of becoming the next Ian Fleming or Toni Morrison doesn’t pan out. Obviously, with my history of not finishing fantasy trilogies, it got me thinking, eventually wishing I could go back and have a quiet word with the writer I used to be in the mid-nineties, when the first words of my magnum opus were committed to floppy disc (remember them?) Read the rest of this entry »




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