March 24th, 2017
When I worked for a high street bank I was taught all about standing orders. These allow you to pay the same amount of money to the same person/company on a continuous basis. It’s a regular commitment.
Whenever a new customer opened up a current account with us we encouraged them to open up a savings account too. Then we’d set up a standing order to transfer a small amount to their new savings account on the day after payday.
Transfer £50 every month and after 12 months those small little deposits mount up to £600. Not a bad little sum: ideal to put towards Christmas, or perhaps a summer holiday.
What I didn’t realise when I embarked on my freelance writing career was that writers should make standing orders too. Not financial ones, but time and word standing orders. Read the rest of this entry »
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January 27th, 2017
Just now I am fascinated by the way flash fiction challenges us writers. We are given so few words to play with, which means we have to do a lot with every single word, choosing each for maximum meaning and suggestiveness. It also seems to me that flash pieces offer us a chance to experiment with new forms that will enable us to do more and more with less and less.
One of the first decisions you have to make in writing a flash piece concerns the ‘voice’ of the story. Will you choose third person narration, where you’re telling a story about people and events as seen from the outside, or first person narration, where you create an ‘I’ who tells the readers the story, giving his or her version of events? If you choose first person narration then you can go one step further and plump for an ‘unreliable narrator’, that is, someone who offers an account of events in whose literal truth the reader is led to disbelieve as the story unfolds. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 21st, 2015
Looking back through some old copies of E-Zee Writer, I spotted an article about editing by Janie Slater – The Gentle Art Of Surgery. Now, I know editing isn’t everyone’s favourite subject, but don’t go falling asleep just yet because … I love it. It’s like out in the garden, taking on a raggedy border full of weeds and dead stalks then, after a couple of hours graft, standing back, completely satisfied. It really makes a difference, and it’s never wasted time.
Course, I understand, most people don’t ‘get’ the editing thing. I’ve been having a running argument about it with one old friend for over a decade. She keeps a note book by the bed so that, if an idea pops into her mind at two in the morning, she can write it down (it drives her husband nuts.) But as far as she’s concerned, that’s it – job done. She never re-writes because: “What comes out at two in the morning is the truth.” To which I say: “That doesn’t mean it’s any good.” Read the rest of this entry »
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September 11th, 2015
In October 2003 my first book, One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human was published by Hodder & Stoughton. I never dreamed that twelve years on this first book project of mine would still be delivering surprises, especially after the surprises it gave me at the start of its life. Its initial print run of 10,000 copies was snapped up by book retailers within the first two weeks, and by December 2003 it was on the UK bestseller lists. Within the space of three months the publishers had printed over 100,000 copies. Read the rest of this entry »
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August 31st, 2015
Of all the things you do, what do you think might be ‘dangerous?’ Driving? Cooking? How about D.I.Y? – risky stuff. But what put me out of action a few months ago was, possibly, the most dangerous of them all … writing. Read the rest of this entry »
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