Does it seem like an odd thing to do for a writer to regularly analyze stories? Does it take the joy out of reading? I suspect many an English Literature student, at whatever level, may well say yes to that, but I feel that would be a shame. It certainly isn’t the point of analysis.
Over the years, you pick up many useful writing tips and then you need to work out which are the most useful to you. Following on from an earlier CFT post of mine about writing tips, I thought I’d take a look in greater depth at why I use the tips that I do.
In general, I don’t look at those tips for playwrights, given that’s not my specialism, but one that is aimed at them (read your work out loud) is good advice regardless of what type of fiction you write. It also works well for non-fiction given it can help you pick up on whether your prose flows as well as you thought. So how do you deduce which writing tips are the most useful? [Read more…] about Tried and Tested Writing Tips
On 1st December, it was my great joy to travel to London once again to meet up with fellow Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books authors at the annual celebration event. On the way up by train, I enjoyed my usual routine of writing stories on my phone app and getting quite a bit of work done by the time I got into Waterloo. [Read more…] about Celebrations, Crackers, Chapeltown, and Cafelit – London 2018
There are many ways to raise money for charity and often people will do something extraordinary like bungee jumping or having a parachute jump etc (though it is not a good idea to try the pair of these at the same time!). All kudos to those who are brave enough to have a go but this kind of thing is definitely not for me.
The idea of writing a book for charity is much more up my street and this is what Barbara Large, MBE, has done recently. Barbara was the founder of the Winchester Writers’ Festival (formerly the Winchester Writing Conference), which is one of the major writing conferences in the country. Barbara has also run creative writing classes, including at the Dovetail Centre. [Read more…] about Scrumptious Cooking, Charity, and Barbara Large
In this final section of my mini-series, Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones, and Richard Hardie continue to share their thoughts on different aspects of writing the series novel. Tonight we look at how to ensure each novel can be read as a stand-alone book, specific things my guests love and loathe about writing series, and whether they know, ahead of time, how many books are going to be in their respective series. [Read more…] about The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels Part 3
Following on from last week’s post about the best and worst decisions made regarding writing, I thought I’d share here some of the most useful writing tips I’ve picked up on my writing journey to date. The great thing about making mistakes is, if sensible, you learn from them. It is true of life in general you learn what to do by getting it wrong first!
[Read more…] about Writing Tips
Don’t worry – this really is a blog post and not something to go into the CFT Events page (though I am sure if Janet could give us advance warning of Judgement Day, she would!).
It is a truth, generally NOT universally acknowledged, that all writers have to submit to some sort of judgement if they wish to be published. (Apologies to the Jane Austen Society though the good lady herself would accept my point I’m sure.) [Read more…] about Judgement Day
This is my look back at the recent Hursley Park Book Fair. Many thanks to Glenn Salter (aka author Simon Fairfax) for organising the Fair. So much hard work (and generally unseen at that) goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. For an inaugural event, I thought the Fair worked well but more on that shortly… [Read more…] about A Look Back at the Hursley Park Book Fair
Following on from last week’s opener to this two-part series on blogging, I continue to share thoughts on the topic from some of my fellow writers. [Read more…] about Why I Blog – Part 2
It’s funny how certain types of writing remain popular, even though the format in which they are presented may change over time. Keeping a diary was something I did when younger. These days I blog! Most of us who kept diaries had no thought of publication (just as well too, you would have had to have been incredibly lucky here). [Read more…] about Why I Blog
1. The methods by which people write. (The biro is one of the world’s great inventions, as was the fountain pen before it. I would not want to use a quill to write, though you have got to hand it to Shakespeare for his sheer creativity especially given the equipment he had. What would he have made of the typewriter, the word processor etc? His friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, would have had a far easier time of it compiling the First Folio though and what wouldn’t they have given to be able to access the photocopier!).
2. What people used to write on – everything from cave walls to A4 paper to post-it notes.
3. The methods of publishing writing. We owe a huge debt to Guttenberg and Caxton. What would they make of online writing, where actual printing out is not always necessary, and where texts can be sent by email or scanned and stored?
4. For centuries only the privileged could read and write and then have access to books. I am so glad, in general terms, this is no longer true, though I would love to see a world where good literacy rates and access to books was a “given” everywhere. Sadly, this is still not the case and progress needs to be made on education, especially for girls and women, in particular areas. But that can and should be worked on. Compared with how we were a century ago, has progress been made? Yes – in our part of the world at least but I would like this to spur efforts on to make it true for everywhere.
5. The kinds of writing there are in terms of what is produced – everything from flash fiction to massive fantastical sagas to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary.
Networking is vital for all writers. You make connections, those may lead to taking part in events like book fairs, but, most importantly, you make friends. There is nobody like another writer who will understand the drive to write and its frustrations. [Read more…] about Networking Tips – Allison Symes (with Mandy Huggins)
I am pleased to share news that local author, Richard Hardie, of the Temporal Detective Agency Young Adult fantasy series, will be at Winchester Discovery Centre on 3rd April 2018. He will be running two free interactive story sessions. More details below. [Read more…] about Local Author News – Richard Hardie at the Winchester Discovery Centre
Part 1 of Gail Aldwin’s interview last week shared Gail’s memories from her round the world bus trip and how it influenced her Paisley Shirt flash fiction collection (published by Chapeltown Books). Here she shares her writing tips, the joys of creating characters and her thoughts on ebooks and “real” books. Comments on the latter would be welcome! [Read more…] about Writing Tips and Character Creation: Interview with Gail Aldwin Part 2
Further to last week where I discussed the frustrations of publishing, it is my pleasure to share my interview with another writer taking the independent press route. Please “meet” fellow Chapeltown Books author, Gail Aldwin. Also many thanks to her for supplying the images for this interview. [Read more…] about Travelling by Bus around the World and Inspirational Flash Fiction – Introducing Gail Aldwin
Sayings are strange things at times. Okay, the one about not casting a clout before May is out does make sense. We live in Britain. The weather is changeable!
However, there are others that are open to question and some relate to writing.
Following on from Part 1 of my interview with the lovely Val Penny last week, here comes Part 2! I first met Val at the Swanwick Summer Writers’ School in 2016. I’m delighted to say since then Val has come south and discovered the joys of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, but more on that a little later. [Read more…] about Val Penny – Her Writing Journey Part 2 – Allison Symes
Val saw one lost looking author (me!) wondering which way to turn out of Derby Railway Station to find the coach to go to Swanwick and promptly took me under her wing! [Read more…] about Hunting Out a Career in Crime Fiction – Allison Symes interviews Val Penny
It doesn’t matter what your “artistic bent” is but creativity is good for physical and mental health. There is, of course, the joy of creating something that has not existed before (whether it is a story, a new garden plot, a piece of music, a cake or a painting or what have you), and there is the enjoyment of getting to that finishing point.
Better still is the joy of going on to create another piece of work and going through the whole process again. Then comes the satisfaction of watching your work improve as you gain more experience. [Read more…] about Creativity is Good for You
Fiction is a strange beast. Fiction writers make up new worlds (see science fiction and fantasy) or write alternative histories to those produced by our own. (Many a thriller, including Robert Harris’s Fatherland is based on the “what if we’d lost WW2?” theme).
We make up characters and those of us who write fantasy, as I do, bring in magical elements but what do all of these things have in common? There is at least a grain of truth behind each and every one of them. Readers pick up on that. [Read more…] about Facts and Fiction