I conclude with contributions from Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit colleagues, discover what two fine Scottish crime writers would save if push came to shove (that’s an apt expression given what they write!), and will finally answer the questions myself.
Any writer will say to write well, you must read well (and widely). Every writer I know is as happy to talk about the latest great book they’ve read as well as what they’re working on. Why would you write if you didn’t love books and stories in the first place? There are two sides to this coin.
Image Credit: A big thanks to my guests for supplying photos. Unless otherwise stated, the book and library pictures come, as always, from those magnificent people at Pixabay.
Following on from The Power of Language last week, I thought I would look at how it doesn’t take many words to have an impact on readers. This is something I think about a lot for my flash fiction writing. You get better over time at maximising impact while still minimising word count. It is literally a trick of the trade.
I calculate it takes three words, yes, that’s all, to conjure up unforgettable images for a reader.
There is no doubting the power of language. Used wisely, it can inspire people to wonderful endeavours they may not have previously considered. Used unwisely or, to my mind, stupidly, you can whip up hatred and intolerance and unleash their horrors.
The gift of oratory is a wonderful one but should never be misused. History sadly is full of examples where it was and the one thing you can guarantee is the innocent suffer for it.
I know we can all be fed up with petty rules which seem to serve no purpose other than to irritate us but there are rules which need to exist.
Well, is it? The simple answer is not on everything. It’s never a good idea to have favourite children, for example.
Do you feel sad as the summer ends? The answer to that will depend a lot, I think, on whether or not you have school age children about to go back to school after the summer break!
I was always annoyed as a kid and later as a parent, to see the Back to School signs appear in the shops just before the children had even broken up for the holidays. As a kid, I hated being reminded. As a parent, I hated being nagged. (Still do, in fact! That approach has never worked on me!).
Image Credit: Unless stated otherwise, all photos were taken by Allison Symes
I’ve recently returned from my annual trip to the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, which is based at The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. I had a fantastic time learning from the courses and workshops, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.
My Swanwick this year started at Derby Railway Station when meeting friends while waiting for the coach to take us to The Hayes. If you ever wondered can writers run out of things to say about writing, I’ll enlighten you now – the answer to that is no!
I was looking last week at the importance of making space. This week I’ll look at this topic specifically from a writing perspective and share a few tips I’ve found helpful.
Apologies but the title of this spoof is so long for the boxes CFT has for its posts, I thought it best to truncate it. Truncate or not to truncate, that is the question… (oh and apologies to Shakespeare too).
Image Credit: As ever a huge thank you to Lionel Elliott, Mike Morris, and all of The Chameleons for the pictures.
I discussed titles in last week’s post and the latest production from The Chameleon Theatre Company has one which is a humdinger! They Came From Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in time for the Townswomen’s Coffee Morning doesn’t trip off the tongue but is a classic example of a title showing clearly what the story is – a spoof!
Janet and I will have seen The Chameleon Theatre Group’s latest production, They Came from Mars and Landed Outside the Farndale Avenue Church Hall in Time for the Townswomen’s Guild’s Coffee Morning, by the time this post goes live. The play is written by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Junior and I look forward to sharing a review next week.
This production easily has the longest title of any play I’ve seen but it is a great illustration of one of the prime purposes of a title for any piece of writing. That is, it should give you some idea of what to expect! No doubts here – this title practically screams out “sci-fi spoof” at you! I love a good spoof so this ticks all the right boxes for me.
I’m a great believer in Murphy’s Law. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Why? Because humans have such a wonderful creative capacity and, simultaneously, an equally wonderful capacity to muck things up. (It’s just wonderful in a different direction, that’s all!).
Did you look forward to your end of term report or was it something you dreaded?
My reports came in a yellow book and were filled in year by year at secondary school level. I only got to keep it at the end of my final year. No surprises really that I did well in English and History, less so at Maths and PE (though ironically now with the swimming and walking the dog, I’m probably healthier now than I was then!).
It is just as well we can’t control the weather. For one thing, we’d never agree with what it should be. Even if we all agreed we needed some rain, we’d never agree on the timing, yet alone how much should be “allowed” to fall. It would always inconvenience someone no matter when we selected it! For others the amount selected would be too little or too much.
How would you define the moments that matter?
I’m pleased to share some of the most recent news from the Three Rivers Rail Community Partnership. Many thanks to Mark Miller for the images.
Three Rivers are now advertising the Bluestar South Downs Rambler service which runs on Sundays only from 7th July to 8th September 2019. The run takes you to Petersfield and back and takes you through some of Hampshire’s loveliest countryside.
It is also a great way to get out to the Winchester Discovery Centre (which if you haven’t tried out, you really must try to get along to. Even if you’re not particularly “into” science, there is much to be seen and enjoyed here. Kids/grandchildren love it – and more than a few adults do too, as you will gather from my comments!).
The images are from the main covers of the leaflets but if you would like to pick up the whole leaflets, these are available from the local railway stations. I’d also recommend visiting the Three Rivers website for further information.
The cost for the South Downs Rambler is reasonable at only £7.90 return to/from Petersfield and it is a hop-on, hop-off bus too so you can break your journey. I suspect quite a few might do so at any one of the pubs on the route..!
Another service on offer is the Test Valley Summer Bus which runs on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 5th May to 22nd September so there’s still plenty of time to give this one a go too!
This service will take you to the Romsey Abbey, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Mottisfont and eventually goes to Stockbridge where it connects with the Stagecoach 77 service. That in turn calls at Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort and the Middle Wallop Army Flying Museum before going on to the Weyhill Hawk Conservancy Trust and finishing up at Andover.
So if you’re looking for interesting days out without having to worry about car parking, you could check these options out and enjoy some of the lovely countryside Hampshire has to offer us all.
I had the great joy of being at the Winchester Writers’ Festival on Saturday 15th June and a lovely time was had by all. As ever, I learned a great deal from the courses I attended. I also loved chatting to friends, old and new, including Scottish crime writer, Val Penny, author of the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, who I interviewed for CFT a little while ago.
At the end of the main talks and courses on Saturday, there was a celebration of the life of the late Barbara Large, MBE in the beautiful chapel at the University of Winchester at 6 pm.
It was lovely hearing so many people share their memories of a lady who did so much to foster writing, encourage writers (especially nervous newbies including me), and who promoted writing/education/reading as much as was humanly possible. It was also nice to meet up briefly with Anne Wan and Mike and Brenda Sedgwick after the simple but stylish celebration.
[Read more…] about Writing Legacy
I make no apology for the pun! Reading aloud is encouraged in youngsters to help them develop their vocabulary and rightly so but, unless you are a performance poet or oral storyteller, this habit is forgotten in adulthood. I think this is a shame. I find it is a real treat to be read to and it makes a lovely connection to the old oral storytelling tradition too.