Posts

Why I Love the Short Fictional Forms by Allison Symes

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Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. I write short stories (1500 to 2000 words usually) and flash fiction. Flash has taught me never to fear  editing. When you’re working to a tight word count (1000 words maximum for flash), you don’t fear cutting adjectives, wasted words such as that, very, and actually, or of thinking of better ways of wording things. I like the impact of short fiction. You get the undiluted “punch in the gut” effect quickly (and even more so with flash fiction). Inventing characters is my favourite aspect of storytelling so writing the short form means I must do that all the time. Win-win there, then. I like being able to write a story, edit it, get it out there, move on to the next story, and just keep that going. Writing the short form has challenged me to write and submit work regularly. It has also got me into the habit of writing to deadlines and it is encouraging to see there are plenty of short form competitions.   I love reading

Memories of Ukraine – by Elizabeth Kay

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   Lviv Railway Station, an exit to safety for thousands As I am having an operation on my wrist I am writing this post some time in advance, because I won’t be able to type for a while. I thought I would devote it to my memories of Ukraine, as I attended a poetry event at the Ivan Franko University in 2006, and a children’s writing conference in Lviv in 2007.   My father was born not far from Lviv in 1900, and considered Lviv (Lwow as it then was) to be Polish. Ukraine, like Poland, has changed hands many times in the past. However, when it comes to Russia the two countries are 100% united, and recently Poland has been helping Ukraine as much as it can. I was brought up to regard Russia with grave suspicion. I remember at infant school (I must have been six) going up to the teachers for some spellings when we were all writing about what we did at the weekend. The boy in front of me wanted to know how to spell banana. I needed to know how to spell Khrushchev and Bulganin. When my fat

On Research and Writing by Wendy H. Jones

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  How can you resist a writing blog that starts with a view like this? In case you're wondering, that is the Caribbean Sea, and that's me writing. Before you think I spent two weeks drinking cocktails whilst channeling my inner Hemingway, that wasn't quite the case. Let me backtrack. I was fortunate to receive a research grant from the Society of Authors in order to got to Antigua and research Nineteenth Century Naval History and Antigua in the Nineteenth Century. Therefore, I was actually out there doing research. Yes, I really was and what an amazing time it was. So, how does one go about doing research in another country? The perfect starting point is by realising that it's not going to flow as smoothly as it does in the UK. You really are on Caribbean time. Now, don't get me wrong, everyone is lovely and really keen to help and support, it just takes a little longer than when it does in the UK. The people in the archives were amazing, bringing out a microfiche a

What details? ~ by Maressa Mortimer

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We arrived in the Netherlands early Saturday morning, after an absence of nearly two years. My kids were thrilled, so was I, although dropping the puppy off back with her mother was rather hard... We found one of our favourite places for breakfast, and we all had our favourite drinks. It’s all about favourites when we get to the Netherlands. My kids discuss these at length before we’ve even packed the first few socks and shirts. It starts with what to have on the boat, before disembarkation. Mummy will have coffee, of course, and they will have a strawberry milkshake. After our wonderful breakfast, we went to the holiday place we own, dropped off a few things, then straight to the supermarket. That is where things started to get interesting. We hadn’t had Dutch food for two years, but none of it had been forgotten. So as soon as we walked in, all six of us spotted things we loved. We went around the supermarket, my four kids getting more and more excited as well as more dysregula

Be True to Your Inner Imposter --- Reb MacRath

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  The world never tires of telling us that we're not Real Writers now and we never will be.  In the beginning, we all were Too Young...when we dreamed of writing books like the GOATs we loved. Then, when we'd written scores of stories or poems and had finally chiseled our own voice and style, the rejections began coming in. We encountered a chorus of form rejections convincing us we weren't Real Writers. And the charge was echoed by everyone we met: if unpublished, we couldn't be Real. In time, against all odds, we actually sold a book to a traditional publisher or to a small press. Either way, the initial rush and sense of validation crashed: the book had a limited press run, appeared on no bookstore shelves, gathered almost no reviews, and sold seven copies. The next book did not better, leading our publisher and agent to conclude they'd been wrong: we weren't Real after all. We were dumped. But even if our books enjoyed limited genre success, strangers lost i

And It’s High Low On-Trend Styling by Ruth Leigh

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I do love a bit of wordplay and those readers old enough to remember Jeff Beck’s 1967 chart-topper will appreciate the punning framework of my title today. Research is a huge part of my writing career but it falls into two distinct camps. Every time I get a new client, I have to become an expert on their subject. Ask me anything about Farrow and Ball paint, flowers, high-end property in East Anglia or unreached people groups. Go on. Ask me. My brain is fizzing with weird, unrelated facts, all of which are deployed for my writing at some point or another. I’m currently researching a tribe in Yemen, a country about which I knew nothing a week or two ago. There is never a dull moment.   Since I started writing fiction in the summer of 2020, resulting in two books and a third on the way, I’ve had to do a different kind of research. My heroine, insanely successful lifestyle blogger and Instamum Isabella M Smugge has her perfectly manicured fingertips in every modish pie going and as one

WRITING PROMPTS -- by Amanda Bedzrah

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  A few years ago, I joined a writing group on Facebook run by a famous author. I often wonder if he personally runs the group or if it is a team behind him. Regardless of the group mechanics, there are days I find myself intrigued by this group. I must admit, I am not always as active as I should be, at least not active enough to have earned a star as a top contributor. But I find it interesting on the days I do join. It occurred to me a while ago that there is much to be gained from passing interest. Even in the things that seem mundane, things you don’t think you pay attention to, but you do. For example, one of the regular occurrences in this group is a random picture that can be anything anything from children to space and we are asked to write a story about the picture in SEVEN WORDS.  As someone who is yet to perfect the fine art of blogging, as someone who even struggles to articulate anything meaningful in 500 words or less, please know that I quickly skip past the post to t