Showing posts from March, 2022

Writing is pointless: N M Browne

 Sometimes writing fiction feels pointless. Sometimes what is going on in real life eclipses fiction, so that making things up can feel like the most cowardly kind of escapism, a failure to engage with reality.  In Covid lockdown, writing poetry about the pandemic made sense because, Downing St apart, we were all in it together.  Not all of us suffered, but we all feared suffering and for a time, when it seemed that the virus was as likely to affect all of us equally, that seemed to legitimise writing about it. It was everyone's story even for those of us not on the front line or in hospital. I felt entitled, obliged even to write about it.     The war in Ukraine feels different. I don't know where the line lies between imaginative empathy and exploitation.  This is not my suffering and dipping my metaphorical pen in someone else's blood feels inappropriate. Let those who are living it, write it, record it, rework it into art or poetry or propaganda as they see fit. Who els

The Ex-Prime Minister - Chapter One by Andrew Crofts

  Chapter One   “My God, what is that stink?” Puppy merely nodded in the direction of the figure slumped in his favourite armchair, allowing a reverberation from deep in the feather cushions to answer for him. “Oh,” Ding said, “him. It smells like he’s rotting from the inside.” “Was it not always thus?” Puppy asked, forcing open the nearest sash window, allowing the traffic sounds from the Square into the stuffy room. “Has he been drinking?” Ding gestured to the half full glass precariously gripped in Teddy’s huge fist. “Wouldn’t you? It’s been a hell of a few days.” Ding sank into a tall sofa, the sides of which were held up with what looked like the dressing gown cords of giants, and Puppy gave their slumbering friend a vicious kick on the shins. “Wake up Teddy! Ding’s here.” “Yarooooh”, the newly defenestrated prime minister protested as he was jerked back to consciousness, rubbing his ankle ruefully, and slopping the remains of the scotch onto the faded upholste

Household Tales by Susan Price

        Telling Tales          The Story Collector           Head and Tales             Crack a Story  Over the years, I've put together several collections of folk tales. For one thing, I love folk tales. And myth and legend. And folk ballads. I think learning folk ballads off by heart and trying to rewrite them, taught me more about constructing a story than anything else. But a second, important reason for the folk-tale retellings was income. In the far-off olden days before self-publishing, it used to be said that a writer had to publish at least a book a year in order to make anything like a living. The folk story anthologies allowed me to do this because they were quick to write, the plot of the story being a given. I never simply regurgitated a story cadged from someone else's book. From the age of about ten, I'd read widely in myths, legends and folk tales and had put together, and treasured, quite a library of them, both well-known and obscure. A lot of stories I

The same but different by Joy Margetts

  I am still relatively new to the whole book marketing thing. I’m doing my best with varied results. I’m taking advice and trying to respond to it. This has included trying to build an email subscriber list, writing a personal blog, guest blogging, and of course being a ‘presence’ on Social Media. I have even given TikTok a try - jury is out for me so far, as to how useful it will be in actually generating interest in my books, but it is early days. One thing I have heard over and over is ‘What is your unique selling point?’ Or, what does my writing offer that people are actually looking for? And that if I ‘find my audience’ then the sales will come. My problem has been that my books fall into a very unique genre and I’ve found it very hard to find an audience for them. They are fiction but explicitly Christian. They are historical fiction but are neither romance nor murder mystery, nor are they adventure stories. There is little to no blood and gore, and definitely no explicit sex.

Facts in Fiction -- MARI HOWARD

  Sociology in story form, Victorian style... I’ve become a regular Archers fan. I’ve always known The Archers were there, and sometimes listened to the episodes. What made me a regular fan was when, four years ago, I spent 6 weeks in hospital: I’d been lent a tiny device, with earphones, and one 15-minute broadcast of The Archers caught me up out of that grim and peculiar place, where everyone was either ill or caring for the suffering, and there was no escape from the long dreary days and the impossible, noisy nights, into ‘real life’. The Archers back then led a bit more of a charmed life than they do now, and their antics, indoors, outdoors, in and out of relationships, pottering along with family and village crises which always seemed to resolve (bar Helen’s abusive relationship) lifted me right out of all that for 15 minutes twice a day. Then I kind stuck with them: since when The Archers have continued to move further into a greater ‘real life’ and are battling cars more in

Call of the Wild - Katherine Roberts

Maybe it's a post-pandemic desire for escape from my own four walls, but I find myself increasingly drawn to TV series such as Kate Humble's Escape to the Farm,  and Ben Fogle's  New Lives in the Wild.  These series build on the formula of old favourites like Escape to the Country , where home buyers (with normally healthy budgets) seek an idyllic country pile as an antidote to urban living. But they go a step further, in that they feature a whole lifestyle change that ties in with a desire to protect the planet and its wildlife, and the people featured are not always those you would expect. I was particularly fascinated by a recent New Lives in the Wild episode, where presenter Ben Fogle stays with Lynx, who once lived alone with only Stone Age technology, and is currently setting up a community project to "rewild" humans called Lithica. The aim of this project seems to be to secure large areas with natural resources where p

An apology for a blog by Sandra Horn

 This is dire. My pc is crashing every few minutes and trying to reboot, which doesn’t work. It will be on its way to Magic Kevin the Mender Man as soon as I finish this. It’s taking forever just to get this far! Rather than failing to blog at all, at short notice, I’m just going to copy in a couple of poems about peace in between the gaps I can’t remember if I’ve put them up before, but if I have, I’m sorry. Desperate measures. Peace seems like an appropriate topic at present.   The day peace came Some claimed it was foreseen, foretold In Tarot cards, in holy writ, in portents – The blossoming of a sacred tree, A halo round the moon, A rainbow in a cloudless sky. Who knows? It came so suddenly, in silence; The silence of no guns, no bombs, No shouts, no screaming. No-one slapped a child, Wielded a jack-knife, swore, Strangled, kicked, mugged, raped. But what were we to do? What now? We wept, at first. We wept, and could not meet each others’ eyes. How

Coming Up with Ideas by Allison Symes

  Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. How easy do you find coming up with ideas? I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I write flash fiction and blog for online magazines, so I always need a stock of ideas.    As well as writing on topics of interest to me (and I hope other writers), I use random generators to trigger ideas. These work especially well for fiction but I have used things like a random question generator to give me a blog theme.   I also use prompt books and have contributed to a couple. I like the challenge of rising to a theme set by someone else and bringing my take to it. With the random generators, I can do this via variety of means.  I have used the following:- Random word/object generators. Random noun/adjective/verb generators. Random name generators (a recent story of mine was accepted for an online magazine and the idea for it came from the generated name). Random question generators. (Great for use as a theme). Random number gene