Showing posts from April, 2024

What I Read for Love by Dianne Pearce

  In high school I remember that the boys seemed interested in girls, but that what seemed important to them was that there was a girl, there, for them, but not so much which particular one, or the permanence of it. The girls I knew were certainly different from that. What mattered to my female friends, and to me too, was yes, there must be a boy, but it must be a specific one, and never changing. What often happened was that girls did things they weren’t very interested in doing, like watching college football, or waited around doing nothing, just in case the guy wanted to hang out. In that time and place, and under those differing expectations, I think that the boys were generally happier than the girls. And wasn't it the same in our homes? We all had what you would reasonably describe as good fathers, but, to a man, they went off on most weekends to do their men things with other men. Sons, of a certain age, could sometimes go too, but the daughters and wives were left at home.

Margery Allingham and ... knitting? Casting on a summer’s mystery -- by Julia Jones

The Watchtower from the Saltings  (Photo Tom Barr)  How to connect a 1940s naval watchtower on the Tollesbury marshes, a brilliant Scottish knitwear designer and my all-time favourite novelist?   The investigation led me along the single-track lanes south-east from Tollesbury, heading towards the end of the old railway line to Tollesbury Pier. I began to get goosebumps as I remembered coming here before. Once on a long walk with my dog, when I was never quite sure where we were trespassing but was determined to explore anyway.  That was when I first saw the six-sided building, stark and guarded against the weather. Then I saw it again in my imagination: ‘It’s a t-tower,’ said David. Xanthe loved the way he said it with a shiver of excitement in his voice. ‘It’s in the m-middle of a f-field and it looks right down the r-river.’ ‘And when it was wartime the Navy built it so they could keep a lookout against invaders,’ added Kieran. ‘Then p-zow they’d press a button and the whole

Controversial Writing in Scotland by Neil McGowan

I’ve been following the news this month with interest. As a writer in Scotland, I’ve been watching the introduction of the new Hate Crime bill and the (predictable) results. If you’ve not seen the detail, basically, if you say or write something that someone perceives to be hateful, then they can report it (and you), with the maximum penalty being 7 years imprisonment. As you can imagine, writers across Scotland have been viewing this with some consternation. I myself write quite dark, gritty psychological crime, and as such, I’ve written characters that run the gamut of the seedier side of life – violent, racist misogynists tend to feature quite a lot in crime fiction. In fact, I’d argue that part of the purpose of crime fiction is to explore the more unsavoury elements of society, and see what makes them tick – is it nature, or nurture, or a combination of both? But writing characters like these doesn’t mean I agree with their views. I’ve written characters before

Self-publishing journey continues on! -- Joy Kluver

When I posted in February, I'd just sent my MS off to my editor. She came back to me in March with only six pages of notes (when I used her for my debut it was fifteen pages so I consider this progress)! Overall she was happy and we clarified a few issues over a phone call. I started to work on the corrections but as I was working through, I noticed a few odd mistakes that I thought I'd corrected. If you remember from last time, I got Word to read out my MS so I heard the changes I needed to make. Had I forgotten to change them? I then got to a bit where I knew I'd added more detail. It wasn't there. Then it dawned on me. I hadn't sent my final draft. In a hurry to get everything done before going away, I'd send an earlier revision. For a day, it was the end of the world. Complete meltdown. Next day, a friend told me about the Compare option on Word. I tried it but there were too many changes for me to look at. I did my best to remember which passages I'd ch

To Plot or Not (Cecilia Peartree)

The pros and cons of plotting crop up quite often in places where writers congregate, so I doubt if I can add much to the argument either way. However, I have modified my approach over the years and I don't think it will ever quite settle down so I thought I would run through some of the changes that have happened to my writing process, often without any conscious decision on my part. The previous sentence should give you a good idea of which side of the fence I favour! By the way, I see the fence not as the electrified kind designed to keep the T-rex in its place, but as rather a tumbledown one with some weak spots where you can easily push through should the mood take you. I have always written stories since I learnt to write, and I was happy to see that my grandson has now got to the point of writing little stories with big ideas behind them and completely outlandish illustrations. However the first time I set out to write as an adult, I did so much planning and research that th

Throw away lines - Sarah Nicholson

 As writers we get inspired by all manner of things, an unfair incident we just need to write about to get it off our chest, a funny often self-deprecating story that is worth retelling to make our friends laugh or maybe a character we meet by chance and we decide to make up their backstory. Then there are the throw away lines, words uttered in conversation that ignite a spark and start our minds whirring. I’ve had two such instances this month that inspired some poetry. The first was “third row back with chocolate” you can read about that on my own blog here. The second was a conversation with friends I’ve known since sixth form. We were reminiscing about people we knew and one person wondered “whatever happened to Nigel?” We don’t know. As far as I’m aware he’s not on Facebook so how can we find out? Hiring a private investigator seems a little excessive. We can only ponder and take a guess and write a poem. But I admit I still never came up with a proper answer! What

Reading for Healing

Reading for Healing   In January this year I met author, Bijal Shah, on Zoom to discuss  Bibliotherapy: the healing power of reading  which was soon to be published. For an hour we discussed her book and my interest in bibliotherapy, and she agreed to send a copy for me to review. As my AuthorsElectric readers know I have written a number of pieces on the subject in the past so here goes:    I had originally encountered Bijal through a course called "Book Therapy" that had appeared online in the midst of the pandemic lockdown of 2020 and which my wife, had bought for me as an Xmas present. Bijal’s course was linked to a thesis by Kelda Green who had investigated the link between Seneca, and Stoicism and modern psychological therapies. Kelda Green had connected these to the writings of a variety of classical authors, particularly George Eliot and Wordsworth. The work of both writers had been invaluable aids to me at various points in my life and, as I sat at my screen in the m