"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Farewell to Summer School

This is a short post to everyone who attended this year's Summer School - it was a blast.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Write a novel in three days? Of course you can. But can you edit it...

Doing anything the beginning of September? No? Then you might want to consider taking part it a 35 year old literary marathon that has produced 25 published novels in its time and a lot of tired writers. The competition is international and differs from NaNoWriMo

  • It's shorter - a month is so-o-o-o long
  • It costs to register
  • There are prizes
Early-bird registration (deadline: August 15) costs $50 which at today's exchange rates is nearly £32 and about 40 euro. That's quite a lot of money but if you do submit (there's no obligation) someone is actually going to read it. First prize is publication by the organisors, second prize is $500 and third prize is $100.

The Nitty Gritty 

The actual writing AND editing must begin no earlier than 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, September 1, and must stop by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 3. It's run on the honour system but they do ask you to give details of a witness who can verify that you've obeyed the rules.
There are no limits to the novel’s length, but they expect something in the region of 25,000 - 30,000 words. I may sound a bit picky but that's not really a novel - it's more like a very long short story. I'm not knocking it though - that's 30,000 words entrants might not have written otherwise - 30,000 words that could grow into something big and important. I approve of seat of the pants writing, where you're forced to convert all the ideas you've had floating in your head into ink and paper, forgetting the niceties of the semi colon and proper meal times.
I guess the organisers will get suspicious if you submit a proper novel length submission (that's usually reckoned to be between 80,000 and 100,000 words) accurately typed with evidence of immaculate copy editing. They say they can always tell if someone has cheated...and I bet they can, because I cannot understand why they don't let you edit afterwards. It just doesn't make sense (like some of the manuscripts submitted, I presume).

White Hot and Ice Cold

72 hours of burning fast writing sounds great - sounds like the kind of creative kickstart some of us need (hand goes up) - but editing is done with an ice cold pen, ripping out scenes, squelching witty asides and strangling endearing characters because they don't serve any useful purpose in the story. And you need distance to do that - at least a week (Aristotle recommended nine years) but definitely not during that white hot creating phase.
What do you think?
Anyone done something like this? Can you edit and write at the same time?

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Lion, the Witch and The Wardobe - book and film covers over the years

Did you fall in love with the Narnia books as a child?
A rare first edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is up for auction later this week. It is expected to make around £12,000 because it is signed with love from Jack Lewis - a name that the great man only used with his family and small circle of close friends. The owner was the son of a very good friend and he was given it Christmas 1950.
One thing's for sure and that is book covers have improved in the last 60 years. This one manages to make riding on the back of a lion look dull - turning Aslan into a rather large pet
I don't think the cartoon version is much better. Aslan just looks cross.
This Walt Disney DVD cover is an improvement - at least it's clear that this is not an out of Africa story.
While the modern paperback is frosty with venom, making it clear that it is tale about a world where it always winter and never Christmas.

I'm more envious of the other gift bestowed on the young Nicholas Hardie - something that can't be auctioned. The Silver Chair was dedicated to him as a child and I think it is my favourite Narnia books with the unforgettable Puddleglum as the star. It is probably nostalgia that makes me like this cover - there's not a marshwiggle in sight, or hungry giants, or a black knight. Apart from that it's just fine.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

TELL A LIE and win £1000

BOOK GUILD PUBLISHING, the Brighton based independent publisher, have teamed up with City Reads* to run a free short story competition.
The story must be on the theme of ‘THE LIE’ and not more than 3,000 words in length – but flash fiction fans please note that the organisers specifically say that there is no minimum length.Deadline: August 16 2012
More essential information from the Book Guild website. Find out all the the rules - and follow them to the letter. They matter. They are the difference between falling at the first hurdle without even being read and giving yourself and your writing a chance.
*City Reads is a fantastic Brighton festival held every autumn. Every year one book by one author is chosen for the whole community to read, discuss, debate and creatively engage with in a series of special events, workshops and performances. This year it is a novel set in Brighton for the first time ever - My Policeman by Bethan Roberts

Monday, 2 July 2012

Free advertising opportunities for writers and all things literary

I've written about WHAT THE DICKENS magazine before. It is an excellent on-line magazine -- going into print later in the year -- and I will soon be writing for it, so I hope you will come over and visit.
Meanwhile check out how you can use the free listings and resources section on the website and in the magazine to promote the things that are important to you.


If you are running a competition or want to promote an event or course What the Dickens bi-monthly magazine would be happy to put details on the blog and in the magazine. 

For the blog entry, just send a link and we will press straight from the page onto the blog. If no link is available then e-mail the details.
If you want to go in the magazine (starting in Issue 6) then please also send a brief piece of about 50 words including title, info, details and closing date.
We will happily consider re-tweeting your tweets about any of the above. Include us in using @writersgifts ensuring we will always see it.

Resources Section on WTD Website

Anything such as literary magazines, useful websites, retreats, courses, grants, organisations and so on please send a brief piece of about 50 words including title, info and details such as web address and we will add.

Please send to: victoria@wtd-magazine.com and put ‘LISTINGS’ in the header. Do make it clear in the e-mail which section you would like to go in. The magazine reserves the right to decline a submission.

Spread the word about WHAT THE DICKENS and they will spread it back for you.

DEADLINE for October and December
issues is September 15

Brilliant professional development opportunity for London writers

This almost – not quite – makes me wish I was back in London.
 London Literary organisation Spread the Word has teamed up with Phrased & Confused, and Dartington Festivals to offer a unique professional development opportunity for London writers. 
The six day programme kicks off with a London-based workshop on Wednesday 19 September 2012 (evening), followed by a 5-day residential at Dartington Hall in Devon from the evening of Tues 9 – Sun 14 October 2012 

During the residency writers will:
·      Take part in supportive workshops designed to increase confidence and skill in performing and presenting work.
·      Develop skills in vocal projection, movement and inhabiting texts and experiment with music and words, playing with site and audience expectations.
·      Write and present work at the Interrogate Festival on Sat 14th / Sun 15th October 2012

Writers will be asked to make a contribution of £200.  This will include travel to and from Dartington, accommodation and food for five nights and tuition costs and there is one fully funded bursary to a writer that is unable to make the £200 contribution because of financial hardship. 
For further details, selection criteria and information about how to apply email sue@spreadtheword.org.uk
Applications close on 6 August 2012.