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Set in Hull, the UK City of Culture – a publish...

content discovered on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in syrup trapcity studying long range forecasts please

Syrup TrapCity, due out in August 2017, is set in the UK in the northern port of Hull. It opens as Hull’s City of Culture year dawns. But in order for it to be published in that same City of Culture year I had to write it in advance. In the summer of 2016 I was writing about the winter that was yet to come, studying long-range forecasts.  (Please, no snow. Why not? Think Poirot and mobile

Advice for writers #12: hidden gems or crazy co...

content discovered on Sunday, February 5, 2017 in

On stage next in THIS SERIES of quotes is number #12. “Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. I have 10 or so and that’s a lot. As you get older you get more skilful at casting them” (Gore Vidal) This is an interesting one that has different angles. Those imaginary friends that children have; the sort that John Windham takes to a new level

Advice for writers #11: hidden gems or crazy co...

content discovered on Sunday, January 29, 2017 in of emotion of

Next in THIS SERIES of quotes is number #11. “I can shake off everything as I write. My sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” (Anne Frank) Nothing to argue with here. It isn’t a quote given as advice to others, it is Anne Frank talking about herself. Considering the conditions under which she wrote most of her work, it is incredible that she packed in so much of life, of emotion, of

Advice for writers #10: hidden gems or crazy co...

content discovered on Sunday, January 22, 2017 in

Next in THIS SERIES of quotes is number 10. “You don’t write because you want to say something. Your write because you have something to say” (F Scott Fitzgerald) If it’s true that you write because you have something to say, does it follow that if you have something to say, then you write? No of course not. If you have something to say, then often you ... well ... you simply say it. Though

Advice for writers #7 #8 #9: hidden gems or cra...

content discovered on Sunday, January 8, 2017 in

Next in THIS SERIES of quotes are numbers 7,  8 and 9. Quote 7 provides some sound practical advice from one of the greats of crime fiction. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learnt in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative” (Elmore Leonard) Exactly right. It’s all too easy to go

Advice for writers #6 #7: hidden gems or crazy ...

content discovered on Sunday, January 1, 2017 in

As inspiration for the New Year, quotes six and seven IN THIS SERIES get the treatment. Quote number 6 is: “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect” (Anais Nin) There are many ways of putting this one and you’ll find variations on the theme from other writers, some of which I intend to unpack later, but this one just kind of chimed with me. In a nutshell is it the

Advice for writers #5: hidden gems or crazy cou...

content discovered on Sunday, December 25, 2016 in in writing

Happy Christmas and the next in line in this series is: “If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable” (Joss Whedon) This is a variation on William Faulkner’s, ‘In writing, you must kill your darlings.’

Advice for writers #3 #4: hidden gems or crazy ...

content discovered on Sunday, December 18, 2016 in

Continuing the advice for writers theme, here are two quotes that I believe come from the writers’ own experience more than any desire to generate clever soundbites.  No one can challenge the success of either Harper Lee or JK Rowling, but is their advice generally applicable and useful beyond their own writing lives? “Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e. do not cave in

Advice for writers #1 #2: hidden gems or crazy ...

content discovered on Sunday, December 11, 2016 in

For the first in this series of looking at quotes from others I’ve picked two to unpack. “It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly” and “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written” “It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly” (C J Cherryh) Well, OK in a literal sense but what a waste of

Advice for writers: hidden gems or crazy counsel

content discovered on Sunday, December 4, 2016 in

A variety of people are asked to give advice on writing. Many are successful writers themselves, so we should listen to what they say in the almost certain knowledge that they’re right. Right? Wrong! Don’t ever fall into the trap of assuming someone is going to be right. Especially not if you’re a writer. As a writer research and checking should be embedded in your psyche. Many

To plan or not to plan

content discovered on Thursday, May 5, 2016 in tips

[This short article first appeared as part of the online launch of The Writers' Toolkit which remains available on Facebook and contains articles, tips, mini-tutorials and editorial comments on work that authors submitted for critique prior to the launch] To plan or not to plan There’s no rule. Some writers plan in such detail they have an almost book-length plan before they start to write.

When is a manuscript ready to send out?

content discovered on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in tips

[This short article first appeared as part of the online launch of The Writers' Toolkit which remains available on Facebook and contains articles, tips, mini-tutorials and editorial comments on work that authors submitted for critique prior to the launch The Danuta referred to below is Danuta Reah, co-author of The Writers' Toolkit. Dyane is one of the authors who submitted work to the event]

Milking the action and emotion

content discovered on Thursday, April 21, 2016 in tips

[This short article first appeared as part of the online launch of The Writers' Toolkit which remains available on Facebook and contains articles, tips, mini-tutorials and editorial comments on work that authors submitted for critique prior to the launch] Milking the action and emotion: never summarise the dramatic moments Dramatic moments can make your book stick in a reader’s mind. It’s

The balance between intrigue and irritation

content discovered on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in tips without giving the

[This short article first appeared as part of the online launch of The Writers' Toolkit which remains available on Facebook and contains articles, tips, mini-tutorials and editorial comments on work that authors submitted for critique prior to the launch] The balance between intrigue and irritation The trick of giving the readers enough information to intrigue them, without giving the

Synthesis: an outstanding collection

content discovered on Sunday, March 27, 2016 in drama serious themes surrealist plots

Synthesis by M.A.E. My rating: 5 of 5 stars An outstanding collection of stories spanning the range from hard Sci-Fi to the edge of fantasy. With a Foreword by Robert Llewellyn, this collection is a melting pot of tension, drama, serious themes, surrealist plots, humour and a variety of settings from terrestrial to alien, past to future. Some stories span eons, some take the reader through an

Leaping through time

content discovered on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in

It’s July three years ago. Right now. On Wednesday 2nd March 2016 it is July 2013. Or it would be if we didn't have leap years. And this is what the July weather looks like: Are we all three years younger or three years older, or are we pretty much the same except that our units of time measurement are subtly different? Maybe the fact that our year-unit has failed to keep proper time with

Glimmer - review

content discovered on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in

Glimmer by Nicola McDonagh My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m pleased to find myself reviewing another short story collection. Not long ago, the short story was a dying breed and it is so good to see quality short fiction hitting the shelves. Glimmer is a short collection of just seven stories, each one a gem. The first story is itself called Glimmer which is a shrewd title for a powerful narrative

Shadeward: Emanation - review

content discovered on Saturday, January 9, 2016 in but

Emanation by Drew Wagar My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve seen Shadeward: Emanation compared to Anne McCaffrey as in ‘a must for McCaffrey fans’ and I don’t disagree, but in fact this book has more to it. This is science fiction with real depth in all its strands. There are several distinct stories and each has a compelling central character. Wagar has built a world based on credible science, but

A must for Betty Macdonald fans

content discovered on Friday, September 4, 2015 in much laughter i imagine

Much Laughter, a Few Tears: Memoirs of a Woman's Friendship With Betty Macdonald and Her Family by Blanche Caffiere My rating: 5 of 5 stars Against expectation, I loved this book. I didn’t think I would before I started it. Indeed I was a couple of chapters in before I realised quite how good it was going to be. Like many Betty Macdonald fans, I imagine, what I wanted from this book was some

The triple review - sometimes that's how it hap...

content discovered on Thursday, August 27, 2015 in

This is a triple book review. The three books are linked by the fact that I read them all together over this last week. There could be other links, but that's the one that counts in this case. Firstly, why am I reading three books at a time? All avid readers will have had this happen - that multiple books on the go scenario. I'd wanted an easy reread for bedtime and picked a crime novel that was

Philae, Shelley and politics from the dark ages

content discovered on Sunday, June 14, 2015 in

(originally a Facebook post but I thought it was worthy of being a blog) What’s with all this 'discovering' of long forgotten anniversaries and the bizarre pronouncements that go with each? Magna Carta for instance and the BBC’s statement that it marked the beginning of the 'Rule of Law' (whatever that means). And how about the Battle of Waterloo (1815)? I’ll bet the 100th

Buried not so Deep

content discovered on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in

Buried Deep (crime: set in York and Hull) was the subject of a scary last-minute plot disaster. It was close to finished when a terrible thing happened. A major plot line dived into an irretrievable dead end. There could be no way out. What was the protagonist to do? How would this book ever end? Then just before I'd torn out all my hair, it dawned. I'd fallen for one of my own red-herrings. It

Four of the best for crime fiction fans

content discovered on Monday, April 6, 2015 in groups and classic

A crop of useful web resources for those who like crime fiction: European Crime Writers  This is a useful website that categorises authors into contemporary, groups and classic, giving a one-line intro and a website link. The site is curated by Karen and runs competitions with books as prizes.  Crime Fiction Lover  A good site for news, reviews and events which bills itself as

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fusion – a peek behind the s...

content discovered on Sunday, March 15, 2015 in fantastic books publishing justimagine

fantastic books publishing

What is it with Show and Tell?

content discovered on Saturday, March 14, 2015 in fantastic books publishing penny grubb writers toolkit

fantastic books publishing

Review: Edge of Arcadia

content discovered on Saturday, March 7, 2015 in

An update on the bizarre VAT regulations that a...

content discovered on Thursday, December 11, 2014 in

Government minister advocates law breaking but ...

content discovered on Monday, December 8, 2014 in

Public and private investigations clash - event...

content discovered on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in

Elite: Dangerous And Here the Wheel by John Harper

content discovered on Saturday, August 30, 2014 in

Elite:Dangerous Tales from the Frontier by 15 a...

content discovered on Thursday, August 28, 2014 in

Elite: Lave Revolution by Allen Stroud

content discovered on Thursday, August 21, 2014 in


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