Writers Resources

Politicians… putting the “n” in cuts


Perhaps it’s a consequence of having a cynical mind, but don’t you find politicians these days are just so condescending?

They were always condescending I suppose, it’s just that they used to be so much better at putting us in our place… “plus ca change” and all that…

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The Write Writing & Social Media Explained


I haven’t posted in a while, but all of you should know that there is a genuine reason for this and not just a lackadaisical attitude to my blog. You should also know that I don’t take you, my readers and followers for granted and so don’t want to post things willy nilly (I love that phrase!) nor do I want to waste people’s time with unimportant things about this or that and how life is generally progressing, did I like my morning cup of tea, is there any milk in the fridge, you know what I mean. I use this blog as a platform for freeing thoughts, important ones and very, very seldom do I promote anything (if ever).

Amazing what we can achieve with the Internet!

Amazing what we can achieve with the Internet!

Everyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am against shameless self-promotion – the type that involves mass social media use, taking selfies (would it be appropriate to hashtag selfies here?) and tweeting, blogging or instagramming them all over the place for all and sundry to see. However, I am going to break from this habit, just this once, and am going to ask all of you for a favour – if you would humour me.

Many of you already know that I have been making a website (and if you didn’t, then you do know now and I apologise for not telling you earlier but do refer you back to the self-promotion bit above). It’s taken a while, but I have finally completed it – and yes, I made it all myself, pics, links, logo and all (which is quite an effort as I am new to the world of website design, imagine me saying “oooh, what does this button do” and you will get the idea).

So please do go and take a look at www.thewritewriting.com and “like” it on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewritewriting, if you get a chance and are feeling especially charitable or are just bored and have nothing else to do than to click away your life. And if you are really feeling generous, then we have a blog too… www.thewritewriting.com/tww-blog which you might like to take a look at.

And, if by chance, you need some of our excellent services, then please feel free to email me for a quotation and I will happily offer my services to all and sundry.

Lastly, if you have read thus far, my thanks again and I will, in future, try and keep my social media marketing to a minimum – thank you again!

The Lightship First Novel Prize 2014 – don’t enter because you can’t!


I am fuming. Fuming is probably putting it mildly. I am as red in the face, with steam coming out of my ears fuming, as fuming can be.

Lightship Hilary Mantel

For the past two months, I have been polishing my entry for a prize, the Lightship First Novel Prize 2014. A prize aimed at novelists who have not published any work whatsoever and aims to give new novelists a chance to have their work read by experts and the chance of seeing your words on the printed page with a proper cover and an agent to boot. Lightship is a small independent publisher in the UK. They run these prizes and have managed to convince some literary heavyweights including: Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate and Chairman of the Man Booker Prize 2010, Christopher Reid, Winner of the 2009 Costa Book Of the Year Award, Lindsay Clarke, Winner of the Whitbread Prize, 1989, Hilary Mantel, Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 and Cynthia Ozick, finalist in the US National Book Award 1987, to be their patrons. Great list, I am honoured to be entering a prize that has patrons like that and the chance of that all elusive, dream book deal. I probably won’t get past the first round though but I have my dreams like everybody else.

Now why am I so angry you ask?

Well, I have worked day and night to get this far and today is the final date for submission of my novel’s first 10,000 words. My synopsis of 300 words is ready; my entry, the first 10,000 words of my novel, has been edited, proofread, re-edited, formatted and is also ready to submit; My account with Lightship created and personal details entered; My card for payment of the entry fees is ready: all good to go as far as I am concerned.

Here’s the catch (look closely at the picture):

Lightship CLOSED CROPPED

The bloody competition is CLOSED! Now, my first reaction would be to blame myself. In fact, I am sure everybody’s reaction would be “Oh, you blithering idiot!”

Wait. Look at the picture below, the rules of the competition, and if you look at number 6 more closely, it clearly states that “The First Novel Prize will close at midnight on 31st January 2014. Any novels submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.”

LIGHTSHIP RULES CROPPED

Now who’s the idiot? Me? I mean maybe my English is not what it used to be, but it would be safe to assume that “midnight on 31st January 2014” is going to be tonight – right? I mean even if we factor in GMT, there are still several hours to go. And the competition is closed? How, Why and WTF? Or is my English failing me and doubt creeping in: maybe it meant midnight on 30 January being midnight on 31 January? Come on, who am I kidding?

Should I write to them (I already have), should I go to Hull and bang on their door – I mean I like Hull, but… well you know where I am going with that idea. That, in a nutshell, is why I am angry. Angry at two-bob competitions that make you work towards a goal, only to have dreams shattered by not even being able to enter! A scam – that’s what I call it. I mean, I haven’t lost money, no. But I have lost an opportunity that I worked hard for and I feel bad because editors, proofreaders and friends all gave their time to read my “entry” and critique it and now it is not even an “entry” because it can’t be entered into the competition.

And why? Because of the sheer incompetence of someone at Lightship who either:

a) cannot write English themselves (the date issue), or

b) cannot run a simple website (no link to submit your work as well as clearly stating that the competition is closed before the actual closing time).

So Lightship – I find you incompetent and I hope one of your patrons comes across this post (okay, so I do like to dream – sue me) and gives you hell for using their names to promote yourselves by running a competition whose rules are flaunted by you!

And for those of you wondering what the novel is called… I will reveal all in my next post so hang in there and thank you for reading my rant!

Creation is a drug and I am high on it


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We revisit another morning in the life of One Writer and his Blog.

As is commonplace in their household, they are bickering about writing another post to keep Blog alive and fulfil his role in Writer’s existence. However, roles such as they are, seem to have reversed. Whereas Writer should be doing the writing, Blog has now taken on the demi-god role of the Muse and Writer is but the parched poet who, despite life around him, cannot find a drop of inspiration anywhere. Facing a dry spell of Saharan proportions, he is forced to look to Blog, his alter-ego, for inspiration. Blog, an erudite and whimsical creation is a tough nut to crack.

Or so it seems.

Blog: It’s a hot day isn’t it? Shouldn’t we go out and have a beer or something – my mouth is parched and my eyeballs feel like prunes.

Writer: Sounds like a good plan… though I can’t decide where…

Blog: Here we go again, decisions, decisions, decisions. What is it with you and decisions?

Writer: There is nothing with me and decisions… nothing wrong at all. What is it with you and criticizing me?

Blog: Listen. We are one and the same right?

Writer: Hmmmmm. Are we?

Blog: Oh God – here we go again with the existential theories. Look, we have this conversation every day and every day, my answer is the exactly same. We are one and the same!

Writer: You are not doing a great job of convincing me… talking down to me is not going to make me submit to your reasoning. Nor is it going to achieve anything mildly positive. You know what your problem is?

Blog:    What?

Writer: Your problem is that you are a lazy so and so. Look at that writer’s recent post – ah! I can’t remember his name. He has forty thousand followers and words come out of his Blog like there’s no tomorrow. And you? You are a just lazy so and so.

Blog: I know. But why are you blaming me for your failings? You are the writer, remember?

Writer: Is that all you have to say for yourself? Oh listen… I completely forgot to tell you something.

Blog: What?

Writer: You know I wrote those two poems yesterday…

Blog: No I didn’t, but carry on…

Writer: Well I came back from a coffee with a friend and wrote a couple of poems.

Blog: Was she cute?

Writer: Look… just concentrate on what I am saying and stop going off onto another subject.

Blog: So she was cute then.

Writer: Yes. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I wrote those two poems because I wanted to write something. I think she inspired me. But when I read them back, they were too trite, too contrived. It was as if I was writing poetry to a prescribed format. Rhyme and meter were there, the thoughts were juxtaposed…

Blog: That’s a big word.

Writer: I am ignoring that – juxtaposed in a martial, cavalry charge-like way, but it was like I had been rehearsing writing. The ingredients were there, organic, fresh and beautiful but making the dish was too hard to do. Do you know what I mean?

Blog: I like the metaphor. By ingredients, I assume you are referring to words?

Writer: Well yes and no.

Blog: Look my confused friend, what’s really the matter? You are all over the place. First the indecision, then the beginnings of a rant about followers and now some tripe about writing poems that are martial-like in their word order combined with making a recipe book or something. I know you are being artful, but wouldn’t it just be a whole lot easier if we were to stick to the basics?

Writer: Basics in what sense?

Blog: Okay, this is writing 101, my style. Call it free form, call it whatever you want. It is not as contrived as one finds these days – this is writing for your soul. Are you in?

Writer: When was I never?

Blog: See, that’s what I mean. There is nothing simple with you and your thought processes. Even a clear yes and no answer has to be a drawn out question that sounds wrong but is actually right when spoken with your particular brand of nasal intonation.

Anyway, let me begin:

Writing is picturing a thought and

Letting it move on the Wind of Words. 

Writing is smiling at the sun knowing it will set

And admiring the moon, knowing it will wane.

Writing is the look on a lover’s face

Basking in the glow of her emotions.

Writing is finding the shade on a searing day,

Dark and cool on muslin covered skin.

It is love and it is jealousy

And it is all the colours between the two.

It is formed of thought and 

Like thought holds no form.

Writer: I am flabbergasted at your fluidity… did you just come up with that?

Blog: Yes. And it feels good, creation is a drug and I am high on it.