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30 July 2010


Are Big Distractions
As many of you who may bother to read my ramblings will know - I've had a very sick computer. Considering it was over 6 years old (which must mean millennia in computing terms) I suppose I've had my penny's worth. So yesterday a lovely new PC arrived and I've (well me and my Man Friday) spent the last how many hours transferring, downloading, getting tetchy and sitting back and marvelling at all the new things. So have I written? Not a lot as you might imagine.

I did manage to upload a piece on 'How To Create an Online Writers Group' the new How To website who are looking for authors. One of my pals, Alyson, on WritersAbroad nudged me about a competition they had. And I have a list of pieces I wanted to submit by the end of the month. What? That's tomorrow you say?! Well, as usual the damn deadlines come around quicker than I can say 'edit' and that's several more opportunities I've missed. How can I fulfil my ambition to get published if I don't submit? Well I can't and neither can you. So what are you doing reading this blog? Get on and get that manuscript polished until it shines and then hit the Send button. Quick, Go On!

Don't Think Just Write

23 July 2010

Writers Abroad and National Short Story Week

Call For Submissions
As I detailed in my previous blog, Writers Abroad - my on-line writing community for ex-pats -are supporting National Short Story Week and are seeking submissions for an anthology. The title of the anthology will simply be 'Writers Abroad' and the them is ex-pat life, the pain and the pleasures. Any length up to 2,500 words is acceptable so we are hoping that we get mixture of flash fiction and short stories which will make it fun and interesting to read. Lorraine Mace has agreed to write our preface and WA member Greg McQueen will be helping with our marketing and publishing. 
This is our first anthology and it has just occurred to me that the publication (November 2010) will fall on the first annual 'anniversary' of the Writers Abroad website. So very apt and very fitting I think. We are all very excited at the prospect of this writing adventure and are looking forward to receiving some wonderful stories of ex-pat life. Follow this link to the Call For Submissions and get writing!

Don't Think Just Write

16 July 2010

National Short Story Week

Lets All Shout About Short Stories

Writers Abroad, has agreed to support National Short Story Week in November. We are currently planning an anthology of short stories, written by expats on the theme of expat life.

National Short Story Week is an annual awareness event. Its aim is to focus the attentions of the public and the media on the short story and short story writers, publishers and events. It is intended as a framework for promoting literary events and publications at a national and local level. And we as a virtual group have been encouraged by the supporters to participate.

The aims of National Short Story Week are:

1) to get more people reading and listening to short stories;

2) to get more people writing short stories;

3) to develop creative and commercial opportunities for individuals and organisations involved in the short story form.

We shall be putting out a Call for Submissions next week so check for details on our site 'Writers Abroad' or our Facebook page or email us on for further information. Exciting times ahead.

In terms of other work, it has been slow. Partly the heat…it’s hitting 40º most days by 11am and partly my ancient PC. Read my blog on Writers Abroad to find out more. And I had a particular cutting rejection land in my Inbox last night. I still haven’t recovered and it has sort of put out my fire. But like a Phoenix, I shall rise from the ashes and write again. Just let me finish my sulk first.

Don't Think Just Write

9 July 2010


To Cut or Not to Cut?

Writing, as we all know, is a process of sorts. It needs to follow some kind of order, which for the largest part can be decided by the individual writer. But all writers have to edit. As an apprentice writer of some years standing, I am only just beginning to understand this part of the process. 

Like many, I see my first draft as a kind of sacred script which needs gentle handling and the utmost care. Since joining Writers Abroad I have discovered, thanks to the very constructive feedback from members, that the first draft always needs a second re-write, often and third and very occasionally a fourth. I know deep in the recesses of my mind that there isn't a writer out there who can produce a perfect first draft and it is that piece which will end up on the bookshelves and finally on the readers lap. I'm not that stupid. But I suppose what I didn't grasp was the extent to which the first draft very well might change. Huge sections of text, dialogue, back story, imagery and characters may well need to be slashed and burned. My fingers hover nervously over the delete key and I break out into a hot sweat with a wildly beating heart (see what I mean) as I make the decision - 'off with their heads!' Once I've done said deed I panic that I've cut the only bit of the story which was any good. However, I do trust the expertise from my fellow writers and the thing is they don't just glibly pull the story to pieces, they tell you what bits are good, which parts made them laugh or cry, which bits they didn't understand and which bits they think should be carefully put away - somewhere else. And to top all of that, many members are great grammarians (is that the right word?) who can spot a misplaced apostrophe, or a wild adjective or even a pleonasm (I didn't know what that was until a few weeks ago) which all help to shape the story. 

So whether it's editing or rewriting, I finally understand that stories whatever length, need a bit of care, attention and sometimes a bit of a beating into shape. And do I have any evidence for my preaching this week? Well, I've just been informed that my story Smiles and Heartaches has just been short-listed for the Flash500 competition, along with a story of another member from Writers Abroad. 
So go ahead, Slash and Burn!

Also this week, I've posted a book review Louise Charles' blog on the last book of the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. And having now got my editing brain into action I have been setting up a new website to track the progress of the re-writing process for my four (yes four) novels in progress... watch this space for further details.

Don't Think Just Write