Monday, 1 December 2014

Interior dialogue.

This is a photo of a disused brewery in Newark, Nottinghamshire UK. I love this building because of its wonderful roof and rounded doors. It's possible that members of my family worked here about 120 years ago.

When I visited it there was a fence around it and a derelict air about a building that once would have been important and productive.

Could you write a story using two voices about this place?

One is the voice of the last person to leave the building and lock the door on its useful days.

The second voice is that of someone who is now living in one or two rooms inside the building. There is no heat or light but the rooms are insulated and warm enough. The building hasn't been completely cleared out and objects remain.

Security guards patrol the perimeter of the fence and the outside of the building for two hours once a week.

Who are the characters?
Why are they important?
What do they want?
What stands in the way of them getting what they want?

It could be a story or a longer piece. If the characters are alone it might be a good time to enhance your skills in writing interior dialogue.

I might have a go at this myself, later.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Writing fiction for women's magazines - workshop in Huddersfield.

I ran a day long workshop on writing fiction for women's magazines on November 15th and it went well. The emphasis of the workshop is on getting work published in this niche area even though some of the information can be used in writing generally.

The workshop will run again on Saturday 28th February 2015 at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and another Saddleworth location is to be confirmed. Same Price (£35) and conditions as before. Booking essential.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Dining room dialogue

Listening to other people's conversations can sometimes be intriguing. Over the weekend my family has been celebrating and this has involved eating out in restaurants. I am so curious about other people and have enjoyed finding out, by eavesdropping, what people at neighbouring tables have been celebrating too. Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements... so many cakes with candles and overheard speeches.
Some people eat too much, drink too much and say too much. Petty squabbles break out and relationships are sealed or damaged in such close quarters.
This brings me to dialogue. The most frustrating part of eavesdropping, for a curious person like me, is not knowing the back stories and events that people share. This means that sometimes I haven't understood what a conversation was about or I've had to guess.
When writing dialogue it is important to establish the nature of a relationship by what is said and also what is not said.

For example, two people on a first date might not know each other's favourite foods. It would be acceptable for one to ask the other.

'D'you like pasta?'

and the other to reply

'I love it.'

A sense of newness is conveyed.

If  two people who had known each other for twenty five years were eating at a restaurant they wouldn't ask this question. If they did it would seem odd. Instead one might say.

'I think I'll order the spaghetti bolognaise.'    

and the other might reply

'Not again.'

Here a sense of knowing someone who always orders spaghetti to the point of irritation is conveyed.

To try your dialogue skills out ...

  1. Pick a place to eat - greasy spoon or very posh as long as there are several tables.
  2. Focus on four tables with 2-4 people sitting at them.
  3. Decide what conversation is taking place at each and remember to give each person a motive that determines what they say, mean and ultimately want. Think about the reasons for them being together, such as reunions, affairs, business......
  4. Give each table 5 minutes of dialogue each. This dialogue should form a story with a start middle and end so that four complete stories are being told through words. Then mix the pages so that the conversations run into one another and form interesting juxtapositions. This will add to the tension and anticipation.

This could create a twenty minute one act play if you worked at it and edited it carefully. You might get something else from it. 
The idea isn't new. The playwright Terence Rattigan wrote two one act plays collectively called Separate Tables. Have a look at how he went about the subject.

separate tables terence rattigan

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dear Diary

I speak to a lot of people who confess to destroying teenage diaries because they are embarrassed by the content or don't want a new spouse to read them. I never speak to anyone who has collected their diaries and has a substantial stash of them in the attic. It's a shame but life is busy enough without recording it. 

Using a diary to construct a novel is useful. It can enable a merge with the past and the present and can move action around.

Write a first person diary entry for yesterday and the day before. (I washed the car. I went to a club) No more than 250 words.

Now change it into the third person - (Jack washed the car.Jack went to a club)

Then add the voice of someone who finds and reads the diary and is affected by what they read.

Italicise the diary entries and date them. Try to formulate a story with the diary entries and the reader.

Try searching for book titles - fiction - based around diary entries, for example The Vampire Diaries. Have a look at some of them and see what people have achieved with this device.   

secret diary adrian mole

Friday, 24 October 2014

Characters and motive

I have been looking at characters this week. Characters can be protagonists or antagonists but in order for them to be interesting they have to want something. This provides the motive for them to act and drive their story forwards.

I asked people in my group to think of the most distinct person they knew, describe them and determine what their motive was in life. What fabulous characters emerged. And what motives.

My own addition was a friend of mine who is super clean and tidy. If she gave you a biscuit she would vacuum you while you ate it. Why? maybe she needs to be in control, maybe cleanliness is of the highest importance to her because of something that happened to her. Maybe she'd rather not have her life filled in with messiness because she'd rather be doing something else. I must ask her.

Think of three people you know who are distinct or memorable in some way.

Write down who they are, what their characteristic is and what you think motivates them.

Put two of them together in a story. Add a location such as a meeting where they find themselves side by side or a sporting match on the same or opposite teams. Make their motives distinct so that the work comes alive.  Try writing a story about them or a page of dialogue.

We watched a film in which the protagonists motive is clear in every scene. If you have time you might try it. It's an Italian film called la Vita e Bella. In English it's called Life is Beautiful and it is dubbed. The writer and lead actor is called Roberto Benigni roberto benigni life is beautiful

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Crime Novels

I have two crime novels on the go at the moment. One is hard edged, urban, violent and centres around the Manchester drugs and crime scene. It's not my usual cup of tea but it's for research and I like it.The other is what might be described as cosy. No sex, drugs or rock and roll and there's a cat in it.

At the moment the crime genre is one of the most popular genres amongst readers, particularly women. From the perspective of a writer this is interesting as the scope is large and the possibilities intriguing.

Carry out an investigation of your own and find out how many sub genres of the crime genre there are. (there are many)There's everything from the bloody to the downright fluffy with lots of variety in-between. My tastes lie somewhere in the middle of these extremes. 

What are your preferences?

Your reading tastes might not be the same as your writing tastes.

Select two or three of the sub-genres and create an appropriate crime solving character to suit each. The sub-genre should suggest the characteristics of a person who might solve crimes in a particular world. For example a Miss Marple character is unlikely to be solving crimes in the prostitute and pimps, burning streets novel at the side of my bed. Nor is a revenge hungry, super-fit bouncer likely to be looking for lost cats. This doesn't mean to say incongruous pairings can't work, but give it some thought.

Next, think of the crimes your fledgling gum-shoe might solve.

You may unearth some fascinating clues.

Monday, 6 October 2014

spaces at oldham writing group

A new course has started at Oldham Library for creative writing. Five fab people turned up but a few more needed to get a solid creative writing group going again in the area. 

Friday mornings, 10-12, upstairs in the main library building.

The class I was teaching last term has enrolled 21 people. 

The well thumbed cliche famine or feast comes to mind.

Buried treasure

                               The site soon to be known as The Rock Garden.

I was digging my garden at the weekend. It was a family affair, a mass digging, each of us throwing muck around and making a right old mess. I have a confession to make about digging....I always wonder if there is anything in my garden worth digging up. People in my classes might remember a piece of pottery I found with a beautiful face on it. Possibly an Edwardian commemorative cup.
My house is built on the site of an old single track railway whose trains took workers to and from the mills in the area. According to local myths the passengers were notoriously bad at paying their fares. I'd like to find something that belonged to one of them, tossed from a window or lost in a scuffle. 
As a child, fond of digging then too, I found a jaw bone with teeth in it. It probably belonged to a dog - that house was built on farmland. But what if, as in my fantasies, my digging revealed something more sinister/worrying/dark/frightening.

There's something to write about in this idea. In fact I have a story on this theme now that I come to think of it.

Write a story of any length about a person revealing an item buried somewhere. It can be a story for anyone and it can be funny, sad, serious or magical.

Think about why people bury things and what they bury. Make it a physical rather than metaphorical dig. You can write freely and see where the idea takes you or you can plan.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

writing fiction for women's magazines

Don't forget if you want to spend a day looking at this niche market I will be running a workshop. Booking essential but all levels welcome.

Love Triangles

The statue in the picture and the commemorative plaque are dedications to the Russian poet Maria Tsvetkova. They are positioned overlooking the bay in St.Giles de la Croix in the Vendee region.

She seems to me to be as well known for her passionate affairs as she does for her poetry which is loaded with emotional references.

Every Child is a Verse of Love

Every child is a verse of love
A destitute bastard slip,
A firstling - the winds above -
Left by the road asleep.
Heart has a gulf, and a bridge,
Heart has a bless, and a grief.
Who is his Father? A leige?
Maybe a liege or a thief.

Just a small example of her work, translated by Yevgeny Bonver.

Try these exercises inspired by this revered Russian poet.

1) Select one of the lines from the above poem and use it to begin a poem of your own. The content of the poem should come from what the line suggests to you, it doesn't have to follow the above theme. If you write a poem take not of the rhyming sequence above and the poetic devices. Try to follow the rhyming sequence.

2) Write about a love triangle. It can be a triangle containing lovers or it can be a situation where three people are friends and tensions arise. Write from the point of view of a narrator who can see what each character is thinking and so can give a broad view of the situation.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


That's the name of the book that The Cheadle Writers group is about to publish. Some editing and paper shuffling still has to take place and I wait for good news about a financial donation.

There's a lot of talk about publishing and self publishing. I'd like to say that producing a booklet of your writing, art, photography, family tree details or recipes (and much more) is achievable. Of course money is always involved but for a special occasion or event a nicely produced A5 booklet might be perfect.

Sometimes the thought of starting a project is off-putting when the work involved isn't that bad really once you start. Or even enjoyable. Like writing.

Getting images like the one below into a booklet is straightforward with the technology available. We used this and other retro pamphlets for inspiration.

Does it inspire you to write. Try a stream of consciousness for one or both of the images from the leaflet.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Pop-Up theatre pops up again.

The pop-up phenomenon continues. I know that in my area today there are pop-up cafes, pop-up exhibitions of art and yet again pop-up theatre. are preparing for a play called Thick as Thieves. I passed the venue this week - a former pram shop facing the tram station at Mumps Bridge. For their last play the company used a disused retail unit and set designers turned it into a charity shop. 

The pram shop will be demolished after the run of the play and the area will be redeveloped. In the meantime Mark Whiteley, Hard Graft's writer and actor has set designers creating a scene for the action to unfold. 

This idea has many merits. Rents can be cheap and only need to be paid for the duration of the play. The location can add to the content of the play and create a stimulating experience for audiences. In the case of Hard graft Theatre, the coffee bar next door is due an extra rush of business.

It's a project I'd love to try. I've discussed a few venues and ideas with fellow writers in the past but nothing has emerged. (What's stopping me?)

Why don't you sketch a few ideas for a play in a pop-up location.

Imagine a non-traditional theatre space. In Mark's play the audience and actors will be together in the same closed space. The audience will be seated.

Create a story around three people who are in the space and want it for different reasons.

Think of the characters and how their dialogue reflects their motives.

Take some risks - one character might want to use the space as a car park, another might want to fill it with cannabis plants....and so on.  

How does the action start and end. How might the space be used to full advantage.

Tell me how you went on. If I ever get round to trying this idea I'll post my results.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Stones in his Pockets by Marie Jones - various venues

This great play will be on at The Manchester Opera House on October 16th. It's a dark political comedy famous for having a large cast played by two actors in front of a simple backdrop. 

It's a great one to go to with as a writing group. If you haven't already used it in class it could form a good lesson on dialogue.

Just seen another date at Oldham Coliseum -  Fri Oct 31st


It's part of a national tour so there are other venues.

Have a night out! 

Monday, 1 September 2014


I've just come back from a holiday in France which is a country full of interesting details. Beautiful windows in homes, rows of fabulous trees, cakes that might be miniature works of art. Details are important. If I write a story about Frankie, who has a dog, well chosen details help build a picture. Is the dog a teacup chihuahua or a staffie? Is Frankie a Francis, Frances, Francesca, Gian-Franco? Is his or her t-shirt bright white or faded, designer made or cheap and cheerful?

While I was in France I crossed the Saint Nazaire Bridge on the West Coast. This gives access from Brittany to the Vendee and is a huge, curved, twisted, clever and awesome construction. When I first saw it, futuristic and apocalyptic, (I'm a wimp) I wanted to change my mind about crossing it. On the other side of it though, I felt as though a small achievement had been made and that I was somehow better for having crossed this uncomfortable looking construction.

Bridges can be physical or metaphorical.

Think about how the idea of a bridge can be used as a metaphor. Write any ideas that come to you onto paper. Persevere with gathering ideas until you have a point of view you've not considered before or something you'd like to write about.

Create a structure for writing a story that crosses from one place to another. Write it to any length that pleases you. 

Don't forget to concentrate on details to sharpen your story.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Glasgow, sport and poetic names.

I've just been watching the cycling element of triathlon events in Glasgow. Have a look at Glasgow on the map and write down any town and district names that appeal to you. Go further afield and search for other attractive Scottish names.

Try this idea. Begin with the line

When we set off from......... (Bearsden/Govan/Giffnock)  then say what happens.

Write a poem, story, piece of dialogue and then end it with.....

By the time we got to (Iona/Mull/battlefield) then say what happens.

This devise will enable a story to be told.

Post your ideas.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Fireworks and their names.

Fireworks are strangely joyful reminders of treasonous plots. From where I'm sitting I can see an old Catherine Wheel pinned to a post in my garden. Bastille Day has just been celebrated in France with fabulous fireworks (feu d'artifice) and celebrations akin to new years eve and bonfire night. 
If you look at firework catalogues you'll see that fireworks, like everything else, are given names. Some names acknowledge their bright and celebratory nature, for example Ruby Shower or Roman Candle or can make reference to the darker side of fireworks with names like Phantom  or Bomber.

Pick a few of the names.
Use them as headings for poems.
Concentrate on the dual nature of fireworks.
Avoid words commonly associated with fireworks. Sparkle. Dazzle. Explosion. 
Write in free verse.

See what you get.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

BBC - Writing for children.

The BBC are open to submissions of work written for children. Television scripts for series and a range of children's output. This opportunity is for a limited time. Follow the link to their writers room for more  details and to see how to enter your work.

You'll find lots of information and advice on the site and can subscribe to a newsletter that will keep you informed of other opportunities.

I have written a couple of things for children and will look at them to see if they fit the bill.

Have you written for children?

Try writing an outline for a series for children. Think of characters and locations, time and style.

A discriminating audience - they have to be pleased or they won't watch!

Monday, 30 June 2014


The term wabi-sabi comes from Japan but the concept is universal. It is about appreciation of simple things, of things that are ageing, of being appreciative.

Look at for images and developed ideas.

I came across this when I was looking for the idea of 'beauty hunting'. It seems now to relate to beauty businesses and blogs but when I first came across it the idea was championed by a woman (I need to find her name) who worked in urban or overworked industrial locations with kids. She believed that if someone looked hard enough they would find a thing of beauty in their surroundings and from there could possibly learn to attach hope.

I need to come back to this woman and her ideas but in the mean time am interested in finding beauty in the mundane.

Think of the most tedious task in your life and write its components as a list.

Is there a poem in there.
Is the ritual more important to you than you think?

Don't stop at one.

Post your ideas. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Hotel's as places to set a story.

Are hotels and B+B's friendly places or otherwise? I stayed in a B+B in London recently that was very lived-in. I once stayed in a hotel with carpets so thick it was strange to walk on them. What contrasts!

Write a dark and sinister story about a B+B or hotel. Characters in such places have a need to be there. Some to work, some to sleep overnight. Under what circumstances do they meet? What circumstances surround them? Do holiday or celebratory experiences have strange undercurrents?



Use these questions to shape the story.

Don't aim for a word count. Write unselfconsciously until you've finished. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

stand up comedy and the elusiveness of laughter

I have stood up in front of audiences and been funny. Intentionally and unintentionally. It's not for wimps. If laughter results from your material and it was meant to, the feeling is amazing. If the laughter you were hoping for doesn't materialize then an ordinary minute feels like a week.

At a comedy club near to me I have laughed so much at comedians my ribs have ached. A friend once told me about an experience she'd had and we laughed raucously for days. Laughter is such fun, so healing and medicinal.

So. How can we make people laugh at our writing, in the right places?

First we need to know what makes us laugh. Here are two examples.

Inappropriate juxtapositions: 

If you've seen Little Britain TV Comedy  you will have seen the sketch about the young guy who fancies his mate's Gran. A young man hankering after a much older woman makes people laugh because the relationship could be seen as inappropriate. if you haven't seen it look on Youtube.


Sometimes we laugh when people hurt themselves or fall over. Other times if someone becomes very serious before they give bad news laughter can bubble up. Psychologists have looked at why this situation exists and written about it it in detail. This and slapstick humour are my weaknesses. If people fall over I want to chuckle. As an adult I have trained myself not to in case it offends. And it's not only me who finds misfortune and slapstick funny. One day as I walked briskly over ice I slid, flew up some way and landed on my back at a bus stop. I did this twice and a woman over the road from me was doubled up with laughter. The joke was on me.

Think of an inappropriate juxtaposition.  

Think of a time when misfortune has made you chuckle.

Your writing could take the form of a poem, a sketch or a short story. is the website of Bill Bryson who has made books full of things that make people hoot with laughter. Get one out of the library and analyse it to see where his humour comes from.

For those wishing to write and perform stand up comedy Get Your Act Together - writing a stand up comedy routines by Jenny Roche is a book that will take you through the business of performing comedy.

Comedy isn't easy. Creating rounded characters and believable plots is a writers job. Making those people and situations funny is a very different skill.

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Lists have been a recent topic in my classes. My favourite list is one I found in a supermarket trolley in France. On a piece of graph paper was the word limonade. Can something with one item on it be considered a list?

People in the groups generally agreed that they found it interesting to see what other people wrote on shopping and other lists. It gave a glimpse into other lives.

A few people listed categories of colour. For example, green.


....the list was almost endless.

Try looking at a colour and writing down categories, memories and sayings. Is there a poem in there? Is there something to be developed?

Baby pink
Pink to make the boys wink

Have a go.

There is such a thing as a List poem. Look one or two up on 


They vary a lot from simple as above to complex. A great poem style to try out.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Hans Christian Anderson

I've just returned from a short stay in Copenhagen. I can't say how much it pleased me to be in a city defined on so many levels by its most famous storyteller. In Denmark he's referred to as H.C. Anderson and his statue and references to his stories are everywhere.

His life wasn't easy and perhaps his experiences shaped him into the off beat character described by many including Charles Dickens. He adapted old folk stories and gradually started to write his own. They are fabulous and it's clear to see why their appeal has lasted. Mythical and meaningful they are intended for adults and children.

Go to for a taste of his stories and insight into his life. Better still read some of his stories in full.

There is such wisdom to be found that is attributed to unhappy or difficult incidents he lived through.

Can you think of a part of your life that was difficult? 
Can you extract the main details?
Is there someone who was unhelpful to you during this period?
Is there someone who helped you?

Would the incident make a story?
What elements would you need to add to make it fairy tale like? (This doesn't mean it has to be sugary. It can be dark) 

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Write Pratice

I receive weekly emails from the above creative writing blogger/teacher. The content is fresh relevant, pithy, precise and helpful. (too many adjectives??) There are always writing exercises to try too. And they are free.

Courses and publications are available if you want to take things further.

Have a look.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


Had some fun with lists this week. Writing one can help you when you are stuck with writing about a character. Try jotting down their to do list. What does it reveal?

What's on your shopping list? What does this say about you?
What's on your to do list?
What's always on your to do list and never gets crossed off?
Write a list of your friends names, food you like, your five best moments, the periodic table of elements.
Something else.

Some of our lists became poems or the framework for a poem or piece of fiction.

Try it.

Short Plays

I'm reading a book called Ten Short Plays which has been produced by Longman Imprint Books

I want plays that can be read at one sitting in a two hour session so that we can complete the play and discuss it. This book has a good cross section of styles and writers. Absurdism, a community play, a TV play and more. A great book with study activities. The one I enjoyed reading most was Skin by Nicola Batty. 

Writing a short play could be a good writing exercise and I may try it. If I do it I might suggest genre, characters and an inciting incident and see what we get.  

Have a go.

Pick a genre.
Pick up to three characters.
Think of an inciting incident.

Write dialogue and see what you get. Tell a story with a start, middle and end. 

Is there anyone who can read for you so that you can hear how your work sounds?

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Perspective - the way things are seen

You are walking through a high class department store admiring watches, fragrances and beautiful pens when you see a banknote on the floor that doesn't belong to you.

What's your first reaction?
What's your second reaction?

Write two stories of 500 words each (flash fiction) based on both of these responses. 

Write one from a first person perspective based on response one.
Write the second fro a third person perspective based on your second response.

You will have two significantly differing stories based on the same trigger.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Reading a novel by Marquez is a joy and a journey. In classes where time is limited I read his short stories. They give a flavour of his work and sometimes prompt people to read more. His language is dense with meaning and he uses punctuation in his own inimitable way so reading his stories aloud has to be made as easy as possible to get the point across. Two stories I use time and time again because of their brevity are The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World  and The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship

I can't recommend them enough. If you've read Marquez they act as a small reminder. If you haven't then they are a treasure to come. They are easily available on line to read. Try one of them and immediately after write a story afterwards, bearing in mind the magical and vivid style of Marquez.

Write about 
a journey on a boat 
a remote village 
a stranger

use an idea of your own

See what you get. Don't edit as you go along just write in a stream of consciousness. You can always edit later if you want to. 

Read a bit about the man and his life and upbringing. It will inspire you. His gifts to this world are his novels and what they say. The greedy amongst us might hope there is a manuscript stashed in a drawer soon to be released to commemorate his passing. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Impulsive buys and the value of risk

Have you ever bought something on the spur of the moment because you wanted it and then considered your actions at leisure?

The feelings a rash purchase can provoke are interesting.

Fear...of being found out or of overspending.
Pleasure....guilty or otherwise because of your new acquisition. 
Guilt...because you couldn't afford it or put yourself first.
Self-loathing....because you acted impulsively or weren't strong.
Accomplishment... because you made a snap decision.
Denial...whatever you bought gets hidden for all kinds of reasons.

Risk is interesting in writing.

Risky writing styles. 
What happens in a story because of a risk taking character . 

Write a story of any length about a compulsive purchase. Think of a character and what a compulsive purchase might be to them. For some it might be a red Ferrari for others it might be a bowl.

Remember the questions that enable you to create a fully rounded piece of work.


See what you come up with.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Longhand on onto the keyboard?

It's a modern world. This week someone much much younger than me asked me what a phone book was....and someone else, equally young asked what longhand was....

How many of you write in longhand and then type it up?

I have been typing my work for years now. I ditched longhand thinking it was slower. This week I've had a go at writing in longhand (the computer was being repaired) and writing in the morning the minute I woke up.

I've written more and I've written about things that don't usually occur to me. While I don't look forward to writing it up on the computer I'm impressed with the exercise.

If you write into the computer as a rule, try writing a story about a busy market in longhand. 

If you write longhand see how you go on doing the above exercise onto the computer.

Any differences?

Any new preferences?

Get in touch and let me know. 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Art as a starting point.

Recently I've looked at how art can inspire writing. One exercise involved looking at a painting by Alan Davie, and imagining it (copy or original) has appeared in your workplace when you return after a holiday.

Have a look at Alan Davie  www.alandavie and look at his work and influences. 

Imagine one of those paintings in your workplace.
What would it signify?
How would you feel about it?

Write a piece of flash fiction - say a 500 word story - about the significance of one of these amazing paintings being at your place of work. If you don't have a workplace think of a community setting or civic building or make somewhere up.

It can be dark, funny or intriguing.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Lavender's Blue.

Bobby Shaftoe, the old woman who lived in a shoe, Humpty Dumpty. They are all nursery rhyme characters that are so much part of many childhoods that they cease to have meaning. In the spirit of recycling, modernise these or other nursery characters. Put them in your town or city, in modern times, give them the modern equivalent of the roles they had in fairy tales. Bring their concerns up to date and set them off in a story and see where they go.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Popular and Literary Fiction - what's the difference?

I'm running a workshop next month on writing popular stories for women's magazines. There are distinct expectations from magazine editors for their stories. There are distinct expectations from all kinds of editors - for the various publications that exist on line and on paper.

Identify some of those differences. Look at anthologies of short stories and consider what the people who compiled them were aiming for.

Write a short story for a publication that is outside your comfort zone. You might be surprised by how liberating it is.

If you were designing a poster for a workshop for a particular style of short story, how would it look?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Words of wisdom as the first line of a story.

Inspiring advice often comes in the form of a saying or catch phrase. A colleague of mine always said 'always read what it says on the label'. By this she meant always follow instructions and guidance where it exists.

Think of a line of wisdom from a school teacher or parent or someone close to you. 
Write it down as though it were the first line of a new story.

 Now write whatever comes to mind.