Posts Tagged ‘news’

With my visitors this last week, I have not thrown myself into a new book – but we have all been going for the non-fiction option.

It’s a long time since I did a history or science class, and I’ve never written a paper on disaster responses, but these were just some of the areas I was talking about with the people I had staying.

It’s reminded me that there is a whole lot of information out there that might give me a different approach to my work.

In fact one of the topics I was reading up on was a disaster I remember even though I was only about nine when it happened; the images were so memorable and I can still see the scene as though on a tv.

It’s given me an idea for a kind of memorial poem, a piece that never mentions the specific event but draws my memories together to make a new piece.

Which goes to show that even if I don’t read a book, a newspaper or a historical article might be a good substitute for learning something new.

And in this case, what I learnt was that we can be affected by something even if we weren’t personally involved – and even if we don’t think about it without encouragement.

Happy reading,



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Sorry this post is late, I lost track of the weekend because it’s a bank holiday today!

As the writing is much as it was last week I decided to talk about other news in the writing world today.

First off – apparently, e-book sales are falling and physical book sales are rising in the UK as we suffer from too much time spent on too many devices.  I have to acknowledge I have not read a book online for months now – although as I only ever downloaded freebies I didn’t help the sales figures much anyway!

Secondly, we readers are more attractive to potential partners!  Recent research shows that if reading is listed as a hobby on a dating website, there are more responses. Reading is a joy in its own right, but it’s interesting to think about the social and psychology benefits of it.  I often wonder why some people adore reading and some don’t even think about picking up a book, so that is the next answer I want to find!

Lastly, a few words of wisdom from JK Rowling helped me out this week.  Just keep writing, guys. Finish the book/play/poem/whatever you are producing.  Keep going.  Get to the end.  You might not get picked up, but you have a much better chance if you have a finished product!

Happy writing,



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Every day, I set aside some time to write and do any coursework needed. It’s time set aside from paid work, housework, social life, hobbies etc and it is down to me how – and how well – I use the time.

This week has been more about reading than writing, with most of my literary time spent in Americanah, or textbooks, or newspapers.

After Thursday’s post I practiced what I preached and bought a newspaper to dig through over the next few days.  It is big and has many supplements so it’ll take me a bit of time to dissect the stories and articles, balance them and see what, if anything, inspires me.

I already have a few ideas and I am eager to see if they fly…

Although there are no new words on paper, to write I must give myself time to read, so this week was like research, or an extension of my learning.

It’s been a good exercise in identifying how the right word was chosen, understanding the subtle manipulations of thought that writers have to achieve, identifying what grabs my attention as a reader.

In many respects, it has been an opportunity to review my recent learning on style, language and context.

Over the next week I will be getting into my next writing course, playing with the newspaper articles to see what they create, and finishing Americanah so I have a chance to reflect on difference in writing.

For now, I am going to curl up with a good book and a pile of newspaper in the hope that I can share my experiences with you next week!

Happy writing,



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For as long as I have been writing this blog, I have been reading the newspapers with a view to finding unlikely stories or inspiration.  I have mentioned things I’ve followed up in poetry or prose on here before, more than once.

I always found the slightly off-kilter articles the most riveting because they shine a light on the unexpected outcomes of the human experience. However, we are living in a ‘post truth’ world, where things are not as they seem, where news is not necessarily reality, and in which some of the most odd and off kilter articles relate directly to the behaviour of the U.S. President.

The off kilter isn’t quite so inspiring any more.

I don’t want to be overly political on here, but as a writer I value the skill it takes to properly investigate a story.  News by Twitter feed is all very well but the real journalism is done by dedicated professionals who take risks to get the truth told.

It feels like this work, and by default the capacity of the media to hold those in power to account, is at risk.

So perhaps this week, rather than scanning for little snippets of inspiration online, we can all buy a newspaper.  Read it, and see what we’ll be missing.

Knowing what is happening in the world is important for all of us, but as writers it is arguably part of our job. To lose the opportunity to explore stories, form opinions, share views isn’t something I ever want to see.

So in this ‘post truth’ world, let’s hope we haven’t gone too far down the rabbit hole, and start to value what we have.

I don’t know where we fiction writers will end up if facts are malleable, after all.

Happy writing, and thoughtful reading,





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I read a great news story today about a pie which has been sent into space, in advance of the World Pie Eating Championship.

To be honest, there’s not a lot I can say about it except it’s my feelgood story of the day, and with the world as it is sometimes that’s all you need to have.

Enjoy the video; I hope it brings a smile to your face as it has mine!

Happy writing,



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This week I did a really great writing exercise. It was simple, and I chose it because it was quick so one of my lunch break ones, but I got so much more out of it than expected.

It was one in which I had to focus on me, and because of the way to exercise was written, it inevitably got me thinking about s specific period in my life. I said last week that I’d been visiting universities and I imagine that is why I ended up thinking about my own experiences as a student for this task.

What it got me doing though, which I hadn’t really imagined, is to start writing a character. Partly it’s the me I was at 18 just starting an amazing and exciting period of my life, and partly it was an imagined version of who that character could have become. It went from being an autobiographical account to a future me that never existed.

It’s like the Sliding Doors principle: if I’d taken a different door I could have ended up a different person from the one I am now. That is the character that developed as I wrote.

It was a really exciting way to develop a new character – one that is potentially repeatable with other individuals I know or remember.

There’s always a fine line between developing ideas based on experiences and using other people in your work without permission, and it’s a subject I have covered before. However, I think this is a really safe way of using personal knowledge and experience because you are creating someone new based on hypothetical responses to imagined events – the real person is just a springboard to get you thinking.

It’s definitely an idea to explore; I’d like to try it out with my husband answering a few questions so I get a feel for how it can be adapted to use biographically rather than autobiographically, but it’s a good start for my hour of thinking about how characters can work in a particular storyline.

I was so enthused, I had to tell you about it!

In other news – Fred is still in peril, although he’s about to time jump out of the fire and into the frying pan… I need to finish his story before Christmas so he’s in for a speedy conclusion to his travels in time.

Writing group concluded for the year with a discussion about the balance between the cleverness of writing and the intricacy of a plot.  This was a particularly interesting topic because we have all read books with great plots that were virtually unintelligible, or which were beautifully written but devoid of engaging plot or characters to keep you interested. For me, good writing is accessible writing, and the more pretentious it sounds the less I think it has anything of interest to say.

Finally, from a writing point of view, I have not yet decided on a course but as some start in January I need to get into gear and choose something.  Fingers crossed, it’ll be done by next week!

Happy writing,



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The clocks changed this weekend and it’s thrown me out a bit. In my head it’s nearly 1am and I should be asleep, especially as I only have one day in work before taking a break for a couple of weeks!

So this post will be particularly brief…

  • Plot and structure is going well
  • I actually managed to read a novel!
  • Fred is still awaiting his next escapade
  • I haven’t booked in a writing session with my friend

So a mixed bag of a week.

My challenge now is to get Fred moving through a couple of eras by next Sunday and to finish rereading the Plot and Structure book in the same time. After that, I need to distill the most salient points into notes and study them – it’s a little like preparing for an exam although I need to remember the details for longer!!

That’s my whistlestop tour over, and now it’s time to hit the hay.

Happy Writing

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Yesterday I said I had lots going on, and I just added something else…

My new challenge is some research and discussion about a possible community project, which is really exciting – and even if it transpires it is not possible it’s a good opportunity to meet some new people and learn about something new.

Living in a small village, you realise quite quickly that the more you get involved, the more you get out of life.

There have been a number of times when I have been particularly glad for my community, living where I do. The time we ran out of heating fuel, for example; or when we were snowed in for days. It’s far more fun to be sociable when you’re cut off from normality; it’s even better to pool food and share a few meals!

There are drawbacks to country living but it’s definitely got its benefits as far as I am concerned.

As for the new challenge, I expect I will step back once the research is done – but I still have enough going on to keep me busily engaged in life here for quite some time!

Happy Writing,




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This week, I pretty much failed to do any writing, although I experienced a few funny stories which need to go into the notebook!

It’s been a really busy week, paid-work-wise: if you have ever worked on projects you will know that some periods the pace shoots up for one reason or another, and as we go live in a few weeks it’s likely to be fairly frenetic for the foreseeable.

I am wary of the impact on my return to writing, and I’m keen to write more regularly again, even if it’s just three blog posts a week.

I still want to do my reading for Tuesdays too, as it’s a bit of a wind-down at the end of the workday, but if I don’t get a lot else done maybe I’ll go right back to my blogging roots and share a few resources with you…

Back to this week… One of my notebook experiences was yesterday.  We had tickets to a concert I completely forgot about until Friday; it was a fundraiser for a local charity I have been involved with since its inception. I was expecting a nice lazy evening of being entertained, wined and dined.

But life being what it is, I didn’t quite have that. Instead I had raffle tickets to sell, plates to collect, drinks to pour… In fact, I was basically a waitress for the night 🙂

There was a catalogue of strange and comedic things going on which I have been laughing about today – I won’t share them all here but they ranged from the audience all turning up before the helpers so we couldn’t get in to actually set up, to the performers being nobbled to tidy up the venue at the end of the night!

Still, the charity raised a decent amount so it was all worthwhile. And I have a new skill set to add to my CV…

It was a surprisingly enjoyable evening, despite having to work through it – it was in an old church and the acoustics there are lovely, so the singing sounded great. I got to catch up with some people I haven’t seen in a while, and I got to lose myself in something other than work for a while.

So I didn’t get to do any writing but I got to do a bit of living – and no doubt there will be more than one scene in my work involving a very persuasive charity rep, so it was all research anyway 🙂

Happy writing,

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I didn’t get a lot of writing done this week. I have been doing some more work identifying appropriate agents and preparing my paperwork, but I have also found myself increasingly focussed on the world at large.

We can all see the news and I don’t feel qualified or able to talk at length about the many lives lost to extremists.  All I can say is that every atrocity makes me feel as though I need to do more – learn more about the situation across the globe, share thoughts of peace, be a better advocate for hope.

I will be making more of an effort to do all these.

Meanwhile, I found a Cicero quote that has withstood two thousand years of the world, and still resonates with me:

Life is nothing without friendship

We have it in our power to love and support one another across the globe, building new friendships.  That seems like a good aim when the world is so divided, and so many people are suffering.

It seems like a good aim, full stop.

Be peaceful,




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