Winterbourne abuse scandal

Writing is writing, right? Someone in ‘Good Will Hunting’ said that, if you can do it, you should, on behalf of all those who can’t. Well this link to my other blog, my other life, is my writerly way of speaking for those who can’t. Others have done the same. Journalists have made erudite comment. The BBC gave us the material. But we all knew it was happening, somewhere in our souls, our collective psyche. We knew that we could not always trust humans to act with humanity, or decency, or even just plain neglectfully. We knew that some would see an opportunity for … Continue reading Winterbourne abuse scandal

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The #Scrapslush campaign

I already knew this, I can’t say I didn’t, so why then do I feel  disquiet at the notion of the ‘slush pile’? It’s not the fact of being in a queue or of waiting for an evaluation of suitability, those are regular experiences in my world. It isn’t even the element of subjectivity, the lack of control, or the length of time invested in the wait because these too are familiar in matters such as applications for research funding. In both circumstances, there are rules to be followed; this many words or characters, this kind of remit, and that … Continue reading The #Scrapslush campaign

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If not the blog then, where?

I’ve seen this debate elsewhere, publish on your blog so you have a ‘presence’ or keep your work to yourself so that it remains saleable. So far, I’ve just put up early pieces; exercises, bits and bobs that might entertain but that wouldn’t make it into a slush pile, never mind a magazine. Last week though, on leave and with only myself to entertain, I wrote what I think is one of my best short stories EVER (nah – doesn’t take much!) and, it being under 500 words, I was about to sling it up here for my many thousands … Continue reading If not the blog then, where?

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Authors and writers in Second Life

Just a little while ago, we were talking about the kinds of support we get from other writers and how we value the small communities that build up around blogs and tweets. Some of us are beginners with little to offer except awe for those who are into their third novel. Published or not, that’s tenacity, and if so far they haven’t hooked a publisher, this may say more about the vastness of the market than the quality of their work. If you can’t find ’em, you can’t impress ’em, and as the same principle applies in reverse, getting an … Continue reading Authors and writers in Second Life

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Did you read ‘Madness’?

If you did, just out of interest and in relation to the post on profanity, what is your impression of the language used in that story? I won’t remind you because I’d like your thoughts based on what you recall rather than a dissection of the words themselves. We talked a lot in various exchanges about realism and the kinds of expressions particular characters might use and this is clearly a situation in which the main character might be expected to let rip. I wonder, then, how far the impression of authenticity was affected for you by what was or … Continue reading Did you read ‘Madness’?

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Writing as cabaret

Here’s a thought. Ever seen those sketch artists on the street or at local fayres who produce a portrait of you in a matter of minutes and you love it just because of the unique focused attention it offers? Well, how about an equivalent for writers/wannabe writers? Quite a few talk about doing their writing in cafes or bars (here, it would be the local pub – wey hey!) which presumably means either buying quantities of coffee or beer or trying to avoid attention while making just one last three hours. What about trading your services for a bit of … Continue reading Writing as cabaret

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Language most foul

I have recently unfollowed someone for using the C word in a tweet. The offender gave a cursory apology but, in suggesting that those of us with ‘delicate sensibilities’ should ‘cover our ears’, rather belied himself. As a writer of court reports, some of them addressing abusive and criminal behaviours and requiring verbatim quotes, I am not unfamiliar with offensive language nor too fragile of constitution to repeat it when required. In fact, in therapy sessions, when clients have no other words for something and use, let’s call it a ‘street’ word so as not to attract unwelcome attention, I … Continue reading Language most foul

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Getting the bird

Last weekend, on the instructions of the RSPB and the BBC so who was going to dare decline, the nation counted its birds. For an hour of our own choosing on either the Saturday or the Sunday we were to sit peering into our  gardens cataloguing the wee wing-ed beasties as they dropped in for a visit. Robins – 2 of, Collared doves – 3 of, Sparrows – 4, no make that 5 of, Blue Tits – 2, 5, 3, DAMN keep still will ya! Starlings? Who’s here for Starlings? The instructions were to watch only for an hour and … Continue reading Getting the bird

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Prune-Ella gets second equal!

Or thirteenth equal depending on your glass-half-full-glass-half-empty perspective. The winner was more than worthy, a tight tale with lovely pace and rhythm, and only the requisite number of ‘I’s. Competition over, Prune-Ella is now out in the wild via the Nano Fiction page. Meanwhile, one of my other stories, submitted to the critiquing zoo queue, has had some quite mixed comments. To broadly simplify; half seemed baffled by the concept, didn’t quite see a plot, and wanted parts that I thought were the crucially speculative elements, more spelled out. The other half loved it, got the plot, and bought into the speculation. Both views … Continue reading Prune-Ella gets second equal!

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