Stamping on the Monsters

Looking for monsters? My worst enemy is myself. But I rummaged around in my memory and pulled out my old art teacher

Early Morning Writing

A Birkbeck writing tutor recommended Dorothea Brande’s excellent book, Becoming a Writer. I found Dorothea’s exercise of early morning writing incredibly useful. It really freed up my writing ‘muscles’ and allowed me to work more productively.

More recently, the writing guru, Julia Cameron, advocated a similar practice, which she calls morning pages. When I found a copy of Julia’s book The Artist’s Way in my local Oxfam shop, I couldn’t resist buying it. Continue reading “Stamping on the Monsters”

Writers Conference 2014: everything you’ve ever wanted to ask an agent

Agents are the bridge between writers and publishers, and are among the most influential people in the publishing industry.

Books, Ruth LivingstoneFollowing on from The Truth and Lies About Self-Publishing, I thought I’d better go and check out what agents really do to earn their pound of writer’s flesh.

According to the Conference Programme booklet: “Agents are the bridge between writers and publishers, and are among the most influential people in the publishing industry.”

This panel was chaired by Henderson Mullin, the chief executive of Writing East Midlands. Three agents – Carole Blake (Blake Friedmann), Sheila Crowley (Curtis Brown) and John Jarrold, who runs his own literary agency – gave us their view of the world of publishing. The three seemed remarkably likeable, and passionate about good authors and great literature. Continue reading “Writers Conference 2014: everything you’ve ever wanted to ask an agent”

Writers Conference 2014: truth and lies in self-publishing

“Writing the book is easy. The difficult part is selling it.”
What I learnt about self-publishing at the Writer’s Conference 2014.

gorilla beating chest I guess when it comes to self-publishing, the greatest proponents are going to be those who have done it successfully. The failures slink back into the shadows.

With this in mind, I went along to the panel entitled “The Truths and Lies About Self-Publishing” with some degree of cynicism.

The discussion was chaired by Alex Davis and it was interesting to hear why the panelists, all very different authors and very different people, had decided to self-publish their books. Continue reading “Writers Conference 2014: truth and lies in self-publishing”

Writers Conference 2014: Working as a writer in the digital age.

It’s not easy for a writer to make money from the web, partly because of the expectation that everything on the Internet is free. And partly because the web is full of great content and it is very hard to stand out among all the digital noise. But the panelists had some suggestions we might consider…

digital-connections, Ruth LivingstoneI am a hopeless gadget-junkie. In 1985, I bought one of the first home computers (a BBC Micro) and taught myself how to program in BASIC. Then along came PCs and, in 1995, access to the Internet via a fragile telephone link into the MSN network. Soon I became tangled in the limitless possibilities of the World Wide Web and taught myself HTML so that I could put together web pages.

I always believed that the web and its hyperlinks would open up a whole new way to create and read fiction, I was just not quite sure how to do it.

And I’m still unsure.

So, I was looking forward to the “Working as a Writer in the Digital Age” panel session. Continue reading “Writers Conference 2014: Working as a writer in the digital age.”

Writers Conference 2014: fiction writing for YA and Children

What I learnt about writing for teenagers: almost anything goes but you have to consider the impact of your story on adolescents and offer some kernel of hope. And more…

Thinking kid, The Reluctant ScribeI had never thought of myself as a children’s writer. When I was told my current work-in-progress read like a young adult or even a children’s book, I was dismayed and upset. And then I began to embrace the idea. Didn’t I first develop a love for reading when I was a teenager? And some of the best books ever written were supposedly written for children.

But, the trouble is, I know nothing about modern children’s literature. Were the themes in my novel suitable for young teenagers? Or for young adults? And what is the difference between the two groups? Continue reading “Writers Conference 2014: fiction writing for YA and Children”