Sunday, 22 May 2011

Soaps and sagas peopled by aliens.

I was reading some old writing articles the other day and came across the 'write about what you know' advice. I think it should be amended to 'write about what you'd like to know' and what others might like to know...
The former overused adage, I believe, can easily block a writer and tie him/her to the mundane things in life - a perfect reason for a reader to become bored and put a story to one side.   People read to learn something or be entertained and unless you can add an element of difference, they will soon be unengaged.
The latter phrase 'write about what you'd like to know' may encourage a writer to think more about what makes interesting reading and may help to stop the same old tired plot lines being re-hashed.
After all, stories about futuristic scifi, vampires and ghosts would have never been written if we steadfastly stuck to 'what we know'. And writers like Stephen King and Dean Koontz would be drawing unemployment checks!
Readers want to be taken out of their normal everyday worlds whatever the genre - whether it be soap stories, romance, adventure, mystery, or thriller. These genres still need some 'out there' plotlines or at best some exageration (or almost unbelievable aspect) of everyday life.  Even the soaps, meant to be a representation of ordinary folk and ordinary life, stretch our sense of credulity to the limit. 
Of course, introducing fanciful aspects is where the imagination comes into play. And this leads directly away from the 'write what you know' adage and invites you to ask the 'what if' question. For me this is the most exciting part of writing - allowing imagination to soar to the heavens.
I believe the 'what if' question should become the most asked question by fiction writers, whatever genre they write in.We need to make our stories as different as possible if they are to be noticed.
Having said that, readers do still need some elements of familiarity and stories still need to be believable - i.e. could it really happen like that? So 'write what you know' should still be in the mix.   I mean, what's wrong with setting 'kitchen sink dramas' in a futuristic world peopled by aliens??
What do you think?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Back to blogs

Hi everyone
I'm glad to be back on wordsmithing! I've been travelling with little access to the web. It's not good using free wifi and other's internet... So here I am getting back down to it. I'm still not home but I have full internet for the next week, at least, so here goes...I can't do much on the 'work in progress' but at least I can get back in touch with blogs and networking.
The kindle has been a boon for taking books travelling and I am impressed with it's easy readability.
I will be back later...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Techno tart or Metamorphosis junky?

The World is full of writers! Until I started blogging and twittering I never realised just how many people write novels, let alone other forms of writing. It seems the whole world is just tapping away at keyboards. Is that a good thing? Of course, but I have to confess that as this realisation slowly dawned on me, it made me realise just how much competition I have to get my novels out there and how hard it is to break into mainstream publishing. I even feel a teensy weensy bit sorry for agents and editors. How on earth can they choose? But choose they must and anyone who has penned a really good tale and taken care with the editing and presentation will always give themselves a good start in this headlong race to get publishing houses attention. But as someone esle said, elsewhere, is it always about publication? Maybe not but I do belive it is always about wanting to be read by someone somewhere... Why else write?
Luckily for many of us there are other forms of being read nowadays and that includes stuff like this - blogging and networking. And there again there is always self publishing and e publishing and many other things. None of which carry the kind of stigma (of being second rate writing) that they once did. The world has changed - even in the short time of the advent of the internet - was it only 1991? And it continues to metamorphose at a faster than ever rate. The way we read is also rapidly changing - look at the growth of e-readers. So, who knows what opportunities tomorrow might bring?
Onwards and upwards I say. Embrace technology - you might as well, because you certainly can't stop it!
What do you think? Do you embrace technology?
Do visit my website and see samples of my novels, if you've time:

Monday, 2 May 2011

Can you rhyme orange?

I was looking through some old stuff from my university course the other day and recalled a great discussion about how certain words just did not have much rhyming potential. The word in question was 'orange'. I found the short poem I wrote to prove I could rhyme it - sort of...

"Fresh pasta and sauces, the taste buds they tingle
As the wonderful smells delightfully mingle.
With cutlery clinking, the diners tuck in
and the champagne bubbles, they sparkle and spin.
Some touch the huge platter of duck a l' orange
sat next to the shivering strawberry blancmange.
And all agree the feast was delicious even if not so completely nutritious. "
It may not be the best bit of poetry in the world but I do remember having fun devising it as I also tried to incorporate all the senses. It made me realise that writing can sometimes be just about fun. It doesn't always have to be a gallop to the finishing post of publication. We should all make time to linger along the way and smell the flowers.
What do you think? Do you sometimes write purely for fun? Can you find a better rhyme for 'orange'?

Sunday, 1 May 2011


National Association of Wrting Groups (NAWG) is having it's festival of writing in Nottingham this year. Much more easily accessible, I think. At least it's in the middle-ish of the country and not so far to travel for most people... It will be held from 2nd - 4th September.
The festival weekends have been excellent events in the past and this year will be just as well planned. It promises to be a packed weekend of tutors, speakers and plain old-fashioned fun!
Do come along for the whole weeked - or just part of it - if you can. Details can be found on NAWG's website