Conferences, Dead Time and Reading

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Thoroughly enjoyed the Association of Christian Writers’ day in Derby on journalism on Saturday. Love learning from writer events like this. Have found before that, even though I might not use some information now, I do end up using it later! Brought home some ideas I hope to investigate further and am not saying more than that for now.

On the fiction side, I am finalising a short story for a competition. I am also looking forward to sharing a two-part interview with a fellow Chapeltown Books author on Chandler’s Ford Today. Part 1 will be up on Friday.

Am getting better at using “dead” time. I spent my train journeys to and from Derby using the fabulous Evernote to draft a blog post for ACW, a future CFT one and some ideas for what I hope will end up being my third flash fiction collection. I also got to talk to a children’s writer on the train home. One of the lovely things about writing is, when you do meet up with fellow writers, you’ve got an instant topic of conversation!

Oh and you never get bored!

 

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The only problem with going to writing conferences is catching up with things again on getting home! Still, I can think of worst problems.

Sorry to hear about Ken Dodd. Never got to see him live but enjoyed his TV and radio shows. (Radio 4 Extra sometimes repeats the latter, expect they will soon. Worth a listen).

Priorities this week are to finish editing a short story and, as always, CFT. Why does editing always take longer than you think it will, no matter what your level of experience is?! Or is this just me? Answers on a postcard….

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Do you like short, sharp paragraphs or longer, more detailed ones? For me, it depends on the kind of story I’m reading or writing. I would expect a thriller to have the first kind of paragraph with a family saga having more of the second kind.

Overall, what matters is that each word, each paragraph etc moves the story on and genuinely can’t be cut from the tale without wrecking it. You know you’ve carried out a good editing job when you reach that point in a story!

Sometimes a more detailed paragraph can be used to indicate the time period a story is set in, given you would expect more “wordy” paragraphs in a tale set long before social media came in. Choice of words must be appropriate to the character, the time period and the setting.

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I’ve spent a lot of the weekend in Derby at an Association of Christian Writers’ Day on journalism (it was fab) so used a lot of the time on the train journeys scribbling away via the wonderful Evernote on my phone. Jotted down ideas for several flash fiction pieces and am really looking forward to writing them up.

I am getting better at using “dead” time like this and when I had to take my car in for service, while I was waiting, I wrote three flash pieces (which are part of my second collection now submitted to Chapeltown Books). I felt distinctly miffed when they told me my car was ready as I had settled down quite well, thank you. There was a tea and coffee machine, loos, and I was all set for further writing! The really great thing here? No distractions… ah well.

 

Most of us struggle to have as much time to read as we'd like - image via Pixabay

I think most of us struggle to find as much time to write as we’d like.  Image via Pixabay

Publishing has to start with a blank page - image via Pixabay

From start to finish here perhaps?  The blank to the printed page.  Image via Pixabay

 

The To Be Read pile - image via Pixabay

The to be read pile! Image via Pixabay

A few books to choose to read from here - image via Pixabay

Plenty to enjoy here! Image via Pixabay

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Do you start your story with a title in mind or do you write the tale and then the title comes to you as a result?

I find I must have a title to “peg” my ideas to but often have to change the title to a more suitable one, once I’ve got the story down. I have, on occasion, tried to work without a title but soon found myself feeling “lost” without one! So I take the attitude now it is all in draft anyway so it doesn’t matter if I change the title half a dozen times until I’ve got it right for the piece.

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog

I have spent many a fine evening re-reading favourite novels and short stories. For me, there is no such thing as a book beyond its “read by”date.

It has been my experience even books written in styles we wouldn’t use now have some entertainment value and I can usually learn something from the way the author has written their characters. I usually pick up something on each reading.

As for contemporary reading, I am reading a fair number of flash fiction collections, I love reading history (and historical fiction), as well as crime. I am reading far more non-fiction than I used to but I think this may be a reflection of the fact I’m writing non-fiction now as well.

Having a Kindle has increased the amount of reading I do too. I do like the “Look Inside” feature and have often used this. I was glad it was available on my own flash fiction collection. This has given me many chances to try books I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of trying.

 

 

 

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