Our flashy cover
Hooray! It's here! Well, nearly. Please come back on February 1st for a look at the interior. But for now, here's the first glimpse of a book I have been working on with the estimable Margaret James.
I met Margaret some years ago, when I joined Exeter Writers and we soon discovered our shared enjoyment of teaching creative writing.
We both have had the huge pleasure of seeing our students achieve publication, win or be shortlisted for prizes. They have become confident, articulate writers who have learned to use their own special talents to their maximum potential.
And we have learnt from them. This book is not yet set. It is our intention to post chapter instalments each month with a view to getting good feedback. In time we hope to produce the most useful creative writing handbook there is.
It will have a special page of its own HERE (password protected until Feb 1st).
Thank you lovely students. We couldn't have done this without you!
What is this?
At the new class last week there was something of a discrepancy in numbers and I felt a little like Bilbo Baggins when the dwarves came knocking at his door. Hello! Do come in...oh, hello...
It was a very enjoyable morning and I look forward to the rest of term. As it was still just about New Year, for homework I have asked for a list of ten new things they notice in the week. The imagination, while residing in the inner world, thrives on stimulus from the outside. The photo here, is of something I noticed for the first time this week and I thought it very beautiful - almost like a rocky desert from the air. It's actually a paving stone on St Thomas railway station.
The Writing about Sex workshop is full now. I must confess to a slight anxiety when I first arranged it. Would everyone be too embarrassed? I'm glad they're not. Jane will be both entertaining and informative.
The Write-on course is booking too. This will be four sessions in total and tutored by Sophie Duffy and myself. Sometimes the solitary nature of writing can lead to a paucity of ideas. Most writers who feel held back suffer from a lack of confidence or a lack of information about what they're trying to achieve. If that sounds like you, go HERE. We can definitely help.
Anyone seen the traveling lemon lately?
Do you recognise that chap on the right? He looks a bit like - no, an awful lot like - Benedict Cumberbatch dressed as a pilot. An airline Captain actually.
Yes, Cabin Pressure is back on Radio 4 for a fourth series and I am a happy bunny. It's written by the chap on the far left, the daft Arthur in the series, but in real life, John Finnemore. I'm writing this blog as a result of reading an interview with him on the Radio Times website. Go HERE. I think it's funny (the bit about the frog) but that's not the reason I'm linking to it. What we get is insight into how he works. Obviously, he's a clever, well educated chap with a sense of humour but he hasn't given up looking, learning and asking questions about his writing. I love the fact he watches TV comedies with a notebook to hand. In particular, take in the section where he talks about plotting and character: the twin pillars of successful writing.
There's also a link on that page to the iPlayer site and the first programme in series 4. I was one of the seventeen thousand applicants for two hundred tickets to the recording. Needless to say, I didn't get any. Some things in this life are a matter of chance and that's all there is to it. Being a successful writer requires chance but more than that, determination. Before that that though, we have to write, keep writing, experiment, fail, cry, learn, write more. We can do this by ourselves but it's often quicker and much more fun together.
Check out Courses HERE and Workshops HERE
ps For Cabin Pressure fans, I only have one more thing to say: 'Yellow car!'
I haven't read this, but I know what it is. Do you?
Last Saturday's Guardian included a feature - HERE - about the best-selling books of 2012. The top three for most of the year were The Amorous Adventures of Anastasia by Ms E L James. No, wait...that's not right. You know, don't you? Who doesn't? After all, Ms James surpassed J K Rowlings record earnings of over £40 million in a single year way back in August. Gosh. That's a colossal lots of books sold.
Perhaps (and let's hope) it's a blip. The world isn't really seeking more sadomasochistic love stories, is it? The article suggests not.
Sex, however, isn't going away. One of the reasons I asked Jane Holland to give a workshop for CreativeWritingMatters is that during my teaching and competition-judging career I have read a considerable amount of writing about sex that is inappropriate, shocking, hilarious, or absent altogether. Worse, is the, this goes here, that goes there, Biology text book writing. Eeek! It's a tricky subject.
Perhaps a lace hankie might be the most erotic thing in your book? Or a pair of handcuffs, if you're Ms E L James. Do you want to write Mills and Boon Spice (sensual and sexual stories for discerning women) or erotic stories to upload onto the Kindle Store. Perhaps you want to avoid anything overt altogether, but are your characters to remain celibate throughout your book?
Go HERE for more info about the Writing About Sex workshop.
I'm arranging another short story course and also a course for writers wishing to take their work to the next level. More info soon!
Here's to a Happy and Rewarding 2013!