Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Apologies if you’ve already seen this on Facebook! Park your bum on a chair and WRITE! Pen and paper or keyboard, your choice Read a lot: magazines, books, journals, books, cereal packets, books, Join a friendly, supportive creative writing group (see below) Do more writing (ahem, that’s what writers do) Read some more: books, newspapers, books, filmscripts, books, stories on-line, books Mix with people who get it – ignore the detractors (what do they know anyway?) Keep going, write every day if you can. Get good by practicing If you want to be a writer but you’re not enjoying the … Continue reading Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent

I was asked recently what makes ‘good’ writing? Someone who describes themselves as a ‘novice writer’ wanted to know how she could recognise good, better, best. Ha! She probably wished she hadn’t lit that particular touchpaper as I launched into a major rant. Let me tell you what makes good writing – personal taste. It really is that simple. If you want to get published, there’s the need to swallow a zeitgeist tablet, too. But really, if you are a writer enjoying the process of writing, you should not to be bullied by literary snobs or talked down from the … Continue reading The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent

The Walking Unread

I’m not usually looking for something to read – my bedside table groans under the weight of many  books, and I’ve often my nose in several tomes at once (I’ve the right shaped nose for such feats). And I admit to being swayed by the hype from social media when there’s something new everyone’s talking about (hello Booker longlist), so the to-be-read pile is ever-growing. But one day last week I plucked from the heap of unreads an anthology I have a story in. Not a recent one, but one from last year which I hadn’t bothered to finish before. … Continue reading The Walking Unread

Filling in the Gaps

Trying to find new ways to say old things can be a bit wearing. In my case, wearing on the old computer keyboard. My laptop was bought with the winnings from a short story competition in…damn, was it really three years ago? Anyway, I’ve worn the face off some of the keys. A R E S T to be precise. I don’t touch-type, but I know my way around a keyboard, so it is no real bother for me. I’m even trying to squeeze a poem out of the scenario, all about naked keys, worn to the bone. I think … Continue reading Filling in the Gaps

Read All About It

My kitchen floor’s a mess again. What with books to read, poems to write, creative writing groups to facilitate and sick cats to pet, I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s no time to mop the floor. Or clean the windows (you have to do that more than once a year? Really?). That’s the trouble with household chores like cleaning. You get it  all done, and then in an instant,  it needs doing again. And time can be so much better spent reading. I mean, good books don’t read themselves, do they? It was probably a bit of a coincidence, but … Continue reading Read All About It

The Noise of Celebratory Glasses (and something of mine for you to read)

Well, actually this is all about link, link rather than clink, clink, but I couldn’t resist. If you’ve ever heard of me, you’ll know I write (mostly) poetry, flash fiction and short stories. So I thought I’d pull a few of my recent best bits together in one place.  Took me long enough – how could I expect anyone else to bother? So I wouldn’t blame you for never having sight of these pieces before… So here are the links to a few samples of my writing (and you’re not allowed to comment that it’s all a bit so-so. So … Continue reading The Noise of Celebratory Glasses (and something of mine for you to read)

Stockings, and the Filling Thereof…

If you know someone who likes cats and short stories (always a good combo in my opinion) this anthology might be a good Christmas stocking filler. A paperback with illustrations and 21 stories (including one of mine, ‘Waifs and Strays’), the proceeds go to two charities – Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. ‘Cat Tales; An Anthology of Short Stories’ is available at Amazon:  Cat Tales Or there’s ‘The 2016 Exeter Story Prize Collection: 21 New Stories’ which also includes a short, short story of mine, ‘Fitting In’ (which has nothing to do with cats!). These are stories and … Continue reading Stockings, and the Filling Thereof…

Working Titles and The Sound of Time Passing

Why has no-one ever before told me about the joys of audio books? Faced with the prospect of a boring, solo four-and-a-half-hour car journey last week, I asked around about the best way to pass the time.  Obscure local radio stations and over-used MP3 playlists notwithstanding, the consensus seemed to suggest listening to stories. So I ventured into a dusty corner of my local library and discovered a small but significant collection of audio books. I chose ‘The Hills of Kilimanjaro’, a collection of Ernest Hemingway short stories. (Him again. I’m re-living my teenage years somehow).  Good enough, as they … Continue reading Working Titles and The Sound of Time Passing

The reason my house is a mess

I have good intentions when it comes to housework – I don’t like living in a tip. But really,when there’s a choice, what to do?  Read a book or mop the kitchen floor? It really is a no-brainer for me. Only the thought of visitors copping a sight of my unwashed floors/windows/dishes (delete as appropriate) will spur me into action, and then only if its people who have never been to my house before. Joan Rivers had it right when she said: “I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to … Continue reading The reason my house is a mess