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

Draft Dodging. Not.

I won a short story competition this week and now have some lovely comments about structure and style ringing in my ears. I’m flattered the judge, Dr Kevin Hora, liked ‘The Potential Pleasure of New Soft Furnishings’ enough to award me the 2019 *New Roscommon Writing Prize. It’s worth €500, which for 2,000 words is good payback! After the presentation, as everyone was scrambling to line up for the cameras, Kevin quietly asked me how many times I’d re-written the story. I owned up to many, many drafts, 10 wouldn’t be unusual, neither would 20. I’m always wanting to improve, … Continue reading Draft Dodging. Not.

Pay, Pals and Poetry

I was so excited to get my first poetry reading fee, I took a picture. Did you ever hear about writer’s block? I heard it’s when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. In my case, it’s when I’ve too many things going on and not enough time to write. I’m lying, of course. I have time to write EVERY day (I keep a personal journal). Oops, that’s not right. I don’t lie, I write fiction. Even in my journal sometimes. Truth versus fiction, writer’s block, where to find inspiration, getting paid to write* – we’ve had some interesting discussions … Continue reading Pay, Pals and Poetry

Imagine that!

One of the best things about being a writer is having free reign with imagination. Writers can create whole worlds – plus all the creatures that live in them.  And they can make up characters and force them do whatever they like. What power! There’s that fridge magnet/bumper sticker that says something like: ‘I’m a writer. Yes, of course you’re going to be in my book. You come to a grizzly end on page 27’. I feel a bit that way at the moment as I’m writing a longer-than-usual short story based on something that’s been going on in my … Continue reading Imagine that!

Once Upon A Time

For the weekend that’s in it – a Bank Holiday here in Ireland – here are some short stories for you to enjoy. I’ve been reading short stories since I was a teenager when I came across EM Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’, which I think might have been on the O level English Literature curriculum, alongside ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ by DH Lawrence. I haven’t stopped reading stories since, and these days I have a go at writing them, too. I’ve had ten published so far – but I’m keen to learn more about what makes them work, which is why … Continue reading Once Upon A Time

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)