Archive for the ‘Word Cloud’ Category

 

My writing has been virtually non-existent lately which is sad. I love the out-pouring of emotion and general release that only writing can offer. The pen no longer a material, solid object but part of your body, a functioning limb.

I miss the peace and tranquility that is only found when I disappear from this world into one of fantasy, even if the fantasy world contains horror, pain, torture or loneliness. I know that this is temporary, and like Alice, I will soon climb back out of the rabbit hole safe and sound (of mind).

Now, being in the real world is not such a simple story.

Being a Mum, an entrepreneur of a new business in these difficult and unstable times, and dealing with the day-to-day issues that life throws at you, like health issues, can be challenging. But, and this is a big BUT, I love it all. I love that I am now the proud owner of my own business. I love that I can get up each day and be excited about my job. I love meeting new and interesting people on a regular basis. I love that i’m helping other people and businesses to achieve. I LOVE LIFE.

I don’t think that I have ever been this happy and it appears to be drawing more happiness in towards me every day.

I have neglected this blog, but it has been for a very good reason. One of the main reasons is the one thing that will one day give me the lifestyle to be able to write all day everyday, my company.

I have now allocated two hours per week to spend on blogging, this blog is too important to me to give up.

For those writers that subscribe to my ramblings, I am helping to organise seminars for the amazing Mr David Baboulene http://www.baboulene.com   PhD Scholar, Story Consultant and published author.

See my previous blog;  https://persistentwriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-science-of-story/

The first seminar will be held at Birmingham City University, Edgbaston on 1st October 2011.

Ticket Cost £49.00 / £39.00 Concession.

If you want further information or would like to book your ticket for this amazing event, please do not hesitate to contact me: kirie.hansen@sky.com or click on the Baboulene link above.

We look forward to seeing you there…

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago a writer I am proud to know, and respect, Harry Bingham,  featured a new website on his personal blog. The blog is available to read on the writer’s forum, The Word Cloud.

The new website is iwritereadrate.com and the fabulous director and creator is Adam Charles. I’ll let Adam explain more about his creation, so enjoy, get involved and join the revolution!!!

Join the Revolution –

What does new technology mean for writing and reading literature?


I was sat in a bar a while ago talking with an old friend over a cold beer.  As an Engineer his viewpoint on various topics we talked about was rather different to my own.  Whilst discussing widely publicised environmental issues his response was always that ‘technology would find the answer’.  My standpoint was rather less definitive on the subject.  Yes, I agreed, technology could play a key role, but it’s down to our choices – individually and collectively – to make any change a significant and lasting one.

My, perhaps tenuous, point here is that we’re at a real tipping point with technology in relation to how we consume literature and media in general.  Technology revolutionises, it refines, it redraws traditional lines of consumption, disrupts our historical patterns of behaviour, it finds a way of improving the situation in whatever aspect of our lives that it touches, but only if we embrace it.

We can see so many recent examples of how Internet and communications technology has fundamentally altered how and when we interact with our friends (real and virtual), connect to the world, find and listen to music, and we’re beginning to see this rebirth happen with how we discover, purchase, and consume literature in every genre.

With the proliferation of devices capable of viewing and downloading content wherever we are – such as smart-phones, tablets and dedicated eReader platforms – the wind very much appears in the sails for a generational change in how we buy and consume books, how we experience literature in general.  This is now reaching a point of market integration when it can no longer be considered in its infancy. 

The people are speaking and it’s now time to embrace the change.

Alas, I have to admit that I will miss the touch, smell, and sense of paper and print.  My personal opinion is that there will always be a place for it, and writers may always want to see their hard work in a physical form.  However, progress happens for a reason.  Usually this is to provide an improved, refined, simpler or richer experience for the people accessing the content.

So, what does the future look like?

I wouldn’t perhaps feel qualified at this stage to foresee what the endgame looks like for publishing, as the shift is still only just beginning to take hold.  However, there is little doubt that it will have to adapt and revolutionise into something that we can’t quite predict just yet.  Whilst this change is undoubtedly underway, it is still currently ether wafting around the world-wide web, a twinkle in the eye of ours and upcoming generations, with only whispers about what the future may bring.

I read an interesting article recently about Digital Natives – those who have grown up never knowing a world without the Internet – and their expectation about what they can do online.  The way they look at the world, through real and virtual goggles, the way that they want to communicate and consume media of all kinds is fundamentally different as a result of technology.  Whilst those of us who still remember Dial-up tones are perhaps grappling with this, the Digital Natives will expect to have flexible, interactive experiences using the Internet; and this certainly will not be any different for how they will want to consume their literature.

What excites me about what could happen next is perhaps more important right now.  Writers and readers at this point in history, this particular moment in time, have an opportunity unlike any other generation of people in love with the written word since humanity began the mass printing of books all those hundreds of years ago.

As writers and readers we – through our actions, our purchasing decisions, the places and devices we use to consume books, our words both published and unpublished (electronic and printed), through our blogs and myriad social media interactions with people around the globe – truly have an opportunity to make the whole process of what becomes a successful story or novel more democratic, more personal, more social.  People Power in its most positive form.  I can see a rise in niche literature – work that wouldn’t be considered commercial by publishers – that will sell thousands rather than millions but still have something very worthwhile to say, and will inevitably, through technology, find an enthusiastic audience to enjoy it out there in the world.

I’m not an industry insider, I’m not versed in the old ways of doing things, and I’m not predicting anything in particular here that isn‘t starting to happen already.  What I am, however, is in my late twenties, a voracious reader, an unpublished writer and a keen technophile.  I know what I want from my literature, I know how easily I want to access exciting new ideas and stories, how wide and varied a choice I also would like.  I also know that I would like a more interactive way of finding new writers and stories to entertain and inspire me.

However, I sincerely hope that it will be a democratic, rather than autocratic, change.

I’ve clearly bought front row tickets for the revolution, I guess what happens next is down to everyone who has yet to decide, and the next generation of book lovers.  Whilst you’re thinking about it have a look at our new website – www.iwritereadrate.com.

 

So, get your ticket and Join the Revolution!

Adam is a founding Director of a new website for writers to sell, and receive ratings & reviews on their unpublished work direct from readers who love to find new stories.  You can register now to receive pre-launch access to upload your work before anyone else, enter a competition to win an eReader, and receive a monthly newsletter.

Visit them to discover more: www.iwritereadrate.com

In my last blog I mentioned that I would be attending a couple of writers’ conferences this year in a bid to better my skills and network with other mad people who choose to write. Writing can be a lonely occupation, so any opportunity to get out there and socialise is grabbed with both hands.

York Festival of Writing was recommended by a friend and fellow author so I have decided to give it a go, be brave and get my work and face out there (scary, the face that is!).

In this blog I wanted to give other aspiring authors details about the conference and the wonderful authors/agents/publishers holding workshops and one-to-one sessions. After attending the conference, I will give honest feedback, so watch this space.

The Festival at a Glance

25-27 March, University of York, UK

A brief selection of the many agents in attendance:

Carole Blake; Agent to bestselling authors including Sheila Flanagan, Joseph O’Connor, Barbara Erskine – and author of Pitch to Publication.

Antony Topping & Judith Murray; Antony and Judith are senior agents at Greene and Heaton, and represent such big names as Sarah Waters,Marcus du Sautoy, CJ Sansom, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & many more.

Simon Trewin (pictured): Co-head of Books at United Agents. Represents Richard Curtis, Nicci French, etc.

 

 

The Specialists / publishers

In their words;

“We’ve also invited specialist agents & publishers who know the market you are writing for. Among many others …”

John Jarrold: The best known specialist in science-fiction / fantasy / horror in the UK. If you write in this area, you HAVE to meet him

Julia Churchill (pictured): Julia is an agent devoted 100% to the children’s & Young Adult market. No one knows this market better.

(I met Julia at Winchester Writers’ Conference and found her to be warm and encouraging.)

 

Jane Holland & Lyn Vernham: Specialist publishers of women’s fiction & romance. And you don’t need an agent to get published by them either!

Philippa Pride: Philippa is Stephen King’s UK editor at Hodder, and is the person responsible for his entire range. She’s also a consultant who loves working with new writers.

 

 

Alan Mahar: Alan runs Tindal Street Press, one of Britain’s smallest but most prestigious publishers. About 25% of its entire output having won or been shortlisted for national literary awards.

Patrick Janson-Smith: As joint MD at Doubleday / Transworld, Patrick discovered authors such as Bill Bryson, Sophie Kinsella, Andy McNab, Joanna Trollope, and many more. Patrick now runs his own imprint at HarperCollins.

Nicola Morgan: Vastly successful author of YA & children’s fiction. No one knows this territory better. Nicola also hosts the successful, amazing and informative blog; Help! I need a publisher!

(I have my one-to-one appointment with Nicola, so i’m excited to receive her advice.)

http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/

 

Amazing authors that are leading some of the mini courses / sessions available;

Finding Your Voice, with Debi Alper & Dr Emma Darwin – Two experienced and extraordinary authors

Getting Published, with Harry Bingham & Helen Corner – Harry Bingham in organiser of the festival (along with his small army of helpers!). Helen Corner is co-author of, Teach Yourself: How to Write a Blockbuster.

 

Kate Williams (pictured): The vastly popular historian and author of publishing sensation The Pleasures of Men.

Learn from the professionals


Learn how to plot
With Jeremy Sheldon. Novelist, screenwriter & tutor at Birkbeck College, London.

Showing not telling
With novelist Jean Fullerton. If you’re confused about what this rule means, you don’t have to be.

Breaking the Rules
With Debi Alper. You know the rules – but what if you want to break them? Debi tells you how (and how not to) proceed.

 

There are many more exciting authors / professionals listed on the website so please go and take a look.

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

I look forward to seeing you there……….

I recently blogged about a very good (cloudy) friend of mine and the release of his forthcoming biography of Wellesley Tudor Pole, an extraordinary English gentleman.

SEE – Author Interview with Gerry Fenge.

Well, he’s only gone and done it, by jove! The book is printed & delivered & ready for purchase.

The book is available for order on Amazon (see link details below).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Worlds-Wellesley-Tudor-Pole/dp/0979170060/

I am so proud of Gerry. I’m sure that all aspiring authors will join me in congratulating him on his first (of many) published work.

A proud Gerry receiving his first batch of books (FREE from his very generous publisher!!)

 

If anyone would like to feature Gerry’s amazing book or contact him for an author interview / feature, please see my previous Author Interview blog or feel free to comment on here and I will pass your details on.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Worlds-Wellesley-Tudor-Pole/dp/0979170060/

I first came across Gerry on The Word Cloud writers community. Intelligent and humerous, his imput, critique and general advice have always been spot on. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Gerry to the rest of the world (tadaaaah) and along with many others, I look forward to the release of his Wellesley Tudor Pole biography.

 

A Writer’s Inspiration

What was your favourite / most inspiring writing guide?

We’d been listening to a talking book version of a well-known fantasy novel and Chrissy (my wife) threw her hands up saying, ‘I could do better than that.’

Suspecting she had oodles of hidden talent, I said, ‘Go on then.’ She resisted, but I promised to act as all-round slave, discuss her ideas, offer some of my own, try not to pout when she rejected them, type up anything she wrote, get meticulous with commas, and so on. After a while she found her momentum and was away. Result: young adult fantasy thriller, The Salamander Stone, 120,000 words, scrupulously plotted, written, revised and polished. (We didn’t know the word count would kill it stone dead.)

Next job: send out the letters. Job after that: collect the rejections. Job after that: take stock. Mm, better try some reading services. So she/we worked with Cornerstones and revised the book a lot more. Then she/we worked with Pollingers Agency (yes, they took her on) for the best part of a year until the agent took maternity leave – resulting in much hiatus, sending of enquiries, waiting of months and eventual verdict of  ‘Sorry, no’. Then she/we worked with the Hilary Johnson Authors’ Advisory Service, after which another agent thought there are ‘many published writers who aren’t a patch’ on Chrissy – though the answer was still ‘No’.

But that’s how I learnt the rules. I wouldn’t have bothered for my sake but learnt them for someone else’s sake.
How did it help you?

The first book I wrote, age seven, was ‘Luck for the Goodies’, a short epic about cowboys and justice. A few million words followed in subsequent decades, although rarely in approved form.

Since helping Chrissy, however, I have vowed to be good and do as the industry specifies. I/we have consequently found a few ways to pronounce POV and SNT. (Try a snarl: ‘PV!’ Or a growl: ‘SNOT!’). And we have tossed other ideas back and forth – Narrative Arc for instance, or Active-v-Passive. Most such concepts are instinctive, but it helps to bring them out of the unconscious into the conscious.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given as a writer?

The best advice comes from Chrissy nowadays. Having trained herself up, she became an excellent critic, pushing opinions she previously would have mistrusted.

Also, of course, different people have different strengths. I tend to be stronger on ideas and plot-mapping, whereas she’s stronger on drama and characters. So if she decides a section needs more drama or that someone is acting out of character, I ought to listen because she’s better at those things than me.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to other aspiring authors?

General life-advice: give whatever you can – you’ll get plenty more in return.

Specific advice to authors: who are you? What matters to you? What gets you so buzzing you can’t sleep for thinking about it? What expands your mind, your soul, your whole being? What is unique about you? (Yes, there really is something.)

Then, if you can call to mind an action or an event that set you thinking/pondering/feeling, you might be onto something. Passionate concern + trigger = inspiration.

What do you enjoy reading? Which books have helped you develop your craft?

Wordsworth and Coleridge were in the business of discovering Truths of the Imagination – getting to the essence of things: top men both.

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): only a sketch but it has a clear, inevitable, archetypal shape.

My ultimate Desert Island Book, however, must be My Dear Alexias, a selection of letters from Wellesley Tudor Pole to Rosamond Lehmann. (Wellesley Tudor Who? – ah, perhaps I should explain. Come with me, gentle reader.)

Tell us briefly about your publishing journey

Eleven years ago I took a break from self-expression (it can get a bit claustrophobic) and tried expressing someone else, beginning a biography of Wellesley Tudor Pole, the most remarkable Englishman of the last century. Research, collation, editing and writing involved about four years; then a London agent took on the result and some time later retired (not cause and effect, I trust) – after which, the book dozed.

What next? I stepped even further from self-expression and worked for Chrissy’s book instead (result approximately similar.)

And then lo! – the Universe decided fair’s fair and gave me a leg up. In September 2010 a prominent New Age figure in America spotted my wellesleytudorpole.com website, and emailed me to arrange publication.

Starseed Publications (part of Lorian press) will bring out The Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole very soon. So get ready to place your order. (Come on, you want to know about the most remarkable Englishman of the last century, don’t you? Course you do!)

UPDATE: Gerry’s book is about to be released!! I am told that it will be available for order this week! We’ll keep you informed.


Anything else?

Well, seeing as you ask, look out (eventually) for The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (novel); also for A Short Selective Journey Through Hell (follow-up novel); and maybe even A Few Brief Sorties Into Heaven (if ever I find time). Yup, Gerry finally got back to self-expression. (Or, shall we say, expressing the Universe.) None of these novels are out as yet, but the future’s a wonderful place, and that’s where you’ll find them.

 

Meanwhile

Have a chat with Gerry, if inclined, on The Word Cloud. Not a member? Well, there’s a simple enough remedy for that, isn’t there?

There is a direct link from this blog, over there, on the left.

In their words;

“The Word Cloud is a free community where writers can read each other’s work, offer comments and get feedback. Our forums allow you to discuss books, scripts and writing with fellow writers, enter regular competitions, and much more.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

The site is run by The Writers’ Workshop & York Festival of Writing organiser; Harry Bingham, “The Boss”.  Harry is a busy published author of five fantastic but very different books, his most recent work being “Getting Published” which was published this year by A & C Black (The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook).

By Harry Bingham

Other regular professional contributors consist of a mixture of non-fiction and fiction authors across a variety of genres including:

Emma Darwin (A Secret Alchemy, The Mathematics of love)

By Emma Darwin

Jane Struthers (The Psychic’s bible and many, many more titles)

By Jane Struthers

Kate Allen (Fateful Deception, Perfidy and Perfection)

By Kate Allan

Debi Alper (Nirvana Bites, Trading Tatiana)

By Debi Alper

How these fantastic authors find the time to contribute, comment and critique, is beyond me! Their advice is invaluable to all who write.

From personal experience I can say without doubt that this is the most honest, friendly and unpretentious writers site that I have come across. Once you become a member you can understand why thousands of other writers have done the same; both published and unpublished alike.

It is devoid of any form of prejudice, bullying or cliqueiness, which I have observed on other sites and the critique is honest and professional.

I have made many friends through The Cloud, both cyber and in the flesh, and may not have continued on my writing journey if it had not been for this wonderful and encouraging people who camp within.

http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk

This weekend a group of dedicated writers will descend on London for the “Getting published” event.

Harry Bingham, of Writers’ Workshop / Word Cloud and author of  The Writers’ & Artists’ Guide to Getting Published, has organised the event to coincide with the launch of his aforementioned book. It looks to be an informative and exciting day and night.

A few months ago I was introduced to the Word Cloud by a fellow author and friend, and have not looked back. The people who frequent the site are helpful, creative and professional individuals with a real love of the written word. I would recommend you visit the site and judge for yourselves.