Archive for the ‘Writing Career Development’ 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…

 

 

 

This is no excuse, but i’ve been trying to earn a living.

I’m starting my own company, and it’s hard work this self-employment lark.

Excitement and adrenaline have taken over the tiredness from a severe lack of sleep. 

Not only have I been setting up a business, training and researching for my first client and new friend, but I also had the opportunity to go to this years Hay Festival, so it would have been rude not to go (teehee).

Unfortunately, I missed Rob Lowe, darn it!

I’m in the process of writing a blog about Hay, amongst other topics, which I will post on here in the next couple of days.

I promise not to neglect my wonderful readers and followers again. 

I recently received my copy of The Winchester Writers’ Conference Anthology 2010 and it is a fantastic read. For those of us that entered the competitions last year, it was good to read the winning entries and analyse what the judges look for. My own entry into the Short Story competition received a commendation which was one hell of an achievement; i’ve been writing (seriously) for two years.

I can’t stress enough, how important I think it is for a writer to enter competitions and, or, attend conferences. The feedback you receive is vital for your growth and necessary sustenance for your long journey on the road to becoming a published author.

I am proud to announce that my name is published in the anthology (see below), though sadly, my story is not.

I have uploaded the story onto  if you wish to read it http://beta.iwritereadrate.com/books/view/36

The adjudicator for this particular competition was John Jenkins, publisher and editor. 

Here is what he wrote about the entries;

“Compiling  a competition short list from a host of short story entries is not too difficult if you approach the task methodically, work away from other distractions and concentrate. You ask yourself a number of questions:

What was the author trying to achieve?

Did he or she succeed?

Was it worth the effort?

Would I as an editor publish it inviting people to pay for the privilege of reading it and using up some of their time?

It is, as sports commentators twitter: a tough ask. But the answer for everybody on the short list was yes.

To assist in this course of action it is usual to de-construct the story under a variety of headings: Opening, Title, Plot/theme, Pace, Characters, Entertainment, Dialogue, Language and Ending. Other judges use more, e.g. story arc – and occasionally fewer headings.

Then there is something indefinable, a certain je ne sais quoi. Much as I deplore foreign phrases there is nothing quite as accurate as this one.

One story will score high on all headings but another will be a better story. It will resonate in the mind either because the tale is beautifully told or it strikes a chord where a chord needed striking.”

You can enter the 2011 competitions by logging onto this site: http://www.writersconference.co.uk/

Good Luck!

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

I am about to open a can of worms. I know this, but I feel so passionate about the subject that I need to comment on it.

 

I’m the proud owner of an iPad (which is annoyingly now updated! But that’s a whole different blog!).

 

My iPad is mainly used for writing and reading (amongst other things). Those of you that have visited this blog before will know that I am an avid reader and lover of books; these can be paper or electronic. My loyalties and heart will always be with paper. The feeling you get whilst turning a page; the scent that fills the air around you with nostalgia and memories whilst you hold your tome of choice in your hands. But, we have to accept that times are changing and the format from which we read is rapidly changing too. I own a vast number of EBooks in a variety of genres and each year I purchase fifty or more paper books; the majority of which are new releases.

Some girls buy shoes…. I buy books.

I am writing this blog as a reader primarily, and a writer secondary.

What driving force leads you to select one book / genre over another?

For me, it’s not a pretty cover – I know the marketing processes having worked in sales and PR – or whether it’s on a table at the front of a shop. It’s not because it’s an Amazon / iTunes best-seller (though, I do check those lists). When selecting my books I either read a sample chapter or extended blurb / first couple of pages, or it’s because of a recommendation; word of mouth. Most of my friends are avid readers too. I have also been known to contact friends on creative writing courses and ask for their reading lists (yes, i’m that sad).

A thirst for knowledge (non-fiction), beautiful wording and a great story drive me to buy my books.

Two weeks ago I purchased a selection of eBooks. Some of my choices were recommended by Twitter friends (followers), or were by the authors themselves. I’m happy to say that the majority were fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed them…BUT…there were some hefty duds amongst my purchases and I only wished that they came with return and refund guarantee!

It’s disappointing and grinding to read an opening chapter FULL of typing errors, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues. I know that some clever person is going to go through this blog and find errors (I hope not!) but i’m not making people pay to visit! If the story seemed reasonable, I tried to continue (red pen extracted from my mind) but this only uncovered more issues; gaping holes in the plot, uncharacteristic behaviours, unbelievable dialogue, amongst many other problems. I know that this is not the norm, but it’s becoming more prevalent.

Why is this happening? How are these terrible books getting published?

This is only my opinion, feel free to offer your own, but I believe that it is because many more people are self-publishing. Anyone can purchase software and produce an eBook. Writers who do this are generally bypassing the copy-editing stage. Proofreading your own book doesn’t count. By the time you come to the end of your WIP you will have read the same text over and over; you won’t spot even the most basic mistakes.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I implore you, as a keen reader / potential customer (also trainee copy-editor), before you publish anything; pay for it to be professionally edited. There are so many companies out there offering this facility (I will be one very soon!) and it is well worth the money if you want people to buy your books.

This experience has put me off purchasing any more eBooks by self-published authors.

I’m hoping some wonderful author will come forth and change my mind! I don’t like discrimination!

I sincerely hope that no one takes offence to this blog, only accepting it for what it is; advice and help for a fellow writer.

Now let’s get out there and show them how it is done!


Is pain a gateway to creativity?

A gifted author decided to open up on a writers’ forum of which I am a member, about the recent death of his pet cat. It was not so much the subject that touched others as well as myself, but the way he wrote about the passing of his beloved member of the family.

He waited with his pet at the vets while the poor creature was put to sleep due to terrible injuries. The writer talked about looking into his cat’s eyes and realising the moment life left its damaged body; the visibility of separation.

 

I found his account moving and honest.

After a few private tears (memories triggered of my own losses), I began thinking about death and pain; about how we use the negative emotions they create and channel them into our work.

Could any of us write about death, pain, loss or hurt in a believable way without ever experiencing any or all of them for ourselves? I think not.

I read in a recent article that a certain amazing British soul singer / ex heroin addict wrote her best-selling album whilst going through the terrible pain of a break up, and has not found it so easy now that her life is in order……….

So, to reiterate the questions above: is death / loss a gateway to real life, and to the life of your writing?

Does the pain we are forced to endure open up our creative floodgates?

What are your feelings on this? Feel free to tell me about any of your own experiences, i’m interested. What emotions trigger your most impressive / believable writing?

Feel free to post in the comments section. If you agree, I would like to use your experiences in a future blog post.

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……….