Here's one that's been doing the rounds on Facebook: "In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard - they don't have to be the "right" or "great" works, just the ones that have touched you." Here…

That “Aha!” Moment

I've just had an "Aha!" moment. It was one of those moments we writers live for, when a sudden flash of elucidation sets your writing morning on fire, reminding you why you're sitting at your desk sweating blood, struggling to get your story down on the page. This particularly sweet "Aha!" moment came as a…

The Paperback Collective

A few months ago a very enterprising young woman called Jayde-Ashe (you can visit her lovely blog right here) had an idea. She wanted to establish a monthly online magazine of creative talent, showcasing stories, essays, poems, articles and photographs from contributors around the world. So she did it. And I'm in Issue Four, which you…

Grammar – Its important

I am a Grammar Nazi. I am one of those infuriating people who can't help pointing out the redundant commas, misplaced apostrophes and spelling mistakes in any written document. Some of the authors are appreciative. Others immediately cross me off their Christmas party invite list (I'd point out all the errors on the invitation, for…

Music to Write By

If I'm lucky, every week I spend a number of happy hours by myself, writing. Music is often my only companion. If I'm really concentrating - trying to craft a particularly tricky sentence, or juggling a complicated plot sequence, I turn it off, but most of the time it is the perfect accompaniment. I'm like Pavlov's dogs: the minute…

How to Write a Successful Media Release

A bit of practical writing advice today gleaned from my years working first as a journalist and then in PR and Marketing. Perhaps you work for a community organisation and you want your local newspaper to publish stories about your work. Maybe you are a member of your local theatre / kindergarten association / sports club…

The Bank of Words

Robert Southey said: "It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn." Short fiction - good short fiction - can have an emotional impact and resonance not found in quite the same way in longer fiction. That is why I love it. The trouble is, it's fecking hard…