Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Logan's Run

Last week the DVD I have wanted for years was advertised in the paper as being finally released. I nearly found myself jumping out of my seat on the train and telling the unsuspecting woman next to me. For years I have been obsessed with the dystopia world in Logan's Run - the themes of escaping authority, the future, brave new worlds, fighting the system. I had seen this film on the television as a child one Christmas and was amazed. After reading Nineteen-eighty four I knew it wasn't the most sophisticated story but I was still pining to own this film. I even contemplated buying a region one and then purchasing a multi-region DVD player. But then the tiny advert in the paper came to my rescue.
Rushing to the shop after a lunchtime gym session, I scanned the shelves and nothing. This was the shop that it was advertised. Heading to the counter and a girl in scruffy t-shirt and baggy jeans (she looked liked she has just fallen out of a mosh pit).
"Could you please search for Logan's Run?"
"Never heard of it," she mumbled.
Immediately I became defensive inside but I still smiled on the outside. The girl made no further movement to search on the computer or even help.
"Would your computer system know?"
She took a deep sigh and reluctantly marched to the computer.
The computer had said No. Apparently the film didn't exist. She gave me a look as if I were a crazy person sent to crush her precious world.
She told me to try the rival next door and shrugged. It was over.
I still don't own one of favourite childhood TV films - I didn't want to use the internet as I want to hold the physical item and have it immediately but I guess I will have to go crawling back.

PS. I am currently re-editing the 'birthday story' and also an online e-zine have asked for a rewrite on a poem.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Litcamp - the write up

(Friday 12th September)
Propelling through the countryside on the train as I head towards London. Trying to read and desperately finish Gods Behaving Badly but I am still tired. I was up until one this morning typing up a story from bits of notes just so that I can get some feedback. I didn't get much time to read through and analyse so I'm bracing myself for some harsh criticism. Rumblings of the train as it jolts along the track keeps me awake.

Met Kerry for a quick sip of a Starbucks and catch up. Then we headed down Holloway Road, passing a vintage clothes (pointed out by Kerry) (Need to visit at some point), heading towards my university. I was only here last week and I 'm sort of dreading being back. What if its as poorly organised as the lectures? Also see Lisa from my bookselling days in the crowd, has been a long time since I've seen both Kerry and Lisa. Was it the last time when we saw the recording of the radio 4 quiz show?

Talk one - Getting Inside the Editor's Head
  • Covering letter - indicate your potential market
  • Do homework about agent and cilents - reflect in the covering letter
  • Start covering letter with agent's name
  • Remember it is subjective - if an agent doesn't like it - send to another
  • Create an emotional pull into the book with your covering letter
  • With literay fiction the writing style is the most important
Talk two - Publishing in a Digital Age
  • Internet has readers and writers directly interacting
  • Writers can control their marketing with the internet
Talk three - The Short Story Route to Success
  • Surround yourself with people who understand
  • "I only want the stories that make you forget your reading" - instructions to the readers for Bridport prize
  • When editing:
  1. Effectiveness of the title
  2. Opening paragraph
  3. Special characters
  4. Dialogue
  5. Thematic depth
  6. pacing
  7. Seduction of the piece
Talk four - The Last Page (Novel)
  • Swirling idea in the head
  • Self drive and determination

My feedback was positive and I was agreed with the criticism - it needed sme reshaping and rearranging with some of the events - an idea I had been thinking about on the journey towards Litcamp. The event ws great fun and would love to go again to attend the other talks that I missed.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Fairytale at the Lakeside

A flash success over at six sentences!

Fairytale at the Lakside is here.

Notes about Litcamp will follow shortly.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Lit Camp is tomorrow


download the latest programme here as an A4 printable file
Arrival/Coffee/Intro/Sign-up for Evening Session/10-minute Zone

DIY Book: a self-publisher’s story - Paul Ewen

Paul Ewen, who self published a book of short fiction, London Pub Reviews, shares his experiences in a workshop session that covers the basic steps you must go through if you choose the self-publish route. Joining him is Carol Barnes of Lulu.com

The first page

A confidence-building session for people new to writing. Imaginative exercises to help you to find inspiration in the ordinary, create characters that live and breathe. Tutor: Bridget Whelan.
prose - all levels

Getting inside the editor’s head

Rosalind Porter, senior editor with Granta magazine, Laura Barber of Portobello Books, and Tom Chalmers of Legend Press open the lid on publishing from the editor’s point of view. Later in the session, we hear from agent Hannah Westland of Rogers Coleridge & White about where she, as an agent, fits into that process.
fiction - advanced


Finding, or inventing, the right place for your work

Dr Sarah Law, poet and tutor at London Metropolitan University, talks with Les Robinson, director of Tall Lighthouse Press, and poet Maggie Butt about innovative ways for young poets to drive their careers forward, including how to write poetry for a public setting.

Buffet lunch provided. Time to meet and mingle, browse the book table, take part in the 10-minute Zone, or use the Writing Room - perhaps even to draft a fresh piece for the Evening Session.

10-Minute Zone

A space for informal discussion on writing-related topics of relevance to LitCampers. Sign up on the day, or just show up. Speakers have 4 mins, then it’s open to the floor. Change of topic every 10 minutes. Runs at lunch/recesses, or whenever, for people seeking an interactive space.


From Wannabe to Published

Not every would-be writer successfully manages this transition, but Jane Wenham-Jones has done. The novelist, freelance journalist and non-fiction author has pragmatic tips to offer writers who are just starting out.


Publishing in a digital age: how does the writer go forward?

Keith Ridgway, the author of three novels and of shorter fiction, wonders how the increasing array of digital publishing possibilities will impact on the traditional relationships between writers, agents and publishers, and readers. Discussion with agent Hannah Westland of RCW, digital publishing executive with Pan Macmillan, Michael Bhaskar, and digital publisher Val Stephenson of Nth Position.


Poetry workshop with Sarah Law

An exercise based workshop designed to strengthen writing abilities for anyone new to poetry or needing fresh inspiration. Sarah Law has published two collections of poetry with Stride. Her third, Perihelion, is published by Shearsman Books.
poetry - all levels

The short story path to success - Vanessa Gebbie

A writer who has won many awards for her stories and whose first short fiction collection Words From A Glass Bubble was recently published by Salt Books, Vanessa Gebbie shares ideas on developing your writing strategy, the importance of networking, and whether to blog.
short fiction - all levels

How to make a living while you write

Earn a living while you draft and revise your magnum opus. Bridget Whelan teaches at City Lit and Goldsmiths College, London. Her first novel A Good Confession is soon to be published by Severn House and she is also the author of a short book Make Money from Your Writing.

Coffee break + 10-minute Zone continues, featuring Courttia Newland, co-founder and editor of Tell Tales.

Willesden Green Writers Group

The first time this group published a book of its members’ work, they won a prestigious award. Here to share practical tips for how to run a successful writer-led group are leader Anne Mullane, and editor of their next book Bilal Ghafoor. Reading work developed in the group is Jarred McGinnis.


The Last Page

Farahad Zama and Nicholas Hogg discuss the challenges of completing a first novel, and ways of managing plot to ensure the final cut is one that works for readers. Nicholas is the author of Show Me the Sky, and Farahad’s forthcoming novel The Marriage Bureau for Rich People will be published in 2009 by Little Brown.

All day

The Writing Room

A quiet space open all day for a break, note-taking reading etc. Laptops may be used, internet access tbc.

The Evening Session

Katy Darby of Liars League introduces an eclectic mix of writers drawn from LitCampers whose names we’ve yet to discover. Sign up early to get a spot. Also featuring: Jay Bernard, Farahad Zama, Vanessa Gebbie, Bridget Whelan, Nicholas Hogg, Maggie Butt, Bilal Ghafoor, Courttia Newland…

Principles of a Story

Sorting some folders and trying to create some space for new books, I came across Principles of a Story, an interesting article about writing short stories by Raymond Carver. He wrote about everyday, normal, suburban life – if a women wrote about this subject it would have been banded domestic fiction but his writing was fresh, interesting and touched a nerve with people. Shortcuts, a 90s film, is based on several of Carver’s short stories being spliced together.

The article discusses Carver’s love of the short story and his opinion on what makes a champion narrative. I’ve picked out a few interesting points:

  • “It’s possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language…with immense, even startling power.”
  • “It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader’s spine.”
  • “What creates tension in a piece of fiction is partly the way the concrete words are linked together to make up the visible action of the story.”
  • “The short story writer’s task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in this power.”

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Good Morning, Welcome to your last day on Earth

The radio pulled me from my relaxing dream (I've been dreaming about knitting and I have been waking up feeling very relaxed) to the announcement that today was everyone's last day on earth. What hype! If the scientists made a black hole it would be the size of a particle and I am sure no aliens/end of world can happen.

Yesterday I got a rejection. But it had a positive at the end: "we value your creativity and encourage you to please continue to submit new work." - Its better than "NO" or not replying.

I cheered myself up by buying a beautiful, summery new bag. I'm going to use it for LitCamp!

And no more writing project for University hanging like a piece of heavy, chav jewellery around my neck. Gave it to registry and celebrated with the boyfriend with a whole day in London. We started with a tour of Emirates stadium, British Museum for the American Scene exhibition - The prints from the 30s reminded me of Brief Encounter.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Writing Projects

Tomorrow I hand in my writing project for my Masters. What a painful experience it has been.
1.) Admissions seem to let anyone, and I mean anyone take this 'writing' course. If you can fill out the form then you could join.
2.) Tutors convincing us not to visit them outside the lessons
3.) Getting feedback for my project a few days before deadline with no positive notes. (It was my fault. I should not have emailed my work to him)

Basically, I have been disappointed with the course. I could have sat up last night trying to 'fix' my novel to fit my tutor's tastes but sometimes you need to know when to call it a day.
In a few weeks time I will probably go back to my work and start rethinking but I am exhausted of the course.
I thought it would put me off writing for a little while but yesterday I started the short story for the Boyfriend. Its going to be a late birthday present. Also I am enjoying writing it too!