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Fairytale Inspiration

Fairy tales offer us story archetypes, making them rich pickings for writers. Their plots are well known and simple. This means you can tinker with a few elements to make the story your own. Angela Carter is the master when it comes to deconstructing fairy tales and making them her own. Your writing prompt: Take…

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Where Do You Write? Famous Writers’ Desks

Ever since Virginia Woolf wrote ‘A Room of One’s Own’ writers (many of whom haven’t read said essay) have dreamed of owning a retreat to write in – surely then, they could get that book finished. If only we had a room with a view of Tuscany, the ocean, a cabin in the woods or…

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Oh! What a Lovely War

Unless you have spent most of the last year asleep, on another planet or rowing solo across the Pacific you will have noticed that 2014 is the centenary of World War One. To mark this centenary there has been a wealth of programming on television, radio and events at Museums across the country, indeed the Imperial…

Photograph: Nancy Rica Schiff/Caters News Agency

Choosing a Job for Your Character

Giving your characters a career can be crucial. Imagine Philip Marlowe if he wasn’t a private investigator or Jason Bourne, if he wasn’t a highly trained secret agent. Without the skills provided by their jobs, neither character would get into the extreme situations we enjoy reading about and they certainly wouldn’t be able to deal…

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Going Old-School

A little gem my daughter turned up in a local charity shop has provided a lot of food for thought for me.  Not only was ‘The Writer’s Desk Book’ a stark reminder of how very much writing tools have changed over the last 80 years, there were some useful pages about editing.  For instance, the…

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Crossroads

What if Frodo hadn’t taken the one ring to Mordor and instead he’d used it for his own gain? What if Tess of the D’Urbevilles had never written that letter to Angel Clare? Would they have lived happily ever after or would the past have come back to haunt her anyway? Life is full of…

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Baby Suet by John Stone

We’ve a new contributor to the blog.  Let’s welcome Jonathan Stone, who’s written the following short story for critiquing.  This is the first time John has had his work read and, as we know, that’s a fragile and scary moment, so lots of encouragement, please! Baby Suet was motionless in shock. She had not expected…

Keeping fear at bay

Fear of Writing – 3 secrets of writer’s block

So I’ve been suffering from writer’s block for a few months now. Draft 3 of my WIP was heading towards a brick wall and then came to a complete standstill, when really what I need to do is just write. Once you lose momentum, it’s hard to get going again. But if you stop altogether,…

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And Then They Were Gone…

Abandoned places are intriguing. Kids are always trying to slip through fences to play on derelict plots of land or explore disused factories and empty houses. These spaces have a sense of decay and also an air of lawlessness. They are outside the norm, making them the perfect places for adventures and stories. Even now,…

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Winchester Festival by Chip Tolson

Day long workshops, hour-long lectures and a flurry of ‘One to Ones’ were the order of the day aided by fine weather enhancing the chance to mingle al fresco to chat, commiserate, encourage and enjoy a not inexpensive weekend. The Festival, in previous years The Winchester Writers Conference, stems from the University of Winchester’s Creative…