Blog Entries
September 26th. 2016
Category: Site News

Monday Muse

Inspiration by Vanessa - What do you see out of the window? What happens at a reunion? Try to use these words in a story or poem: roses, telephone, aspirin, bridge, luggage.

Also some amazing images.


Jill has provided this week's blog - the topic, writing what you know - or maybe not.

Works in Progress

Comments please on Angela's piece for the magazine.

The Meeting Room

Nicola posted the minutes of the Formal Chat the aim of which was to discuss the future of the anthology. As there were not enough members present to make a decision there will be a definitive vote on the site.

Bragging Stool

Jill is long listed with her 'Urban Nightmare' story.

A quick reminder: The deadline for submissions to the next issue of our magazine is 30th September.

 Informal Chat: Sunday October 9th. at 11 a.m. CET.

Formal chat: Sunday, October 23rd. at 4 p.m. CET with Sue in the chair.



What you Don't Know
Category: Writing
Tags: Writing identity cultural theft

What you Don’t Know

As writers, we never stop hearing the phrase ‘write what you know’. But should we stick to that? What about writing about what we don’t know, from the point of view of someone of a different race, ethnic background, or someone underprivileged, disabled…I won’t go on, you get the picture. Lionel Shriver recently caused offence on this controversial subject at a talk she gave in Australia, in an attempt to support a writer’s right to do this. An author in her audience walked out, clearly stating her disagreement.

Whether the latter was right or wrong is personal opinion. I read both sides to the story. Both made good points. It seems the speaker came over as arrogant to this writer who felt Shriver was profiting from less-privileged lives for her own financial gain – a kind of identity theft. Shriver felt identity politics had gone too far. After all, fiction is fiction.

Neither of them expected fiction writers not to invent stories. A crime writer need not be a criminal (although being an ex-policeman no doubt helps) or a writer covering abuse need not be a victim of rape. But these thoughts led me on to the point that first-hand experiences sell, whether as autobiography or fiction. Publishers love it. This may seem unfair but a reality we’re forced to accept. Many readers enjoy – my husband was one – fiction that is ‘based on a true story’.

Although it is certainly not wrong – in my opinion – to write from the point of view of someone from another culture, sexual or gender category or get inside the head of someone in a situation you don’t have first-hand experience of, it is challenging. And an awkward habit of mine! I admit to a slight unease and – despite my research efforts – remain a tad anxious; questioning my accuracy and fearing I’ve only scratched the surface.

Or when entering short story competitions, guidelines state ‘nothing of a racist nature considered’, and yet the theme of my piece might be racism, not mine as an author (that would be wrong) but through the eyes of a character and/or a political situation. So should I wait for someone who has ‘been there’ to write about it rather than attempt it myself? I assume a competition judge is wary of giving offence, so has added this rule just in case. Though, for me, it’s not so much the racial nature of the story, it’s how it’s told – not to offend in the first place.

Is this perhaps why historical fiction is generally set in an era going back fifty years or more? Often written by writers who were not even alive then, and few witnesses will be around to air their views on the subject. Certainly, the dilemma is more likely to arise in contemporary fiction.

Oh, to write sci-fi or horror! That way my problem would be solved.


This Week 19th September 2016
Category: Site News
So, Summer is over in this hemisphere, and it’s time (for me at least) to get down to some serious writing. Here’s what’s been happening this week on WA:
Blog – Sally brings us a fascinating blog this week about using writing to get frustrations out of our system and asks the question - how many of us write cathartically?
Muse – Lesley will be providing the muses today and I’m sure they will be packed with inspiration!
Bragging Stool - It’s been a little quiet on the bragging stool this week. Although we can always rely on Sue. She’s had an amazing 33 weeks on the ad-hoc site – must be a record. Apparently the prompt for this week is ‘spray’ if anyone would like to join in.
Crilly and Laura meet in Hong Kong Crilly is really getting around (and why was there no Spain-stop on this trip, Crilly?) She and Laura met up in Hong Kong, and if you pop over to Members Meet in the forums you’ll see the photographic evidence – they both look great!
Nano is approaching. I’ll be participating as per usual. Hope some of you will join me – so if you haven’t already started - get plotting now.
And a quick reminder: The deadline for submissions to the next issue of our magazine is 30th September but we are encouraged to submit material earlier if possible.
The next formal chat is on Sunday, 25th September, 11am CET where I will be in the chair and we’ll be discussing the anthology, so get your thoughts together.

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