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The Ideas' Shop
Category: Writing
Tags: writing not writing

(The might be part of the problem - its called sun and is a fairly rare occurence where I currently live...)

                                   The Idea’s Shop
I’m having a lean week, by which I mean, not that I’m on a diet but I haven’t written much. This is partly because we’ve been busy with other things but sometimes being busy gives me ideas to jot down. This week no ideas have come. 
     I’ve tried the usual tricks — listening to conversations in cafes, looking at news headlines, reading, checking the Writers Abroad muses — but so far, nothing. 
     I do keep an ideas book where I jot down possible story titles and themes but even this hasn’t yielded anything this week. 
     I could just write. Free write. But I like to have a story idea roughed out on my head and know the ending before I begin otherwise I know to my cost, I end up with many, many half written pieces that just end up getting binned. 
     The situation isn’t worrying me yet, but it is niggling. I have time to write but nothing to work on. I know ideas will come back. This has happened before, usually when my routines are disturbed. I need to get back into the groove.
      And I have plenty of reference books and ideas sheets to turn to (a personal favourite is Linda Lewis’s Writer’s Treasury of Ideas), but I should like to get through this myself. Meanwhile I’m trawling through old stories that haven’t got anywhere but are still lurking at the back of my computer. Hopefully I can rework one or two of them and that will jump start my writing again. 
      Or maybe I can pop out to the ideas shop…
      Any tricks you use to help with a lean patch?
      Any favourite books which help?
      Do you keep an ideas book to help with motivation?
      And do you have the same problems if you are writing a novel? Or have you done enough planning to get through the blank patches?
May 2018 News
Category: Site News

Here is the link to our May Newsletter

Will IT destroy us?
Category: Writing

A glance at history will show how so many discoveries started out as a boon and mutated into a bane.


Antibiotics were one of our finest medical breakthroughs. Used correctly, they still would be, but overprescription has led nature to develop infections resistant to any drug. Our saviour is suddenly potentially lethal.


Is IT the next antibiotics? Exponential growth of a connected and highly complex world offers myriad vulnerabilities to the unscrupulous. The ransomware attacks brought the UK National Health Service and giant corporations to their knees until solutions could be found. The next war has already started, devoid of bombs and bullets. Instead, some anonymous hacker, armed with a keyboard and mouse, can black out a country’s electricity supply at the touch of a button.


The hugely negative impact on society has hit the spotlight with the Facebook scandal. The tech giants have at last been outed as amoral profit seekers, pushing their technologies even when they knew of the dangers. Unfettered and unregulated, they have merely shrugged their shoulders at any suggestion that with power comes responsibility for the millions whose personal data has been violated.


A new individual morality – or is that immorality? – has surfaced. Many see nothing wrong in cyber bullying or hurling vile abuse across the ether that they would not countenance face to face. Taxed with the damage or even death that they have caused, such trolls remain unmoved. Somehow in their eyes, the remoteness of the attacks absolves them of any blame.


Today’s generation are born tech-savvy, but there is a growing realisation that screen addiction is damaging their learning abilities, their social skills and denying them a normal childhood. The head of one of UK’s best schools is in the van of a movement to ban screens in school, stating: ‘Digital devices have no place in childhood’.


For me, the greatest threat is as yet lurking in the wings. It is artificial intelligence, AI. These systems that self-learn and correct their own mistakes are poised to revolutionise life’s every facet. AI is at the heart of an upsurge in driverless vehicles that are supposedly programmed to recognise every hazard and increase their vocabulary by experience. Already they have caused two deaths because of their inability to recognise a danger and the driver’s to retake control in time.


Already too, scenarios are presaged where almost every task is undertaken by AI machines and virtually nobody works. Imagine the devastating impact on a world where you cannot earn a living. Who will provide the money for your needs and what will happen to our social structures and interactions?


The significant danger of AI is that the machines eventually take over and refuse any outside instructions. Robert Harris’ spine-chilling novel ‘The Fear Index’ graphically illustrates that very eventuality. Unless governments act immediately to regulate and contain AI, 1984 will become a reality.


I fear for mankind.






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