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Writing Books Tags: Writing reference books

Bloggers Block = Spring Cleaning


It’s the truth, I’m spring cleaning because I’ve no idea what to blog about - I know, I know, I recently wrote a poem about finding happiness by clearing out clutter - but hey, wait a minute now, what’s all this? I'm emptying one of many bookcases. And before I reach for that vacuum cleaner with the special book-cleaning nozzle I am lost....





I honestly cannot remember the last time I turned one page of these books. And look at the treasure trove they are. Is it becoming just too easy to google every question?  



Does advice like this still hold true in today's edgy world of writing?






Does the 1913 Quiller lecture to 'Gentlemen' come across as far too stuffy, far too out of date?


Picasso, before he 'did his own thing', studied the 'right way' to do it then went ahead and broke all the rules. Successfully. Should we follow Picasso's example?


And what of the rules? and the rights and wrongs of how to send in query letters, how to pitch the publisher, how to... how to... how to... Or are the clever folks writing and publishing these editions the ones who have got it right by making money out of us who feel we continually need to check - that we have it right?



Of course, I still get tempted to splash out on the latest writing book.  This one is the result of the dangers of having an amazon wishlist.




The images above are the tip of my writing books iceberg - but deep beneath is this one from 1886.



It was obviously popular and useful in its day.  I'm still discovering really good advice too.



How many ‘on writing’ books do you have weighing down your bookshelves?  And how frequently do you refer to them?


It is going to take some motivation to get me back into the spring cleaning.

Instead I will gently turn the delicate pages of The Spelling Book Superceded 1886 and imagine the owner, one, Henrietta Bichard, consulting it as she worked on her writing.


This Week on WA 12th February
Category: Site News
Tags: writers Abroad News

It has been another busy week for many members of Writers Abroad.

Voting on the magazine versus newsletter resulted in the newsletter being agreed as a way forward for now. The what and when details yet to be discussed.

Members are updating posts on their writing plans and goals; we all know that plans are ever-shifting so reviewing and updating on a regular basis is a great idea.

The February challenges and opportunities thread is being added to all the time, and Alyson has taken up the challenge to write a really tough story with a 2099 setting in an American city. What a wowzer of a challenge and what an impressive offering from Alyson. If you haven't already - check this one out.

Angela, too, has a wonderful unicorn story resulting from last week's muses. Any publishers of stories for children out there? This one is well worthy of going to print.

And take a look at Jill's 'Bend in the River' a breathtaking piece also resulting from last week's muses. 

The Adhoccers are keeping up the beat as always, and it is really good to see new mum Luara back in the saddle. Great stories as always.

Speaking of which, yours truly attended a poetry and story telling event yesterday (Sunday) - reading from the Ad Hoc files is always fun. And swift too. It felt good to give them an outing.

As for this week - the muses are up thanks to Angela, Maggie's blog should be posted shortly.

Hope I've not forgotten anything - if I have, just holler. Have a good week all. 

Should We Write When We Are Sick?
Category: Writing
Tags: NaNo Writing when sick



Not a Christmas blog for you, nevertheless, it is seasonal for many, I am sure.






You’re as weak as a kitten, high on medication, defying healing advice, and the ‘r’ word: ‘rest’.


Why the defiance? Why can’t you just give in and concentrate on getting well?


Because you are a writer of course, and you are at a time in your life when writing is on a par with breathing. You have words to capture, protagonists to develop, and scenes and sequels abounding in your head. And yes, you still have stories to tell.


Especially in November.


November seems to be my month for picking up some bug or other and depleting my strength. It keeps me housebound and I get through copious amounts of tea.


It is also National Novel Writing Month. A month on thousands of writers’ calendars as the 30 days in which to draft a novel. This year was my 11th official year, and I’d almost decided give NaNo a miss. That was until some of the members of Writers Abroad threw the temptation my way.


But I was sick.


I kicked the month off with cellulitis requiring high dose antibiotics, you don’t really need to know that, other than it affected all I did for the rest of the month. Mid month left-eye cataract surgery meant I was functioning on blurry vision while waiting for the right eye. Then, shock horror, a serious chest infection flattened me.  Some of the meds induced hallucinating effects. 


But, you know what, I didn’t stop writing. Hallucinating effects can be precious to a writer. Delirium is like treasure. My NaNo novel was like a runaway train, sometimes clocking up over 3,000 words a day. I began on November 1st with only a title and a book cover design (because that’s the way I roll), and then I wrote up a storm to fill those covers and do the title justice.



I crossed the finish line on November 20th, a week before my 74th birthday. Over 50,000 words accomplished in under 3 weeks.


So, I ask you again, should you write when you are sick? It’s a personal question. My reply is, ‘yes’. This draft novel wouldn’t exist without the NaNo challenge and the team spirit of Writers Abroad, and here’s the thing, those words would be different if I hadn’t been sick, if I’d been bright eyed and bushy tailed. Quite different.


And that’s what makes our writing unique, we haven’t just captured words, protagonists, scenes et al, we’ve captured the way we, as writers, feel at a particular moment in time.


And I know that when I open up my draft novel in the new year I will ask myself, ‘did I really write that?'


My congratulations to my WA colleagues on achieving their NaNo novels too. Between us, we’ve written over a quarter of a million words in 30 days.


A very happy Christmas to you all.


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