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This Week on Writers Abroad 3rd April
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

Those of you on Facebook will have seen that it was awash with April Fools, or Poissons díAvril as they are known in France, on Saturday. Some of them were quite clever Ė like the discovery of a Bronze Age duck to rival†the Uffington White Horse! Material for a story there, perhaps?

Itís Biekeís turn to supply this weekís Monday Muses and she may well provide the opportunity to develop some of those April Fool stories.

Laura is down to write this weekís blog post.

The Bragging stool is occupied this week by Sue with, quelle surprise(!), her †59th consecutive week on Ad Hoc. Chris Nís ĎGramps Retreatí was also chosen for Ad Hoc last week. And Laura has not one but two brags, with two pieces of flash fiction accepted by online journals. Congratulations to all.

WA Magazine. The deadline for copy was 1st April, so if youíve promised something and havenít yet submitted please send it to Jo ASAP so that she can get on with putting the mag together. The pinned post in the Mag forum, Issue 6 Content, shows who is down for what. Red indicates it has been delivered.

The April Challenges and Opportunities are now up, with something for everyone, but feel free to add competitions or writing opportunities. The March Challenge is still up with several pieces for critiquing and suggestions for opportunities.

Following the last formal chat, Jo has started a forum to gather ideas for attracting new members and for meeting their expectations better. There are some interesting thoughts and ideas already, but go along and have your say if you havenít already.

Thatís all this week. If Iíve missed anything or got anything wrong please let me know.

I will be absent for a few days. Iíll try to fill in gaps above before I go.

Happy writing week.

This Week on Writers Abroad 26th December
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

Happy Boxing Day! I hope youíve all had a great Christmas so far. For obvious reasons, the past week was quiet on WA and I expect this week will be as well. But if youíre not surrounded by family then itís a good opportunity to get on with some serious writing.

In this weekís blog, Laura describes how her NaNoWriMo project foundered but then morphed into something else. She finished her revised project by her December deadline and is now taking the Christmas period off to refresh herself before taking it up again. Good for Laura, who was courageous in recognising that something wasnít working but saw the continuing possibilities in it.

Monday Muses Ė itís Maggieís turn this week to provide some ideas to whet your imaginationís appetite.

The Bragging Stool is unoccupied this week, unless I have missed something.

The January Challenge, re-titled Opportunities, will shortly be posted up in the Writing Room forum by Lesley, who chaired the last formal meeting. If you have ideas for competitions, publishing opportunities or other writing openings, please post in the comments once the thread is up. The December Challenge is still up with several pieces for critiquing and suggestions for opportunities.

Donít forget to pay your WA membership sub Ė Jo has set up a thread in the Notice Board forum, where you can click on a link and pay directly via PayPal.

Thatís all this week. If Iíve missed anything or got anything wrong please let me know. Iím off to continue with my current WiP. Iíve set a deadline of 15th January to finish it. With a target of 8,000 words per week, Iíve got my work cut out, but Iím determined to get it done.

It only remains to wish everyone the very best for the rest of the Christmas period and a happy, healthy and productive 2017.

Bring Back the Art of Letter Writing
Category: Writing
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers letter writing epistolary novels

As a literary device, letters are a gift for authors. But the noble art of letter writing seems to have gone into freefall. I think this is a shame, but Iím the first to admit that I donít write more than the tersest of emails these days.

Time to write

Until the invention of the telegram, people communicated in writing. Iím astonished at the amount of time they could devote to penning letters.

In the 18th century, the Earl of Chesterfield wrote more than 400 letters to his illegitimate son over a 30-year period. They were published as Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman (1774). The letters were never actually intended for publication, but came to be considered a manual on the ways of the world. Chesterfield was a politician, essayist and patron of the arts, but he still found the time to compose these elegant missives.

Novel device

Letters have been popular with authors for centuries as a literary form, especially during the 18th century. Aphra Behn, Samuel Richardson, and a number of French writers, including Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) wrote epistolary novels.

They fell out of favour in the early 19th century, but were back by the end. Modern writers, such as Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk about Kevin), have used letters to powerful effect, especially to convey the point of view of an unreliable witness. They are also a way of increasing dramatic tension where a character is unaware of relevant things going on.


A set of real-life letters inspired my own novel, The House at Zaronza. A Corsican village schoolmaster wrote them in the 1890s to a young woman, whose bourgeois parents would have strongly disapproved of their liaison. The lovers communicated via a secret letter drop. A hundred years later, his letters were found walled up in the attic of her house, which is now a B&B.

Despite being a busy person, the schoolmaster wrote more than simple notes fixing their assignations. They are passionate love letters, elegantly phrased and carefully constructed.

100 years hence?

Todayís instant communication media donít lend themselves to this kind of prose. In emails and text messages you can dispense with pronouns and direct/indirect articles and even complete words in the interests of speed.

So how would my lovers, Maria and RaphaŽl, have communicated today? By SMS, I suppose. Assuming their mobile phones stood the test of time, would ĎCU @ 4í followed by a smiley really stir the imagination of a novelist in 100 yearsí time? Call me an old fogey, but it wouldnít do it for me.

Do you still write letters in the traditional way?


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The House at Zaronza
tagged: writers, abroad, vanessa, couchman, historical, and fiction
Love is All You Need: Ten tales of love from The Sophie King Prize
tagged: writers, abroad, sophie, king, prize, alyson, and hillbourne
Out of Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, croft, members, and publications
The Duke's Shadow
tagged: the, duke-s, shadow, louise, charles, debut, and novel
Foreign & Far Away
tagged: writers, abroad, amanda, hodkinson, books, charity, anthology, 2013...
Losing Control
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
tagged: nina, croft, writes, and abroad
Conversations with S. Teri O'Type
tagged: writers, abroad, christopher, and allen
Break Out
tagged: writers, abroad, ninca, and croft
Deadly Pursuit
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
The Calling
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
Big Book of New Short Horror
tagged: featuring, wa, member, alyson, and hillbourne
Tiger of Talmare
tagged: writers, abroad, nina, and croft
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