Author Archive

Writing Critique Partners   1 comment

I came across the idea of finding a critique partner while listening to a podcast from Helping Writers Become Authors (http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/podcasts/).

This seemed like a brilliant idea – a different way to get a perspective on my writing, and to help others with theirs – and a good supplement to my monthly writers’ group meetings.

The podcast suggested that getting a critique partner whom you could trust was a hard, time consuming task. After all, you need to find someone you are comfortable with, so you can share ideas and criticisms without taking each comment as a personal insult.

I thought I’d pursue the matter further and so a quick search on the web took me to this great resource: http://thewritelife.com/find-a-critique-partner/ which contains a list of online writing forums and critique communities, most of whom are free to join.

Having gone through the list, I delved into the Critique.org (http://critique.org/index.php) workshops because the community there was started for science fiction and fantasy writers, and a lot of my work fits into those genres.

It was a simple process to register on the site. It involved picking a workshop (there are workshops covering different writing genres) and completing a short form to supply my contact details and a short bio. Once completed, I was rewarded with a username and password, and a commitment to critique a piece of work at least once a week. I’ve done this a couple of times already, and it’s a fun process. You have to remember to follow the critique response guides as you don’t want to be rude or discouraging to fellow writers, and there are a few style rules to follow, but you can’t really go wrong.

Next step for me is to submit a piece for critique, and then hold my breath and wait for the responses. As long as I keep submitting critiques back, then my piece should be reviewed a few weeks after submission.

Advertisements

May 16 Bird list   Leave a comment

May 2016 bird species in and around our garden:

  • Blackbird;
  • Collared Dove;
  • Siskin;
  • Jackdaw;
  • Crow;
  • House Sparrow;
  • Chaffinch;
  • Robin;
  • Red Kite;
  • Coal Tit;
  • Goldfinch;
  • Greenfinch;
  • Swallow;
  • Blue Tit;
  • Great Tit;
  • Oyster Catcher;
  • Song Thrush;
  • Geese;
  • Buzzard;
  • Swift;
  • Bullfinch;
  • Gull;
  • Wood Pigeon

Posted June 17, 2016 by Alan Clark in Bird, Dumfries and Galloway, Garden, Nature, Village

A Question of Titles   3 comments

Does anyone know which of these sentences is the most correct:

“Mr Smith went to the market.”

“Mister Smith went to the market.”

Would there be occasions when one form would be preferred over the other?

 

 

Posted June 10, 2016 by Alan Clark in Grammar, Question, Uncategorized, Write, Writer, Writing

Tagged with ,

April 2016 Bird List   Leave a comment

The month of April saw the following birds in or above our back garden:

  • Blackbird
  • Siskin
  • Chaffinch
  • House Sparrow
  • Red Kite
  • Collared Dove
  • Robin
  • Jackdaw
  • Goldfinch
  • Nuthatch
  • Coal Tit
  • Redpoll
  • Great Tit
  • Song Thrush
  • Sparrow Hawk
  • Dunnock
  • Crow
  • Hen (from our neighbour’s again!)
  • Blue Tit
  • Heron
  • Gull (not sure which variety)
  • Greenfinch
  • Swallow

The first of the swallows came in during the last week of the month, days before a late cold blast of snow and frost. Hopefully they found enough insects to keep them going through that unseasonal weather.

 

Posted May 3, 2016 by Alan Clark in Bird, Garden, Village

Info-dump Podcast   Leave a comment

I’ve just listened to the 335th podcast in the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast by KM Weiland, and very interesting it is too. I’ve been impressed by the quality of the information in this series since I came across it, but was particularly interested in this episode on Info-dumps where she outlines four different types of exposition a writer can succumb to when writing.

According to her, these categories are:

  1. Back story
  2. World building
  3. Technical
  4. Emotional

The emotional info-dump was new to me. KM Weiland defined it as when a character shares their state of mind, their emotions, or their current thinking. I found this interesting as an idea because I recognise that I’ve been guilty of writing this way from time to time.

So, I guess I need to set myself the task where of showing my way out of passages where I have the urge to share the emotions of my characters, so that readers can see the inner conflict, rather than being told about it. This might be harder than it sounds…

 

 

Bird by Bird   Leave a comment

I’m reading Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” which I picked up second hand from Amazon, and am loving every minute of it.

This is a humorous look at how to write well, with an accessible delivery that makes it easy to take in.

Two lessons have stood out for me so far:

  1. That when writing, it’s a good idea to imagine holding a one inch picture frame up to the scene you are writing about, and only describe what you see within that frame; and
  2. When faced with a large project such as a novel writing, the best thing to do is break it down into small pieces. This is where the ‘Bird by Bird’ idea comes from (and I paraphrase): A boy was confronted with a deadline on a school  project about birds, and daunted by the looming deadline. Seeing this, his father was clever enough to realise that the work would be easier to complete if his son wrote about one bird at a time rather than trying to do the whole project in one go. Clever, hey?

If you enjoy writing then go pick up a copy of this book for yourself. You’ll love it as much as I do.

 

Posted April 19, 2016 by Alan Clark in Bird, Book, Learn, Poetry, Project, School, Story, Write, Writer, Writing

Tagged with ,

March 2016 Birdlist   Leave a comment

Here’s the second in the occasional series of birds we have spotted in our garden during the last month.

Just like a talent show’s results, the list is in no particular order:

  1. Chaffinch
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Siskin
  4. Sparrow
  5. Blackbird
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Coal Tit
  8. Red Kite
  9. Collared Dove
  10. Robin
  11. Jackdaw
  12. Crow
  13. Great Tit
  14. Nut Hatch
  15. Barnacle Goose
  16. Greenfinch
  17. Long tailed Tit
  18. Starling
  19. Heron
  20. Thrush
  21. Dunnet
  22. Woodpecker
  23. Wren
  24. Pheasant
  25. Gull

Yes, we had a pheasant in the garden. It popped in one day and helped itself to the feed under the bird table. One of our neighbour’s hens did likewise, but I’m not listing that cheeky little girl, since she is domesticated. It’s a good sized collection of species for one month, all the same.

 

Posted April 1, 2016 by Alan Clark in Bird, Garden, Nature