Saturday 27 January 2018

Local publisher takes a shine to Hornsea Writers

Local publisher, Fantastic Books Publishing, published its first short story anthology in 2012. It was called Fusion and one of the Hornsea Writers, Stuart Aken, was invited to contribute.

Since then, Fantastic Books has published six short story collections and four of them feature stories from the Hornsea Writers. Stuart Aken was again invited to contribute in 2015 to Synthesis.

Horror followed a year later with the 666 anthology in which Stuart was joined by Linda Acaster as an invited contributor. The collection also included a story from Penny Grubb.

The most recent collection, a railway anthology, Dreaming of Steam, showcased four Hornsea Writers; Penny Grubb was invited to contribute and stories from Elaine Hemingway, Madeleine McDonald and April Taylor were included.

Fantastic Books’ current competition, Fire and Ice, closes at the end of February. If you feel up to producing a short tale that touches on dark, twisted and dystopian, why not follow this link and have a go. Fireand Ice Entries must be in by the end of February.

Saturday 20 January 2018

Fiction might be fiction but it still has to work

I have written non-fiction (articles, textbooks, reports etc) as well as fiction and if I put an error in a textbook it could affect generations of students. But fiction writers too have to get it right. 

Years ago, I was fascinated by Roman history. I not only ploughed through Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (an abridged version), I soaked up fiction set in those times. I mention it here for the memory of hurling one particular book out with the rubbish. 

Its irredeemable sin? Two characters were conversing in the bath house and one of them said, ‘Pass the soap.’ For all that the first known use of soap precedes the Romans by a long way, they did not use it in their baths. 

That one brief comment ruined the whole book for me. How could I trust it to be a credible account of ancient Rome if the author didn’t even know the basics?

It comes down to research, and I have corralled a few facts, some cartoons, and a reference or two over on my blog in pursuit of further clarity on what is a vital and often neglected component of everyday life. Please call in and join the discussion:

Sunday 14 January 2018

Guest Posts.

Writers, especially when they blog, or run their own website, are occasionally invited to place guest posts on sites run by other bloggers. It's a fine way of spreading the word.
Recently, Stuart Aken received two such invitations. One of the sites deals in something dear to his heart: the beauty of the world around us. He decided to produce a post about his home area, the Forest of Dean, using his own photographs to illustrate his love for this small gem of English countryside by journaling a year in the forest. You can find that post here. As is so often the case with such posts, it's generated a good deal of interest and comment.
The second invitation involved an author interview. Glen Donaldson is an Australian reader/writer who enjoys presenting posts very much in his own humorous style. Stuart tried to match his answers to the tone of the questions and the interviewer's blog. The subject was his Generation Mars series of novels and you can visit the post here.
If you'd like to see more of Stuart Aken's photography or writing, please visit his website here.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Lessons Learned and Resolutions Made

The Christmas cards are down, the trimmings dusted and packed away. After a mad twelve days of Festive conviviality surely follows a period of introspection and a serious redrafting of The Plan for 2018. A few members of Hornsea Writers share their thoughts before staggering back into the fray:

Joy Gelsthorpe
I've learnt even more this year how useful it is to read work out loud.  It's not just the invaluable input from the group that ensues from the readings but reading my work aloud, even to myself, pushes me into neater expressions and avoidance of repetition. I'm now reducing my use of adverbs and am trying to use more powerful verbs instead.  As I keep re-drafting Book One of the quartet, I'm hoping to hear some good news from a publisher as its editor re-reads the first two chapters (fingers crossed).

Karen Wolfe:
I’ve had an editing epiphany. A revelation about the importance of word by word, line by line, paragraph by nit-pickingly punctuated paragraph, editing. Like a re-vamped room, first-draft prose is transformed by a good old tidy up. And like that room, hidden corners assume new dimensions. 

Penny Grubb:
Completing the 2nd edition of my joint-authored ‘how to’ for writers of commercial fiction made me revisit a whole range of authors from Stephen King to James Herriot; Charles Dickens to Kurt Vonnegut,  reminding me how the works of others can revitalise the writer within. It also reminded me of some very useful tools for getting the next book underway.

April Taylor:
I have learned that I cannot write four full-length books a year, though I managed three and one short. Neither can I plan a book to the nth degree because I end up in a writing cul-de-sac. But, the exercise of trying the planning route has emphasised what I already know: where to schedule the highs and lows to make a balanced book.

In 2018, the plan is to write the next Georgia Pattison full-length, Say Goodbye Now, as well as the first in the Gethyn Rees ‘Wars of the Roses’ series, Loyalty in Conflict, and a Georgia Christmas story. However, I shall not be glued to my desk and will explore developing into a human being rather than a human doing.

Stuart Aken
It's been a busy year. A false start with Book 3 of the 'Generation Mars' series delayed progress, but all is now going well. Writing a novel each year has meant the shorter works have been neglected. So, once the current WIP is with the publisher, I'll be concentrating on short stories. I'll be enjoying life in the year of my 70th birthday, too!

Lessons learned? Plans that look solid on paper have a tendency to destabilise during the act of writing, especially across a series. But there is no such thing as a cul-de-sac, only a Plan B. With the multi-faceted 'Torc Of Moonlight' trilogy now out into the world, I'm looking forward to immersing myself in shorter works, different genres, and a first-person viewpoint. I shall be writing fiction somewhat less complex, and giving myself time to smell the flowers.

We hope you've enjoyed this quick waltz through members' priorities and eye-openers. Follow The Blog By Email - see the box at the bottom of this page - to have our weekly posts slot quietly into your Inbox.