Writing in a Taxi in Mauritania, Virtually

Now I’m earning a regular wage I’ve been able to buy a new phone. Not brand new, but a year old iPhone 8, quite an upgrade from my old 4s which was apt to randomly switch itself off, and overheated if I tried to use apps such as Instagram. Now I have all the latest […]

Story-A-Week #14: Birthday

This week’s story is a true one. I did begin to write a normal, fictitious one, but found myself too absorbed in the new project I’ve taken on. It involves working on-site with a client, helping them with all the tasks that go into putting on an international medical conference. Last week I was getting […]

Story-A-Week #12: Using Objects as Prompts

On my old desktop computer, and in my loft, I have years worth of writing exercises, prompts, and old lesson plans. And this week has seen me searching through old files, dusting off old documents, revamping ideas (with the help of Pinterest), and doing a little testing. I have tended to present lesson plans/rubrics/exercises in […]

Story-a-Week #11: An Attempt at Plotting in Advance

If you’re a writer you’ll be familiar with the question, ‘are you a plotter or a pantser?’ A pantser being someone who writes before looking at such structural things as pace, arc, motifs, etc. A plotter being someone who creates a structure then writes a story/novel/whatever to fit. I’m a pantser, I create a nominal […]

Literature Ambassador: 2019 Writer Opps #9

Writer Opps Wednesday today brings you an Emerging Writers Contest; a Screenplay Writers Contest; a link to a great site that lists 33 children’s book publishers looking for submissions; a magazine looking for submissions on three themes, and an acoustic music festival delighted to welcome spoken word performers, poets, storytellers, anyone, in fact, with text […]

Story-A-Week #10: Narrative Arc

Last Tuesday was the last in my Café Stories series of workshops* so we looked back on everything we’d covered, pulled it all together with a look at the narrative arc, did a bit of editing, and wrote one last story. I gave students a list of all the things we’d worked through: Session 1: […]

Story-a-Week #9: Memoir and Monsters

For last Tuesday’s Café Stories I put together a lesson that combined memoir writing and plot types. There are umpteen theories on the range of narrative structures, but to keep it simple I stuck to the one that holds there are only 7 Basic Plots, and that all creative texts – films; novels; short stories; […]

Story-A-Week #7: On a Dig

I’m a day late with this post for a stew of reasons, the culmination of which being I couldn’t get any purchase on this week’s story until I woke on Monday morning and realised what it was about. Then had to rewrite it. Stephen King is right, I think, writing is akin to excavation. The […]

Story-A-Week #6: Twenty-Eight Years Gone

In last Tuesday’s Café Stories workshop instead of starting with character I got participants to start with an object. I asked them to choose an object in the cafe and describe it. But first, I told them, or reminded them really, about the value of simile. I gave them a few, and asked them to […]

Literature Ambassador: 2019 Writer Opps #5

It’s Writer Opps Wednesday, and here is my pick* of the opportunities I’ve discovered in the last week or so. All are available to writers in Scotland, some are also international, I’ve provide links to the websites for all of them so you can decide which, if any, is for you. The Berlin Writing Prize […]