The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Flat out July

 

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After four years of hard work I submitted my novel and thesis to the University of South Wales on Friday 28 July. This is in partial fulfilment of a PhD in creative writing.  The next hurdle is the viva but in the meantime I’m savouring the feeling of being unencumbered with studies. But the writing does not stop here. I’m going through my novel with edits to try to secure a publisher for The String Games and a collection of flash fiction is currently with the editor of Bridge House Publishing and will be released later this year.

Looks like it will be flat out August as well!

 

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Flash Fiction Festival, Bath

I enjoyed an absolutely excellent time at the first Flash Fiction Festival held in Bath over the weekend 24-25 June. The programme included two workshops each day and I was lucky enough to attend sessions offered by Kit De Waal, David Gaffney and Tania Hershman. Another session was led by Jude Higgins and Meg Pokrass with two winners from the Bath Novella-in-Flash competition. This proved to be a very interesting session which has started me thinking about a new project. For a Novella-in-Flash, each chapter is contained in a piece of flash fiction. This must be shaped in such a way that it can be read as a stand alone piece while at the same time supporting the story arc of the novella. Sounds complicated? It is! Thank you to Charmaine Wilkerson and Ingrid Jendrzejewski for their helpful tips and advice on how this can be achieved.

Saturday evening provided the opportunity to launch the National Flash Fiction Day 2017 anthology titled Sleep is a Beautiful Colour which is packed with amazing flash fiction stories. I’m looking forward to delving further into my copy having heard some wonderful flashes as part of the launch. I particularly like Stephanie Hutton‘s Geology of a Girl, a superb micro-ficton.

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Poetry and Prose Performance Workshop

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Rob Casey

On Saturday 10 June, I joined sixteen other writers attending Rob Casey’s workshop at The White Room, in the Chapel in the Garden, Bridport. The building is set back from East Street and provides a delightful oasis on a busy market morning. We had such fun trying out ways of how-not-to perform and of course, there were plenty of tips and advice to get the delivery right. Rob had us working in small groups to share ideas and generate writing for development. It was great to hear other people’s work and learn from an experienced performance poet.

Rob is one of the founders of the Apothecary Open Mic, poetry and spoken word event that is held regularly at the Beach and Barnicott in Bridport. For more information see the Apothecary Facebook page.

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Interview on UK Talk Radio

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I was invited by Jonathan Hines to join him for an interview on UK Talk Radio to share  my experiences as a writer. The office and recording studio are located in Poole and following a drive through the rain, I arrived. Jonathan is very personable and soon put me at ease. I chatted with him before the recording began and then he started on the questions. It was a lot of fun – and a great opportunity to talk about my writing.

The interview is scheduled to be aired again on Sunday 11 June 2017. If you’d like to listen, click here and tune in around noon.

Jonathan is looking to work with more authors so if you would like to take part in this series of interviews, please email jonathan.hines@uktalkradio.org to express your interest.

 

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Reading on Screen

IMG_1085Last week I attended a three-day workshop at Bournemouth University to create a story told by means of digital video. The first day focused on using images and anecdotes to generate stories with a focus on the experience of reading, especially using kindles. However, as I don’t have a kindle the ‘Reading on Screen’ workshop allowed me to tell the story of my reading history, from a non-reading child to an adult reader with a passion for writing.

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Using iMovie to develop my digital story titled ‘Journey’.

Much of the following two days were spent in the computer suite, recording audio and video footage to develop and shape the material into a story. Using iMovie, I was able to intersect shots of still and moving images with speech and sound effects. The final product is far from perfect, but I learnt and enormous amount by being involved with the process. I have to thank the organisers for the professional support they offered in  bringing my story to the screen. When ‘Journey’ goes online, I’ll post a link to YouTube so that you can see the end result.

Further workshops will be held later in the year in Sheffield and Brighton. I look forward to attending the final dissemination of learning which will take place in Brighton in December. For further information about the project see the Reading on Screen Facebook group or the Reading on Screen project website.

 

 

 

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Chudleigh Literary Festival 2017

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Photo by Chris Denny

 

Chudleigh is a small town in Devon situated between Newton Abbot and Exeter. Each year the Chudleigh Writers Circle organise a programme for the literary festival. This year the festival takes place on Wednesday 5 July. In the morning, there is a workshop titled Metaphor and Similes which will be led by Jackie Juno (author, poet and Grand Bard of Exeter). Lunch is available in the marquee but must be booked in advance. In the afternoon, South West Writers Networking takes place and involves two panel talks:

  • The Art of Writing with Georgia Hill and others
  • The Craft of Publishing with Debbie Young (ALLi) and Margaret James

There is also an evening event with Teresa Discoll (author, journalist and TV presenter) and Hilary Bonner (crime novelist best know for her psychological thrillers).

I will be attending the morning session, so if anyone who wants a lift from Dorchester, please let me know. Full details of the programme can be found on this link.

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Women are funny creatures too

I attended a comedy writing workshop with Juno Theatre last month which was a really informative and enjoyable day. By working collaboratively,  Sarah Scally, Maria Pruden and I produced a 10-minute comedy. This has been accepted for presentation so I’m    delighted to announce that our script ‘Killer Ladybugs’ will appear as part of a Scratch Night at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Wednesday 17 May 2017. The programme comprises eight scripts written by women which will be  performed by local actors. Book your seat now at the Marine Theatre. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets cost £6 (£5 for concessions).  I hope to see you there!

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Apothecary, open mic in Bridport, Dorset

Apothecary is a monthly spoken word open mic session held at the Beach and Barnicott in Bridport. Run by Rob Casey, Ged Duncan, Tom Rogers and Sophia Moseley, it offers the opportunity for  a range of writers to share their work in five-minute slots.  Click on the link below to hear me reading my short fiction titled Burnt Toast.

The next Apothecary night will be held on Wednesday 10 May 2017. Get there by 7pm for a 7:30pm start to secure your place to read. Enjoy other Apothecarian readings by watching Apothecary Cure on YouTube.

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Retreats for You with Debbie Flint

I met Debbie Flint in 2011 when we both attended a retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre.  (I returned there last year – you can read about my second visit here.) Debbie works as a presenter on QVC shopping channel, has a number of books published, and she’s recently taken over a writing retreat in Devon. It was great to touch base with Debbie again and draw upon her experience as a TV presenter to produce a couple of YouTube clips where I talk about my writing journey. Debbie’s help was invaluable in introducing me to interview techniques, accessing handy tips and supporting me through the process. I’d never done anything like this before so her coaching allowed me to feel confident throughout filming and I’m delighted with the results. You can watch the interviews here.

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Debbie has made Retreats for You into a homely and relaxing place to write and reflect. My window overlooks the square with views onto the fields beyond. There’s no excuse for not getting on with your work as a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided. It’s  also good to be in the company of other writers and tap into the positive energy this creates. A few days away makes all the difference to my word count, I find!

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A good start

img_0963The first snow drops appeared in our garden at the weekend and it’s always something to celebrate. More are pushing their way through the earth and soon there will be a shock of white on the bank. Other good news this morning came in an email from Nina Killham. She offered to provide feedback on a synopsis and the first fifty pages of a novel  as part of the Authors for Refugees fundraising scheme. I was lucky enough to place the winning bid and now have some positive ways forward to hone the opening pages of my latest manuscript The String Games. (It’s worth looking out for the Authors for Refugees scheme next autumn as there are some fabulous writers, agents and publishers who offer their services to raise money to support refugees.) Nina has three published novels and another one in draft. Due to my interest in children’s voices in adult fiction, I read Nina’s novel Believe Me which is narrated by thirteen-year-old Nic, who is brought up in an atheist household but turns to Christianity. It’s an assured study of the relationship between a boy and his mother and is well worth reading.

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