Category Archives: Review
February 14, 2016Posted by on
It’s the time of year when the garden beckons, not the least to repair the damage caused by the storm. Meanwhile: I’m sure that it isn’t true or at its worst, a very bad generalisation, to think that writers consistently find it easy to write in a particular style. However, there are a number of unique styles amongst these stories that are always engaging and wide ranging in their themes. Read more of this post
December 11, 2015Posted by on
The following thoughts may be obvious to most of you but to a newcomer in this motley band of short story writers, each step can be new to me. Read more of this post
November 11, 2015Posted by on
While seeking to complete the phrase, When I became a man I put away childish things, I was pleasantly surprised to find a C. S. Lewis attribution. In his essay On Three Ways of Writing for Children it’s paraphrased by C. S. Lewis to, When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. A trait that has become more pronounced in my dotage. Read more of this post
October 9, 2015Posted by on
I recently sent an email to an ex-colleague saying something like: a thought that now seems rather obvious — but to me as an engineer and ex-civil servant who spent a lot of time writing reports and specifications certainly wasn’t — which is that if you are writing fiction you don’t have to tell the truth. This assumed truism amongst fiction writers is a real struggle for me, even when reminding myself of it. Rather strange that I should even think like this given that I have never had a problem embellishing the truth (just a little bit), being deliberately conservative with the truth or on occasions concealing it. In all of these concepts previous untruths may have remained hidden depending on the circumstances, but no untruths were ever added. Writing fiction that allows characters, time, places, events, etc, to be manipulated for the purpose of the story is something that I’ve happily accepted in my reading but I find it an alien concept in writing.
September 9, 2015Posted by on
The more I read the more I understand the difficulty that there is in the creation of a good short story. Perhaps it’s now time that I took some short stories off my bookshelf and at least attempted to read them, other than Woody Allen and a few other comedic collections that I have read. Of course every month the short stories in this group are really short, especially this month. Novel, novella, novelette, short story, flash fiction — a word count by any other name may not lead to any enlightenment! This month most of us may have written really long flash fiction, which those subscribing to National Flash Fiction Day may still think too long (see Rule 10.1).
August 10, 2015Posted by on
I was going to give July on the CWG ‘a miss’, but Araminta’s story caught my attention and — well — one thing led to another, so here I am. The time interval between scoring the stories and any critique, review, thoughts, is really essential. Although I would like to see more advance notice on the forthcoming themes (I do understand the present difficulties: i.e. September’s theme needs July’s result). Read more of this post
April 9, 2015Posted by on
At our monthly pie and a pint meeting, my friend and I discuss — amongst other things — books, creative writing, writing groups, the internet environment, critiquing and quality in writing. A couple of years ago he lent me a book by Robert Rankin, my initial reaction to Rankin was that his books were badly written in that they were grammatically incorrect (in modern grammar usage I’m no longer sure that’s true). On reflection I concluded that I was wrong about Rankin, some people, my friend included, find a quality in his works.
So why should literature be any different from other art forms? Why should literature be bound by any rules, if the style in which someone has chosen to write pleases someone else? My grandchildren can read and write … in common with Chester’s Josie. Their Facebook entries are hardly quality prose … then, perhaps, a clue may be found in Mallory Ortberg’s Texts From Jane Eyre. Of course there are constraints like: ‘Did I enjoy reading it?’ and somewhere in this enjoyment, either consciously or unconsciously, there is an assessment of quality. That abstract and personal assessment, which always sends me back to Zen and the 17th Chapter.