Dec 14th

Writers Rage Reloaded

By Malcolm

This may not make much sense if you haven't read the previous parts. Then again it doesnt make a lot of sense anyway! ;)

Jane Titantits managed to get the shower door open far enough to reach the button on the intercom. "Scotty, send help. I'm stuck in my shower. The damn thing won't let me out."


"Ach, dinna worry yerself, lassie," replied Scotty calmly. "It's just the lengthy, and entirely gratuitous, shower scene. It doesn't advance the plot a jot but it does wonders for the box office."


"But I'm starting to wrinkle!"


"Well try soaping yourself down then washing one thigh in a lingering and sultry sort of way. It won't actually get you any cleaner but it might give them what they need to wrap the scene."


"How did I get stuck in a movie scene anyway? I though this was about proper writers issues!" (The author dons his own steel helmet at this point. Hey, blame Jane not me. I'm just writing the material my characters give me!).


"I can't say," said Scotty having dropped his silly Scottish accent. "I suspect it has something to do with movie options though."


"Has anyone found my uniform buttons? I did manage to steal most of my underwear back from Taarg."


Suddenly the shower turned itself off and the door sprang open.


"Thank god," said Jane with feeling.


Meanwhile on the bridge Spark was, in his calm manner, calmly reporting to Dirk about their latest mission.


"Starfleet advise there is a spatial anomaly in the sector, Captain."


Dirk took the news calmly. "What sort of anomaly?"


"It’s a repetition anomaly of some kind. I wonder what kind of repetition it causes?" reflected Spark calmly.


Dirk reflected calmly on the news his First Officer had delivered. "I have no idea but we better stay calm. No need to panic yet."


"Actually," corrected Taarg. "I believe there is. Jane has escaped from her shower and she is on her way here. She doesn't look calm at all."


"Calm!" growled Jane entering the bridge. "I'll give you bloody calm! Alright which one of you bastards hired that damn film crew?"


"Hmmm," reflected Dirk calmly." I think using you as the movie hook may have been a mistake. I never realised how wrinkly you are."


Luckily Taarg already had his phaser set on stun or he would never have been able to stop her from ripping the Captain to shreds.

Dec 7th

By Talla
Let's talk about art and writing and how to promote our websites and blogspots.
Dec 5th

Be Still My Beating Heart

By Barb
I've had to catch the early train to Glasgow the last few weeks, although it feels closer to the middle of the night. It's just not right getting into the office while it's still dark - but I digress, we're here to talk about something else. Writing, I think it was.

This enforced sitting on a train while drinking tea has allowed me to develop a new story. The characters are all here and jockeying for attention, the title came to me and the pieces I have been writing have flowed like a dream.

I refuse to lug my laptop to work and back, so I have been writing these bits of book on the back of dockets, the margins of newspaper pages, the inside of sweetie wrappers... well, you get the idea. Each night I have been adding them to a nicely growing stack on the dining room table.

I have my good friend, Saucy staying with me at the moment. While I was out shopping this morning she did a much welcomed tidy of the flat, leaving the place looking a tortured artist's residence, rather than just a tortured residence.

My bits of book were gone from the end of the table.

I may have given a wee sob at this point.

Then Saucy came and showed me where she had put them away, thinking they might be important.

Updated to add a pic of Saucy:
Dec 4th


By Audrey

Good morning everyone :)

Following on from yesterday's question, and Mike's answer about using internal bookmarks... what are your absolute favorite tools for writing?  

I have four that I use, depending on what I am writing.

1. A really good pen and a fresh pad of paper.   Maybe that shows my age, but there are some times when just seeing the handwritten words appearing on the page which is very encouraging and, I think, inspires me to write a different kind of story.  

2. For non-fiction, I generally use MadCap Flare.   

3. For fiction, I use Power Structure.   

4. Finally, I just recently discovered Write-or-Die, a nifty, goading website that keeps me writing at the desired pace.   I used it to get through NaNoWriMo and plan to continue using it as it does seem to help me produce a quite different kind of story.

I know that there are countless other tools, from Q10 to Word.   Which one is your favorite?

Dec 3rd

Personal punctuation / Research & writing

By Audrey

Hi all,

Today's question is... have you created any non-standard punctuation that you use to help the writing process?  If you do, what are they and what do they mean/how do you use them?

For example, when I am writing, I will often use [--].   This is a multi-purpose symbol for me.    It can signify that I've skipped over a particular scene or bit of scene which I will need to address  later (for example, if I'm not sure how to finish a scene or, alternatively, if I've had an idea mid-scene for another scene and wanted to work on that while it was fresh in my mind.) or it can mean that there's a detail that I will need to check later, for example [-confirm Chadwick was there -]  

I find this handy, as I can use search functions for "[-" to jump between each of these items.    I was wondering if anyone else uses similar strategies?   The reason the question occurred to me is that I wanted to ask and see how others combine their research and writing tasks/time.    Do you generally write what you mean to say first, and then go research the supporting details?  Do you research as you write (I did try that, it's what I now call procrastination!).   Finally, do you research a topic completely, gathering all of the information you need before you even start writing?

Just curious ;)

Nov 28th

First Book

By Aitch
First book is now up to chapter 12. Have decided it needs a bit more depth to it but ploughing on and will go back once have got to the end and sort out all the errors. Have decided when I can't think of where someone comes from to put in ******* and will fill it in laters.

Enjoying myself though and I suppose that is half the battle. I've been waiting years to do this so is rather exciting :)

H xx
Nov 14th

First hand accounts - Gold dust for writers

By Rebecca Holmes
Last night I watched an excellent documentary on BBC4, about the German bombing of Coventry, sixty-nine years ago.   It featured survivors from that night, ordinary people (or extraordinary, in many ways) describing their experiences, interspersed with old film footage showing the resulting desolation, and convincing dramatic reconstructions.  All in all, the programme was extremely well done, free of hype, and epitomised what good television should be able to achieve.

It goes without saying that parts were very moving and there were times when I felt myself close to tears.  But I was also aware of another side of myself.  If  I'd had a notebook  to hand, I would have been scribbling away (and probably driving my husband mad), because the eye witness accounts and descriptions were pure gold dust for a writer.

One woman described how, as a girl of eight, she and her family cowered in their living room as the bombing went on.  One landed close by and blew in their front  window, shattering it in the process.  Some Irish workers staying in the house next door got them out and went with them to the public shelter.  She can still remember the feeling of broken glass under her shoes as she ran, and noticing  that all the sky was red.

Another woman's family lived on the outskirts.  In the earlier part of the evening, the local warden popped his head round the door to see if they were all right.  When the warden called round again, she was shocked at how he seemed to have aged and his face become grey because of the terrible things he'd seen in the space of a few hours.  At one stage she broke down, saying that talking about it brought back the fear, that for a moment she felt she  was back there again.  She recovered, though.  'We were among the lucky ones,' she said.  'We all survived.'   On a brighter note, she remembered how a couple of days later, her father went into town, coming back a lot later than expected, and causing her mother to worry.  When he did get home, he told them he'd seen the king, who was visiting Coventry to boost morale.  'It gave him such a lift.  He said he could have touched him, he was that close.'

Then there was a woman who recalled doing her homework by candlelight in the public shelter as her mother tried to get her two younger brothers to settle to sleep.  The atmosphere wasn't too bad at first, but as the night wore on, people started bickering 'over such trivial things'.  A lot of people smoked, so that the air became thick, mixed with the stench from the bucket latrines, especially - as she put it - bearing in mind how bodies react when frightened.

That was something that struck me - the moderate, understated language.  I can't help thinking that someone from a younger generation would describe similar events in a very different way.

There were so many other stories, far too many to put here.  If you do get a chance to see it, I'd urge you to do so.  But the point  I want to cover here is that it was the little details the survivors dsecribed, that really brought it to life.  And they were all just the sort of telling detail we should be including in our writing, especially if it's something outside our own experience. 

When Midlands novelist Rosie Goodwin wrote 'Moonlight and Ashes', about the experience of a Midlands family during the Second World War, including the night Coventry was bombed, she talked to local people who'd lived through the event to get the sort of detail she needed.  I've read the book and confirm it did the trick.

It's easy to get bogged down concentrating on plot construction, dialogue, characterisation and so on, but it's also vitally important to keep our eyes and ears open amd if possible get people to talk.  Such snippets of information can lift a good piece of writing to a great piece of writing.   

Right.  Where's my notebook?
Nov 12th

Genre Reassignment. (No appendage removal or creation required.)

By Kim

Nope, I don’t need a new spellchecker. I was merely wondering if anyone else has tried this method of investigating their characters traits more fully.


In order to get to know the darker side of my characters and their inner issues, I have been re-writing my romcom screenplay as a drama. This will probably not constitute the final version of the story and is merely an exercise, but it has already helped me to focus on the more complex sides of my individual characters and has thrown up aspects of their personalities that I never even knew existed until now. These I hope to transpose back into the comedy at some point, to give it more oomph.


Has anyone else tried a similar project and if so what genres did you swap or consider swapping? Did you have success or did you even decide to stick with the new genre? (A concept which I am giving some consideration to.)


Nov 8th

Melanie's Tale - Beginnings - Part Two

By Eternally Amy

*singsong voice that everyone hates* Part Two!