a writing guy

Archive for the category “writing”

Supporting New Authors

I’m on a phone!

No seriously I am–therefore this will be a short update.


Firstly, movellas looks good. I’ll be checking that place out for a while. I’ve even put a chapter up to test it out. A much bigger community than jottify so I/we will need to work harder to be seen–that can only be a good thing surely?

Second thing I wanted to mention was about focusing. I think I need to focus on writers a lot more I’m spreading myself thinly right now; trying to do a lot, in a lot if different area of business and life and I’m struggling tbh. I’ve got 3 weeks to chill during Uni spring break, but I also need that time to make some life decisions.

I want to:

• Create digital books for new writers.
• Work with new writers to show them how to use social media to promote their work.
• Develop a digital publishing workshop.
• Promote new writers.
• Create a new digital publishing blog.
• Become known as the digital publishing guy for new authors.

Nice challenge hey? Can I count on your support?

Mark 🙂


Avoid Duplication By Not Doubling Up

Some posts on here are so good, you need to read them multiple times. For that reason, I need to post the same thing twice. So this post, is exactly the same as this post… make sure you read it twice and understand anything you don’t understand 😉

How to write good.
by Frank L. Visco

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contradictions aren’t always necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalise.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

Character Development Tips

I need a visual to get a handle on my characters; this is made much easier with the internet. Flickr is my friend and it should be yours too. Loads of groups and masses of inspiration. Here are the search results for ‘actor portfolio’:


My tip to getting past all the glossy Hollywood shots and finding some quality, is to find a shot (not a face) in a style that you like, then to click through to the photographers page and see if they have more in that style. From there your hunt for a good character should begin.

In 1 click, I found this cool kid, Jasper:

Try it yourself 🙂

The Prose Collection

Books of the 2011/12 Bath Spa Uni BA in Creative Writing. These books are part of the Prose module and walk the reader through key contemporary texts:

Best Books

These are the books I have read and would fully recommend to anyone that wanted to get right to the crux of powerful writing:

There were 10 on this list, but I’ve recently updated it. If I had to pick 4, it would be Writing Tools, On Writing, Make A Scene, and Breathing Life Into Your Characters. The Artful Edit is OK, but not incredible. No Plot is brilliant if you want a kick up the backside – and btw, NANOWRIMO is coming up in (every) November, and this book comes from it.

Self publishing: The Amanda Hocking Model

Digital publishing is not Publishing…
… with the word ‘digital’ tacked on the front of it.

How amazing is @amanda_hocking? She’s the Justin Bieber of the Self Publishing world. Haven’t heard of her? Then listen to this Radio 4 interview (20 mins in):

Or, if you can’t hear it, read about her here: ‘Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online

The sad thing is, will her approach be known as the Hocking Model?

  1. Love Writing
  2. Write (a lot) & be amazing
  3. Become desperate
  4. Research what sells in your Market / Genre
  5. Write more
  6. E-publish (Cheap 99p) on Smashwords (then Amazon)
  7. Promote (a lot)
  8. Fuel Market / Grow Audience with more Books
  9. Raise book prices in proportion to sales / demand (£2)
  10. Choose which Book Publisher you want to sign to

I want to mention one thing which is pivotal to Amanda’s success: she writes fast and has an arsenal of titles behind her before she started publishing. Why should writers take note? Because word spreads fast on the Internet, audiences are fickle and buyers (your Market) are impatient. Amanda writes very fast. Most of us cannot. Therefore, if your work is as good as you think it is, and people take to it, you should plan to capitalise on that momentum immediately after a reader has finished reading your work.

This means, you need to queue up your next (and new) titles ready for purchase. At the end of one digital book, should be a link to immediately buy the next, or a link to be notified when the next becomes available.

New digital writers need to understand that Momentum is critical to their success; letting it wane, could be your downfall.

Digital publishing is not Publishing with the word ‘digital’ tacked on the front of it.

Free Uni

Well with UK student fees about to hit the 9k per year mark, wouldn’t it be nice to have an alternative for all those creative writing students out there that want to learn but can’t afford it?

Well you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve pretty much recorded every single lecture, seminar, workshop & plenary talk on the subject of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University 2011/12. And unless someone stops me, I’ll be recording every single one of them for the next 2 1/5 years of the Degree I’m taking.

What to do with this content? Share it, of course!

So, I’m looking for creative writing students that would like to learn from one of the most prestigious writing Universities in the country… whether your are a mature student, a prospective undergrad, a foreign national or just an interested individual. If so, let me know. I will be creating a mailing list soon… until then comment below with the email address you want me to contact you on.


No More Nanowrimo

I have decided today, that nanowrimo is no more. It’s been a great ride, the last 4 years, however I’ve been able to see it’s warts whilst benefiting from it’s strength. Currently, my warts need removing.

The strength of nano, has given me:

  • discipline,
  • momentum (albeit for a month),
  • pride,
  • speedy fingers,
  • silencing my inner editor,
  • a focus on content,
  • optimism for the future as a writer.

The weaknesses of nano are:

  • the focus on quantity not quality,
  • the absence of commentary on progress,
  • lack of structure, planning & editing,
  • operating in a silo (I failed to get to the nano meet-ups)
  • whittling a good idea
  • completion of writing from beginning to end
  • feedback
  • monetising
  • promotion
So, this means that nano is no more. I may return to do another one, but only after I have successfully completed a full novel, published and offered it to friends to read/sell.
One month out of the year isn’t much to sacrifice, but it takes 11months of planning. Right now, I do not need another first draft on my hands. I need a completed novel.
My love of nano will remain, as will my precious hoodie, my donations towards the project and my enthusiasm for any budding novelist to take the same path I did in order to develop a writing routine with great rewards. What now?
Look at the weaknesses above. Every one of those will be my focus.

Man Booker Prize 2011

The Longlist:

Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape – Random House)
Sebastian Barry – On Canaan’s Side (Faber)
Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt – The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan – Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail – Profile)
Yvvette Edwards – A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst – The Stranger’s Child (Picador – Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman – Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuinness – The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books)
A.D. Miller – Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick – Far to Go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers – The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D.J. Taylor – Derby Day (Chatto & Windus – Random House)

Captcha Story By Gabrielle de Vietri

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