Category Archives: Tips

Tips and lessons learnt

Waterstones launch

Here are some photos from the launch event for the anthology, held at Waterstones Piccadilly on April 6th. Thirteen of the authors were present, as was our editor Rufus, friends, family and a smattering of industry folk. Our numbers were periodically swelled by various poor lost souls looking for a poetry reading – indeed some even claimed our event was ‘more fun’.

All photos were taken either by Bill (Theresa’s husband) or the super-talented Kate Bulpitt.

Thirteen of the fourteen authors of the Book of Unwritten Rules
Thirteen happy authors (Stephen, you were missed)
Hubbub – the launch in full swing
Authors signing The Book of Unwritten Rules
L-R Ivan, Theresa, Kate B, Annabelle
L-R Sarah, Julia, Christina, Kate H
L-R Sarah, Julia, Julie, Kate H
L-R Jim, Emily, Julia
L-R Jim, Emily, Julia
L-R Bill (Photos and author wrangling), Theresa, Christina
L-R Bill (Photos and author wrangling), Theresa, Christina
Lisa and Kate H, not signing
Lisa and Kate H
Rufus Purdy, our editor and MC on the night
Rufus Purdy, our editor and MC on the night
Jim (James) gave the speech on behalf of all of us
Jim (James) gave the speech on behalf of all of us
Theresa’s special thank you for being chief cat herder for the past two years

Absence makes the plot grow stronger

By Christina Prado

What makes a piece of writing successful?  The answer is less about the words than you might think. What will really make or break your literary efforts are the ideas that govern and shape your work. In this sense, the actual business of writing begins long before any marks at all land on the page. I refer, of course, to that woefully undervalued element of the writer’s working day — staring into space.

True, you may not be scribbling furiously, burning up the paper; you may not be hammering the keys or filling the screen; you may not, in the least, appear to be working, but you are. For, in that moment of seeming absence, in those invisible innermost regions of your brain, you are testing out your idea. You are nurturing it, working out its weaknesses and strengths, being honest about its potential to be a winner in a world that is challenging and competitive. You are deciding whether it is robust enough to take its first steps out onto the gleaming white page.

Once your idea is out there, be brave enough to let it make its own way for a while. One note of caution here; at this stage, it is advisable to keep a rein on. Ideally, the retractable kind. Why? Well, because this is where the words come out to play.

Beautiful, glorious, seductive, alluring, frisky words. More than a million of them in the English language. It’s a minefield out there. You certainly do not want unsuitable words to lead your idea from the path you have so carefully mapped out for it. A quick press on the button marked “Retract” will bring it back, just where you want it.

However, it is just possible that your idea might meet some words that are good for it; ones that make it stronger, more exciting, more at peace with itself than it would be without them. These new influences may require you to adjust your thinking, to develop your idea in a direction you did not anticipate.

At times like these, you would do well to cease your scribbling or hammering; to lay down your pen or close your laptop; to peer into the middle distance, an unseeing look in your eye. While you are doing this, remember; you are not simply staring into space.