Monthly Archives: February 2013

Charity update

Two posts in one day – you lucky people (person – always unsure how many people actually read this nonsense)

I am delighted and very proud to share the news that the Short Story groups second seasonal collection has raised £56.32 for Cancer Research UK. More details can be found on the Short Story Group blog: www.shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.co.uk

Thank you to everyone who supported (and continues to support) these projects.

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The joy of writing

I’ve been a bit quiet on this blog lately. I would love to say that it is due to a busy writing schedule, but the reality is more about laziness and ‘real job’ commitments.

Anyway, today my real job has given me a writing experience like no other – actually seeing the effect of my words on a reader.

In short a colleague of mine was struggling to put together a summary document which highlighted the positive impact an educational visit she had been involved with had on her students. She asked for my help because she recognised that I was ‘good with words’ (she doesn’t know I write for fun).

Over lunch time, I knocked up a side of A4 and emailed it to her – thought nothing of it, until she knocked on my door with a tear in her eye. She was delighted with the work and has only just left having said thank you more times than you can wave a stick at.

Many people have read my short stories (OK have bought the books whether they have read them is a different matter!) but this was a first for me.

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Wasted words

A week ago I was on a train bound for London upon which I witnessed a sign which asked passengers to ‘Close and lock the door before use.’

This sign was on the inside of the toilet compartment.

Now lets ignore the fact that anyone who needs reminding to close the door before using a public toilet shouldn’t be allowed out on their own and consider for a moment why these signs exist.

In my opinion, these wasted words are a results of a) general ignorance in our population and b)  the ambulance chasing lawyer culture which fills our TV screens during daytime television ad breaks.

Over the last week I have been reminded that my freshly purchased coffee is ‘HOT’ and that the packet of almonds I purchased ‘May Contain Nuts’ – well in both cases I bloody well hope so!

But then I had a change of heart – firstly these signs are a form of entertainment. After all if it wasn’t for these somewhat pointless words of wisdom my twitter feed would be a lot shorter. Secondly I have used these signs to help my son (who is five) continue to learn to read. Finally I thought that we should actually have more of these signs.

For example – on the return journey to my beloved North East, I would have dramatically benefited from a line on the ticket which stated ‘Your ticket entitles you to a single seat – not the whole carriage’ or a sign above my table which stated that ‘After you’ve kicked the person opposite you five times, they are entitled to administer ONE punch on the body part of their choosing.’

All a little OTT you might think, but if people really need to be reminded of basic lavatory protocol, isn’t it time we improved other aspects of our social interactions with such helpful signs? I therefore conclude that these words are not wasted, but essential.

Post your suggestions below.

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Love is in the Air

After a few months of prep (for which I have to thank Vanessa Wester), the latest collection of short stories from the Short Story Group has been published (and I was the one who had that nerve-racking honour!)

This is the first book that I have published and, whilst I found the process straight forward, the weight of responsibility (it being the collective work of 12 other authors) was somewhat overwhelming. But thankfully the process is complete and the book is now available through Amazon. Sales of this book support the work of Diabetes UK so stop reading this and hit the published work tab to get your own copy. Happy reading!

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Editing – insider information

My last blog post on editing resulted in an interesting twitter conversation with @anabananabrain who is an editor. She very helpfully answered a number of my questions (and corrected the grammar of my tweets in the process!). In a nutshell Ana gave the following information and advice:

Whilst she has a post-graduate certificate in publishing (as part of which she completed copy editing and proof reading courses), the publishing industry does not have a ‘standard’ qualification which is required to offer services as an editor or proof reader. In other words a post-graduate certificate is an asset, but not a requirement. In effect this means that anyone can offer their services as an editor or proofreader.

Whilst the ‘industry’ have their own ‘in house’ tests for anyone they employ or use freelance, this does not help indie authors. Ana’s advice was therefore to ask for their qualifications, resume and work samples. It is also worth asking if they are a certified by a professional organisation (she gives the Editors’ Association of Canada as an example, but obviously this is only relevant if they are Canadian) – whilst you shouldn’t discount anyone who isn’t a member of a professional organisation it gives them extra gravitas in the industry.

Naturally any professional worth their fee should be happy to provide this information.

It would also help (both sides) if we share resources – so if you have used an editor please leave a comment below (positive or negative I’m not fussed!) so that we can all benefit.

Massive thanks to Ana for the information – any mistakes/misinterpretations of the information given are my fault.

Please note that this post is not an endorsement of Ana’s work as an editor!

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