Thursday, 31 July 2014

What is the future of the book?

If you key the words ‘The future of the book’ into the Internet, you get loads of mentions, indicating that there is a very real debate going on out there. We thought it would be a good idea to ask the question of yourselves via our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/inscribemedia

Here’s some questions for starters:

* My Dad (a retired librarian) always said that the hardcopy book will survive. Is he right? And if so, will folks read them or put them on shelves and point to them as museum pieces?

* What about the e-book? Do you want to read books on hand-held e-readers? And if you don’t, what about the generations to follow? Where and how will they read?

* The traditionalists might argue that all this e-book malarkey is an awful thing but if the kids read books on e-readers isn’t it actually offering hope for the future?

* Will the e-book last or will folks read blogs like this in twenty years and give a knowing smile while saying: ‘How strange were these people!’

* What will happen to our libraries? Already under pressure from budget cuts (in the UK for sure) can they move quickly enough to accommodate the advent of the e-reader?

* Whizz time forward to 2050 - you fancy reading the book from your favourite author. What will it look like? Will it be hardcopy book, will it be on a hand-held reader, will it, a la the paintings in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, have moving pages in which the scenes are enacted in front of your eyes?

In short, what is the future of the book?

John Dean

Last day of July competition

Still time to enter the July Global Short Story Competition here at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

More on sense of place


Following on from my previous blog, as mentioned I’m one of those writers who is inspired by places, a theme I return to time and time again in my teaching. An example of how it works: it was a hillside strewn with fallen trees that inspired my latest novel To Die Alone, published in 2010.

The novel, the second to feature Detective Chief Inspector Jack Harris, had its beginnings during a family holiday on the Isle of Man.

Although my characters live and work in the North Pennine hills, something about the Isle of Man scenery struck home.

The idea came when we went for a walk on a wet and windy morning. Our attempts to follow the path along the river valley were repeatedly thwarted by trees that had been brought down by the ferocious winds the night before. It was quite a sight, a reminder of what Mother Nature can do when she is angry.

Standing there and surveying the hillside, my connection with the place took over and a storyline unrolled itself there and then, a story that starts with a man alone and fleeing for his life on a tree-strewn hillside.

Knowing that such a landscape would slot beautifully into the North Pennines, I picked up the hillside and moved it over to the world inhabited by Jack Harris. One of the beauties of being a writer is the ability to do a bit of tidying up on the map.

As I stood there, I firmed up the idea, which evolved into the discovery of the dead man and his dead dog on the northern hills, the latter torn apart by another animal. Jack Harris has always loved animals more than humans so it seemed a nice touch that he be more moved by the dog’s death than the man lying dead in a copse a few metres away.

As police investigate, it turns out that the dead man‘s life is full of secrets and those discoveries lead Harris and his team into a dark and murky world which raises the spectre of a killer stalking the panicking northern hillside communities. And all from a thwarted walk in the Isle of Man.

Sense of place has always been important to me as a writer. So many of my ideas have come not from snippets in newspapers or overhead fragments of conversation, but from the overpowering sensations presented by places, be they rural or urban (my other strand deals with DCI John Blizzard in a grimy northern city).

I think that connection with places is what shapes my own reading when it comes to crime fiction as well.

As a young boy, I loved the Sherlock Holmes stories and, yes, I was drawn to the wonderful creation that is Holmes, but what also struck a chord with me then, and does so now, was the evocative way in which Arthur Conan Doyle painted 19th Century London. Yes, I know he had to go into more details because in those days many people had not been to London but for me, his description, weaved as it is into the stories, is beguiling and inspiring.

I feel the same when I read about Rebus. Ian Rankin draws you into a dark and disturbing world that exists behind Edinburgh’s popular façade and the stories are all the better for the way he paints pictures with his words.

Yes, I know that writers debate endlessly the role of description in fiction, that it is increasingly archaic given the nature of modern readers, but for me, I like to be given a sense of where I am. Yes, I like imagining things but I also like the writer to point and say ‘look over there.‘

After all, if a place inspires a writer, can not it inspire a reader as well?

John Dean

In praise of Scandinavian writers

I have been reading a novel by the great crime writer Jo Nesbo. One thing that strikes me is the terrific sense of place, something that characterises a lot of writers from Scandinavia.
As a writer, I am also inspired by a sense of place. Whether it be a gloomy city or a stunning hillside, a glass-strewn council estate or a majestic waterfall, something about my surroundings triggers ideas, just like it does with the Scandinavian crime writers.
And as it should with all writers.Why? Because the reader has to feel they are there and that starts with a writer’s connection with a place.

John Dean

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Winners to be announced

We will announce the winner of the June Global Short Story Competition on Friday August 15. You can enter the latest one at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

Competition goes quarterly

The team behind the Global Short Story Competition has announced that it is going quarterly.

Begun more than six years ago, the competition has until now run on a monthly basis but has switched to one which runs for three months at a time, with the new one running from August 1 to October 31, 2014.

The prizes continue to be £100 for the first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers. The entry fee remains £5.

The competition, which has topped £11,000 in prize money handed out, has had entries from more than 60 countries over the years.

Each competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based.

Competition administrator John Dean said: “It was becoming a little too challenging to sustain the competition on a monthly basis but we think writers will respond to the idea of a quarterly one that continues to seek out and showcase the very best of new talent worldwide.”
The competition, which has been supported by best-selling author Bill Bryson since it was established six and a half years ago, can be entered at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

Friday, 18 July 2014

Update

This blog will not be updated until July 30 due to staff leave. The competition can still be entered as usual at www.inscribemedia.co.uk We will sort any queries on the 30th.

Intriguing the reader

Continuing with the theme of mood, many of the stories that come into the Global Short Story Competition show that their writers have a keen understanding of the need to intrigue the reader.
Intrigue works in various ways and it is an important tool if your reader is going to stick with your work.
One way of creating intrigue is something in your early lines, something that makes you sit up and want to read more. It is called The Question and it lifts the start of a story into something special. Catching the reader’s attention is crucial and a good early question does the job beautifully.
But there is another, more subtle way, and done right it can be very effective. But, for the writer, it comes with a gamble.
The idea is that, in the middle of ‘straightforward’ narrative, you drop in something, sometimes just a line, sometimes just a word, but something that nags away at the reader. Maybe they missed it first time around then go back to check.
It is like having a conversation with a friend who suddenly says: “Of course, there’s that other thing'. At first hearing you might miss it but within seconds you are going back to the line and saying “Thing, what thing?”
It is like that with writing and many of the stories we receive into the competition via www.inscribemedia.co.uk do it really well.

John Dean

Triggering a reaction

What makes good writing? I think good writing is good writing because it triggers responses in its readers.
If readers respond, it means that they are being drawn into the story. They stand next to your characters, they fear for what is about to happen, they simply must know what is on the next page.
That’s a terrific way to impress competition judges. Plenty of time to do just that in the July Global Short Story Competition here at www.inscribemedia.co.uk
John Dean

In the mood

Following on from my previous blog on mood, these lines from writer Mike Delosso are illuminating. He says: “I've read all kinds of writing. Some very, very good and I wonder, Why hasn't this person landed a contract yet? and some . . . well, some that needs a lot of work.
“One of the common threads I notice in those that need a lot of work is lack of mood. Creating a mood for the reader is pivotal. Every story should have a mood that it creates, whether it be suspense or horror or warm comfort or sweet love. Think about books you’ve read that have really captured you. Didn't they create a mood in you.
“Here’s some I think of: Stephen King's stories carry a mood of creepiness (by the way, I think King is the master of this mood thing. He could write about a little girl playing dollies in the back yard and it would feel creepy); W. Dale Cramer and his southern fiction creates a mood of down home comfort and simple living; Nicholas Sparks’ stories create that mood of sweet, innocent love.
“See what I mean? Mood is everything. Mood is something chosen by the author before the writing has begun. When you read a story and feel a certain way, that feeling, that mood was created intentionally.”
I wholeheartedly agree. If I start reading a story or book and after a page my mind has wandered because there is no mood I am highly unlikely to read on.
Want to grab the reader? Then consider:
* Word choice. Carefully chosen words that give the piece a desired feeling
* Use physical description - weather, darkness and colours chosen for a setting. This doesn’t follow any hard and fast rule but colour does create mood
* Sentence structure. Shorter sentences create that feeling of movement and suspense. Longer sentences slow things down
* Appropriate metaphors and similes. This is a tough one because I think too many similes are lazy, used too many times before; similes only really work if fresh and different or because no other phrase will do
* Characters - how they act, what they say and how they say it
Create an atmosphere and you have the reader. But beware, it can be subtle - is not always a case of chucking in loads of roaring winds, wheedling fog and banging doors and hoping for the best! There’s more to it than that.

John Dean

Creating mood in fiction

For readers to appreciate your work, they need to feel something. It is summed up by writer Blair Hurley who says: “When asked what makes our favourite books our favourite books, sometimes we're hard pressed to find an answer. Often it's just a feeling that makes the book special -- a mood that is splendidly cultivated throughout the story and succeeds in immersing us in the world. To improve the impact and feeling of your stories, writers should always consider working on mood and consistency.”

How do we do that? Well, we can use setting to evoke mood. Let the place create the atmosphere for you. If you want scariness in a ghost story, a scene like a pleasant suburban house may work against you. For scariness, there’s nothing wrong with a graveyard, an old rotting house or an empty building at night.

For sadness, there’s also nothing wrong with a graveyard or a funeral home. For happiness, think of a happy place, make the sun shine, make people cheery etc.

Secondly, tie the character to a place. Put your character in a place that helps create an atmosphere. A criminal often occupies dark areas, a romance is set on sunny riverbanks etc.

Finally, get the language right. The key to cultivating a mood in a story is to use language that evokes that mood. If writing a gritty story make the writing gritty, short, sharp, edgy as well. If writing romance, things have to be more soft and sensual, not brutal or disgusting.

Finally, feel free to ignore everything I have just written! It’s all broad brush, I know, and there are a thousand permutations, ghosts in nice houses, villains in respectable businesses, romance in difficult locations.

Every guideline is there to be challenged, it’s what makes for good writing, but as a solid base to work from it’s not bad.

The big rule here is that the reader has to feel that they are there - if we do not then the work fails.

John Dean

Getting the planning right

Writing is a complex business and there is a lot of think about, especially if you are writing a novel with all its sub-plots.
So it is worth doing a synopsis, your breakdown of the plot, before you start, even if you are writing a short story (clearly it is more involved for novels)
 It’s your continuity person because.
* It is your road map - can set out where story is going
* Allows you to set down some facts, time of day, era, ages of characters, location etc
* Helps you structure your story
* Concentrates the mind at the beginning although once you are under way and the story is developing naturally many writers discard it as something whose job is done.
 
John Dean

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Short story competition half way through

The July Global Short Story Competition is more than half way through.
Begun more than six years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers. 
The competition, which is approaching £11,000 in prize money handed out, has had entries from more than 50 countries over the years.
Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based. The competition can be entered at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

The writer's voice

You need to select a voice for your writing. Most writers opt for a third person narrator - the advantage is that the third person can see everything, first person narrators are limited to their own experiences. On the other hand, first person can be more relaxed, chatty, informal.

But at heart, the voice comes from you. Yes, you can adapt it, fictionalise it, create new characters who are nothing like you but usually you are in there somewhere, the way you talk, the way you write, the way you communicate, the phrases you use.

We all have phrases we like. Look at former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, he cant say a sentence when he wants to be sincere without saying now look’.
We all have phrases, words we use, and they will come through in our writing. Something to be aware of as we write so that they do not dominate.

John Dean

Layering in writing

I’m returning to an old theme for this blog - layering.
Layering is directly related to the way we work and very often happens when you go back over something you have written
For me, it comes as I write and the plot evolves. Suddenly something becomes important that was not important before or maybe was not there before so I add in layers.
Like me, you may want to go back to a scene you wrote and inject it with an emotion or add in extra information about a character. Was it too bland as it was, was the reader likely to be bored? Or confused?
All this layering is crucial and, for me, it can change stories for the better.

John Dean

Putting the noir into Norwich

Here’s news of a new crime writing festival to be held in Norwich in eastern England on 10th – 14th September.
The Crime Writers’ Association has announced that it is collaborating with the University of East Anglia, book store Waterstones and Writers’ Centre Norwich to create the new festival in the UNESCO City of Literature.
Celebrating everything from the sharpest noir thrillers to contemporary police procedurals, Noirwich offers five days of author events, crime writing workshops, film screenings and more in venues across the city.
Highlights include events with the best-selling authors Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah, who has recently completed the latest Poirot novel, to crime writing workshops with Diamond Dagger recipient Simon Brett and award-winning crime novelist Henry Sutton. For the full line-up visit: www.noirwich.co.uk

John Dean

The golden rules of writing

Always worth reminding ourselves from time to time about what I think are the golden rules of writing:
* Do not write for yourself, always write for the reader

* You may wish to pack lots of information in but does the reader need it?

* You may not have put enough information in - you can imagine where a scene is set but have you given the reader the information they need?

* You may have drawn a character but are they real or just a clichéd cardboard cut-out?

* Be disciplined - if it is not needed chop it out

John Dean

Let atmosphere work its magic

As you know, I place great store on creating fictional places that engages your reader. But how do you do it? Here’s some thoughts:
Allow the atmosphere of the place to take you over - we do not do enough standing in this busy world of ours but if we do atmospheres can spark creativity
Work out what job you want your place to do - for example, I created the northern city of Hafton to be gloomy, dark and gritty because that served my needs as a crime writer
Draw out contrasts - a dark wood where glades are illuminated by sunlight through the trees, cities with rough tough areas just a few hundred yards away from more pleasant areas can give you much to play with as a writer
Use all your senses not just vision - what does your place sound like, smell like, taste like, feel like?



John Dean

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

So where does the writer stand?

Writers must make a major decision before they start writing: which viewpoint?
Most authors go for the conventional third person approach in the past tense. It is my natural instinct, too. I like it because it means I am standing above the action in the role of nebulous narrator.
I can look down and draw attention to events happening in various places, creating tension and variety. It works beautifully for novels: it can be very effective if my detective thinks someone is innocent and the reader knows the opposite.
However, many of the entries into the Global Short Story Competition tell the story from one character’s viewpoint and there is a very strong argument that such an approach is the best one for short stories, that you simply do not have the space to develop different viewpoints.
But is that necessarily the case? As a novelist I use several viewpoints but can it work for short stories when space is so tight? I think so.
I often use the example of an aspiring writer which whom I once worked. He told a story of a fishing vessel in wartime. It was moored in a bay when round the corner came a U-Boat. There followed a scene of drama as the attack was told from the crew’s viewpoint. Very nicely written it was, too.
But how much better, I contended, if the scene had been written rather like a film, flicking from viewpoint to viewpoint: a scene with the crew mooring up, a scene with U-boat appearing on the horizon, out of their view but seen to us as readers, then flicking between the scenes, contrasting the crew’s happy banter with the U-Boat crew’s deadly intent, until they came together for the climax of the story?
Other of our entries go for first person, still telling their stories in the past tense. Telling stories that way does give a certain intimacy to the writing, and encourages a more personal way of storytelling in many ways. Trouble is, unless you provide other first persons you are rather restricted to what ‘I’ experiences.
Then there are stories that make use of either first person or third person but tell their tales in the current tense. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is footballers’ favourite technique, along with plenty of cliches - ‘Billy slings the ball over to me and I leaps like a salmon and nods it, wallop, into the old onion bag” - this also can be very effective, giving the reader the strong impression that events are happening here and now.
And which one is right? Anyone who has been reading my blogs, or talked to an author, or attended a creative writing class will know that there is no right, no wrong. If it works as a technique for you, use it.

John Dean

Supporting Australian writing

Quite a few Australian entries come to the Global Short Story Competition, several in recent weeks, which gives me another chance to praise that country.
Australia has had plenty of success in the competition since we started six and a half years ago and I reckon one of the reasons why so many fine writers have emerged from that country is the way writing is supported there.
When we started promoting the competition, we quickly discovered that all across Australia can be found writing centres in which authors gather to meet, swap opinions and encourage each other. Quite a lot of our successful entries have come out of that system and it is much to be lauded.

John Dean

Keeping the short story alive

I came across an interesting article on the BBC website. It relates to their BBC National Short Story Award. Part of the article was quotes from celebrities about the importance of the short story in the modern world. Reading the comments makes for encouraging reading.
BBC Radio 4 broadcaster James Naughtie, who has acted chair of the judging panel, said: “The short story is still a writer's opportunity that offers something distinct and exciting. The best of them are alive with passion, perfectly crafted to make every word count and beautiful artefacts that can't be pulled apart. They are also tales for our time. A short story can sit happily on the ear, and on the page, on your phone, or your screen; it travels well and it fits into even the busiest life.“
Di Speirs, well known as BBC Radio Editor Readings and another panel judge, said: “Five years ago, there was a very real sense that the short story form was endangered. Year on year since, we have seen a resurgence of interest and commitment to the form from readers and listeners, and from publishers and authors. More published collections are crossing my desk and every year a broader church of writers recognise and respond to the unique appeal and deceptive simplicity of short fiction.”
Very true - we are indeed seeing a renaissance in the short story as people realise that, like a endangered animal, it would be a disaster if it disappeared.

John Dean

Come on, reader, keep up!

Another wonderful example of the storyteller’s art came into the Global Short Story Competition yesterday.
It started in the middle of an event, the writer effectively saying to the reader ‘bit busy right now, follow me, you’ll pick it up.’ By plunging the reader into the story from the off, it kept the reader hooked.
Plenty of time to enter this month’s short story competition at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Daan

The birth of the short story

Recent months have seen quite a few American writers entering our competition. That’s appropriate because, in the eyes of many, the short story has its beginnings in the work of an American writer.

As with all such things, there are competing claims as to the first short story writer. You could claim that Chaucer wrote them in The Canterbury Tales, that Aesop’s Fables are short stories, that Walter Scott’s 1827 tale The Two Drovers holds the claim.

However, most seem agreed that the ‘modern short story’ owes its being to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales in 1837. American writer Hawthorne took inspiration from shorter forms of writing and produced a story which can be defined as ‘a story capable of being read in one sitting‘.

Perhaps the best definition of the skill needed to produce a short story came from the great American writer Edgar Allan Poe, who, having read Hawthorne, said: “In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. And by such means, with such care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the fullest satisfaction.”

In other words, make every word count.
On the subject of short stories, the July Short Story Competition is half way through at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

Pausing for thought

I know only one authors joke. Two authors meet in the street and one says 'I'm  writing a novel.’ The other replies ’Neither am I.’
However, sometimes pausing, or the act of reflection during or before writing, is a useful step in the composing process. Good writers tend to pause longer and more often than poor writers, I find.
Writer Sharon Pianko, calls pausing "the single most significant act of the composing process and Lee Odell compares the thinking to a camera zooming in to let us see a character in relation to what surrounds him.
Sometimes, pausing for thought pays dividends.

John Dean

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A slice of life

If you are struggling with a short story that is growing and growing like topsy, it is worth remembering that a short story is a slice of life. As such, you should narrow the time frame and geographical location of the piece. One plot, two or three characters and no more than two main locations should fit into a short story. If this is too tight a fit perhaps you should be writing a novella or a novel.

John Dean

Celebrating library refurbishment

The other day I gave a talk at a local library (in Barnard Castle, County Durham) to help mark its refurbishment and I was delighted to do so.
As you may know, I am part of the Crime Writers’ Association, which stages events in libraries to do our bit to highlight their importance in an age of austerity cuts.
Talking to writers, one of the reasons they champion libraries is the impact that they have on young readers, allowing parents to give their youngsters access to books which maybe they cannot afford, in turn strengthening the reading habit.
However, they also give the same access to many older readers, giving them chance to enjoy their favourite authors and discover some new ones.
That is why to see a refurbished library in an age of closures was so welcome.

John Dean

Triggering a reaction in your reader,

I think that good writing is about triggers - words, phrases, images, places, sensations - that reach deep into the readers mind.
That reaction will be based on something the reader has actually experienced, or maybe something that the reader dreads ever having to experience. It is why horror and ghost stories work so well.
Yes, you are messing about with the readers head, yes, you may be forcing them to confront difficult truths, but isnt that sometimes what writing is about?
If every story, every book, was about sugary-sweet people in lovely situations, then writing could never really move the reader as it should.
So, yes, writing can, on occasion, make the reader feel uneasy, uncomfortable, scared even, but, lets be honest, isnt that sometimes the way we feel in our daily lives anyway? Its simply art reflecting reality.

John Dean

Irish writer scoops world's biggest short story prize

The Munster Literature Centre in Ireland has announced that, in its tenth year, the winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award is Irish author Colin Barrett for his debut collection Young Skins.
The €25,000 award is the single most lucrative in the world for a collection of short stories and is named after the writer whom W.B. Yeats described as the Irish Chekov. The award has been hugely influential in raising the profile and esteem of the short story form in recent years. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Edna O'Brien, Ron Rash and Yiyun Li amongst others.
The Award is co-sponsored by The School of English, University College Cork and Cork City Council, and was founded to encourage publishers to issue more collections of stories by individual authors - and to acknowledge Cork's special relationship with the short story: not only Frank O'Connor but also William Trevor, Elizabeth Bowen and Sean O'Faolain hail from Cork.
The international jury for the award consisted of Irish poet Mathew Sweeney, Anglo-Canadian novelist Alison MacLeod and American novelist Manuel Gonzales. Patrick Cotter, Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre selects the jury and acts as non-voting chairman.
Explaining the judges decision Alison MacLeod said of Colin Barrett's debut: 'How dare a debut writer be this good? Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic. Barrett's prose is exquisite but never rarefied. His characters — the damaged, the tender-hearted and the reckless — are driven by utterly human experiences of longing. His stories are a thump to the heart, a mainline surge to the core. His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing - soul.'
The book was first published in Ireland by the Stinging Fly Press in 2013, and has been published in the UK this year by Jonathan Cape - it is set to be published in the United States by Grove Atlantic in spring of 2015. The book will be published in translation in the Netherlands by De Bezige Bij, in November 2014 and in France, Editions Rivages in 2015. DMC Film, the production company set up by Michael Fassbender and Conor McCaughan in 2010, are optioning the longest story in the collection Calm With Horses to adapt for feature film release.
Colin Barrett grew up in Mayo and studied English at UCD. After graduating he worked for several years with a mobile phone provider in its Dublin headquarters, continuing to write in his spare time. Ultimately, he left his job to do an MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize and he received bursaries from the Arts Council in 2011 and 2013. Young Skins is Colin's first book. His stories have previously featured in The Stinging Fly magazine, as well as in the anthologies, Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, 2010) and Town and Country (Faber and Faber, 2013).
He said: “Consider me knocked splendidly sideways by the news. It's a bewilderment and honour to be awarded the 2014 Frank O'Connor prize. The shortlist was superb, and the role call of previous winners - including living legends like Edna O'Brien and Haruki Murakami - is humbling. Many thanks to those who helped me along the way, especially the Stinging Fly Press, who first published Young Skins and were instrumental in its creation, and a deep thanks to the judges, the organizers, and to the Munster Literature Centre for continuing to care about the short story"
The award will be presented in September at the closing of the Cork International Short Story Festival which is the world's oldest annual short story festival.

The key to good writing


The great Ernest Hemingway had four tips for good writing.

They were:

* Use short sentences - keeps the pace moving

* Use short first paragraphs - keeps the reader turning the page

* Use vigorous English - makes the stories live by infusing them with passion

* Be positive - telling people what is rather than what is not ie instead of saying that something is ‘inexpensive’ say it’s ‘economical’.

My four (not that I am comparing myself to the great man!) would be:

* Do not write for yourself, always write for the reader.

* Be disciplined - you may wish to pack lots of information in but does the reader need it?

* You may not have put enough information in - you can imagine where a scene is set but have you given the reader the information they need? You may have drawn a character but can your readers see them?

* Be brutal - if you have overwritten, chop out the fat.

John Dean

Harry's Torment by MIke Beck

Harry’s Torment by Michael Beck

Harry’s Torment is set in the fictional east coast port of Thirlston and is centred on the heroin trade. Unlike some other crime novels this is not a ‘who done it’ as we very soon discover identity of the local drugs baron. We see how the officers try to piece together various bits of information in their pursuit of him and how he attempts to stay one step ahead of them. This takes place alongside a personal feud between two senior customs officials and this impacts upon one of the officers in particular as he is used as a pawn in their struggle. His close working relationships with a local detective inspector also causes problems and pressures for both parties as the story comes to a dramatic conclusion.
The book is available as an ebook in the Kindle store at www.amazon.co.uk

Lost Souls by Roger Barnes

Lost Souls by Roger Barnes

When young women start to go missing in Africa, the kidnappers warn not to investigate but the police do and the women’s hideously mutilated bodies are returned. After that the investigations are stopped and a continuing flow of traumatised victims are returned alive, having being used in the most brutal and degrading ways.
This continues until another four are abducted and the British Government decides it must act and recommence the investigation, but this time using a very different approach. A Special Forces Major with an uncanny knack for finding people is teamed with an unorthodox politically incorrect police officer, and both are asked to volunteer to try and find them.
It becomes apparent that not only British women are being abducted, so a small International Strike Force is assembled to rescue them and ensure it is stopped, permanently.
Roger is a taxi driver in Darlington and a member of Darlington-based Inkerman Writers.
The book is available as an ebook in the Kindle store at www.amazon.co.uk

Haghir the Dragon Finder

“Wallace the dragon had just eaten his breakfast and curled up to enjoy another forty winks in his lair deep within the hillside. He lay in a corner of the scorched cavern, his tail wrapped around his rhythmically heaving frame and a dreamy smile playing on his lips. Occasionally, his long snout twitched and sent wisps of white smoke curling upwards. All was silent apart from his snoring and yet he had an uneasy feeling that he was not alone. As he lay there, reluctantly awake but with his eyes still shut, he was uncomfortably aware of a strange tingling pricking its way steadily down his spine, which was a distinctly unnerving experience when you were thirty two feet long.”
That’s the start the children’s comic fantasy Haghir the Dragon Finder, by John Dean, available as an ebook in the Kindle store at www.amazon.co.uk

You can also check our home page at www.inscribemedia,co uk for details of all our ebooks

White Gold the enovel

This is the start to White Gold, the new e-novel by Roger Barnes.

The afternoon heat shimmered off the tarmac as Matthew Lomsela drove his dusty and battered Land Rover Defender into Terminal 2 at Johannesburg International Airport, parked at the short stay car park and went into the air-conditioned Arrivals lounge. He looked at the overhead screens and saw South African Airways flight SAA 2395 from Heathrow was on time and due in at 15.45, forty minutes until it landed.

He had arranged to meet his clients, who he had only spoken to on the phone to arrange this Safari at the airline’s security office to introduce himself and assist with reclaiming their firearms. Enough time for a coffee and a look at one of the dailies. He bought a copy of ‘Africa Today’ and made his way to the mezzanine floor overlooking the runway on one side and Arrivals on the other, went into McKinley’s – thought about a beer but settled for coffee – not wanting alcohol on his breath when he met his clients.

Glancing through the paper, the headline on page two caught his attention. ‘Namibian poachers again active’ and read: ‘Ruthless gangs of poachers are again slaughtering the elephant herds and rhino population in the Southern provinces.”
White Gold is a thriller taking the reader into a world of intrigue and danger set amid the poachers of Africa and those trying to thwart their criminals efforts. It’s one of our ebooks and can be purchased if you go to www.amazon.co,uk and key the title into the Kindle store. And all for £2.23.

You can also check our home page at www.inscribemedia,co uk for details of all our ebooks

Monday, 14 July 2014

Free writing advice

Check out our free writers’ toolbox, which can be downloaded off the home page here at http://www.inscribemedia.co.uk/

John Dean

Cyber Rules e-novel

“Anthea Stevenson sat staring at the computer screen after bringing up the Whisper and ceasing the incessant flashing with a left hand click.

A letter and a number appeared: C-4379, intriguing, yet somewhat sinister, as though it were not from a real person, but an integral part of the electronic network that was her favourite online chat room, The Over-Forties.

She was quite a bit over forty, she mused, almost fifty, but that one-year shy gave her moral access and she was honest.

Too honest, in fact it was almost a failing of hers. Too honest, too nice - these traits sometimes conflicted, blurred between diplomacy and blatancy.

Still she kept the veneer of niceness.

She hated the word nice; her friends would have never believed what she was intending. The thought would never enter their minds that Thea, nice, sweet pure Thea would actually do something like this.”
So starts the novel by Cyber Rules by Myra King. It tells the story of Anthea Stevenson, a farmer’s wife, midlife-challenged and living in isolated rural Australia. For many years, she has harboured a dark secret. Now caught up on the addictive side of the Internet, she holds another secret, one which ultimately may prove to be far more deadly.
It’s one of our ebooks and can be purchased if you go to www.amazon.co,uk and key the title into the Kindle store. All for £2.05. Australian readers will have to purchase via Amazon US at www.amazon.com


You can also check our home page at www.inscribemedia,co uk for details of all our ebooks

Vegemite Whiskers a-anthology

“It’s not like anyone around here actually properly celebrates Christmas.” That’s the start to Andrew Frost’s Chrissie Lights, one of the stories in our Australian e-anthology Vegemite Whiskers.

Or how about this at the start of Bella Anderson’s The Last of My Line? “I am the last of my line; my eyes will never shine from another face, no one will laugh or talk like me and my memory will not survive a careless generation.”
Want to know what happened next in this and other stories from talented Australian writers? If you go to www.amazon.co,uk and key the title into the Kindle story you can buy the book and find out what happened in those and many other stories. And all for £1.48. Australian readers will have to purchase via Amazon US at www.amazon.com


You can also check our home page at www.inscribemedia,co uk for details of all our ebooks

Global Shorts e-anthology

“I met Silas in a bar called The Trickster. He was the Joker. I was the Queen of Hearts.” That’s the beginning of Heart String by S J Finn, the first story in our e-anthology Global Shorts.

Or how about this? “On the day of my grandmother’s funeral, I stopped eating.” That’s the start of Eat, Mister by John Michaelson.

Or “I always get away with it, I’m invulnerable, I’m the man,,” he thought, and he said it loud, right into the ear of the wimp who was lying pinned beneath his foot in a remote corner of the playground” , which is the start to I Always Get Away With It by Stuart McCarthy.
Want to know what happened next? If you go to www.amazon.co,uk and key Global Shorts into the Kindle store you can buy the book and find out what happened in those and many other stories.
 

You can also check our home page at www.inscribemedia,co uk for details of all our ebooks

Nearly half way through Juy competition

The July Global Short Story Competition is nearly half way through.
Begun more than six years ago, the competition runs every month with a £100 first prize and a £25 prize for highly commended writers. 
The competition, which is approaching £11,000 in prize money handed out, has had entries from more than 50 countries over the years.
Each month’s competition is judged by Fiona Cooper, an author in North-East England, where the competition’s organisers Inscribe Media are also based. The competition can be entered at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

Somewhere to write

Looking for a retreat to take your writing group? Why not check out
http://www.sykescottages.co.uk/cottage/Ayrshire-and-Dumfries-Galloway-Kelton-Hill-or-Rhonehouse/Kettle-Knowe-904654.html

John Dean

Writers on their craft

Further to my previous blog on editing, here’s some quotes famous writers on other things to consider in your writing/editing:

Elemore Leonard

Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied".

Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" ... he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs".

Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose". This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
Diana Athill

Cut - only by having no inessential words can every essential word be made to count.

You don't always have to go so far as to murder your darlings – those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page – but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead (not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect – it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.)
Roddy Doyle

Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, eg "horse", "ran", "said".
Helen Dunmore

Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn't work, throw it away. It's a nice feeling, and you don't want to be cluttered with the corpses of poems and stories which have everything in them except the life they need.

Geoff Dyer

Beware of clichés. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought – even of conception. Many novels, even quite a few adequately written ones, are ­clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation.

Anne Enright

Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

Try to be accurate about stuff.
 
Jonathan Franzen


Never use the word "then" as a ­conjunction – we have "and" for this purpose. Substituting "then" is the lazy or tone-deaf writer's non-solution to the problem of too many "ands" on the page.

Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.

Esther Freud

Cut out the metaphors and similes. In my first book I promised myself I wouldn't use any and I slipped up ­ during a sunset in chapter 11. I still blush when I come across it.

Editing is everything. Cut until you can cut no more. What is left often springs into life.

Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they'll know it too.

Never forget, even your own rules are there to be broken.
Neil Gaiman
 

The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like (that may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing). So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
PD James

Increase your word power. Words are the raw material of our craft. The greater your vocabulary the more ­effective your writing. We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world. Respect it.

John Dean 
 

 

Editing


Editing is crucial for writers. However, when editing your own work, it is often easy to miss or overlook problems. This is usually because you are so familiar with your own work that your mind automatically replaces the tiny typo with the correct word.
There are also times where your mind will completely overlook glaring holes in your plot line, because you know what your story is supposed to look like.
Let’s skip the simple editing problems, like typing errors, or grammatical errors, and take a look at some larger issues.
Ask yourself:
Is there a clear, believable main plot?
Does the plot move fast enough to grab the reader’s attention?
Have you glossed over important details?
Are action scenes written in a direct fashion, propelling the reader along?
Does the description of the setting transport you into the fictional world?
Do the descriptions amble on for pages or are they interspersed throughout the story?
Does the order of events remain consistent throughout the story? Has someone who died on page 54 come back to life on page 87?
Don’t be afraid to cut whole sections out of your work. If there are any redundant scenes or descriptions, take them out, or perhaps rephrase them with stronger writing. Once you have ruthlessly skimmed all the fat out of your story, re-read it again. You will usually find that your tale is much easier to read than it was before you edited.

John Dean

The birth of stories

The more I talk to writers, the more I realise the passion that they hold for their art and one subject that seems to evoke strong reactions is where do stories come from.
There are those who argue that they come out of real life experiences. You go through it as a writer therefore you are able to best tell the story. Others recoil from that approach, arguing that that the key is in the word fiction, that stories should be made up and come entirely out of imagination.
The anecdote below will, hopefully, show where I stand and it involves The Secrets Man, published by Hale.
For me, stories come out of experience and The Secrets Man had its germ (literally) in one of the most difficult experiences of my life, the serious illness and resultant problems experienced by my father.
As the illness, and the dementia that accompanied it, took control of his mind, he disappeared into another world, one where nothing was as it seemed.
As I sat at his bedside night after night, watching him suffer, I started to look around the ward. Six beds, six patients, each of them in a world of their own.
And the idea came to set a novel in the world of dementia, weaving the worlds created by unwell minds in with reality outside the hospital window.

John Dean

It's in the detail

As those who read my blogs will know, I think that detail is key to good writing and I often teach classes on the subject.
Here’s some tips:
* Ask questions about your character. What does your character look like? How does he/she walk or talk? What kind of clothes does he/she wear? What nasty habits etc? What beliefs? And which facts are relevant?
* Create details about your settings. What does your character's living room look like? Is it messy or is it tidy? Are there paintings on the wall etc etc? Create details that bring the settings to life. A story comes alive when the reader can see, smell, taste, hear, and touch the world you've created.
* Don't be excessive in using details. Use only what is necessary. Sometimes two or three details will do the trick, the reader will do the rest.

John Dean

Friday, 11 July 2014

Thank you one and all

We have watched with pleasure as the writing careers of many of our entrants have developed and they have broken into print - indeed, we report on a few of them in these blogs.
Our commitment to short stories run deep but, since we are a small company who does not receive any subsidy and does not have a big marketing budget, our capacity to continue running the competition and paying out prize money is based on attracting entries. And that means making sure that people know about our short story competition site at www.inscribemedia.co.uk
Which is why we thank each and every one of you who has promoted the competition on your blogs and social media sites. And why we would love you to keep doing so. Or give it a mention if you have not done so before.

John Dean

What makes good writing?

What makes good writing? I think good writing is good writing because it triggers responses in its readers. Readers say ‘I have been in that situation, ‘I know someone like that’, ‘what a terrible thing to be faced with’ etc etc.
If readers feel like that, it means that they are being drawn into the story. They stand next to your characters, they fear for what is about to happen, they simply must know what is on the next page.
If a reader does not really care what is happening in the story then you have lost them and your story has failed but if they feel part of it, they are experiencing the sheer power of the writer.
That’s a terrific thing to achieve - and the way to impress publishers and competition judges.

John Dean

The role of place in fiction

Rural Northumberland

Our latest newsletter

Hi

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the team behind the Global Short Story Competition.

 
Honours go to writers from England in competition
Judge Fiona Cooper has selected her winners for the May Global Short Story Competition and writers from England have taken the honours.

The £100 first place prize goes to Bernadette Keeling, of Leeds, for Street Cornered, of which Fiona says: “This astonishing story has more twists and turns than a corkscrew, all deftly executed and convincing. Somehow, the writer has managed to cover what, on TV, would be a double episode of suspense. It is rare to find such a pacy and densely packed tale, where atmosphere and character crackle to life, and the tension is completely sustained throughout. Excellent.”

Our highly commended runner up is Esther Newton, of Thatcham, Berkshire, who wins £25 for A Special Friend. Fiona says: “Well, talk about tugging heartstrings! This is a beautiful and clearly written story, evocative in some ways, of The Lovely Bones. Saying that, the plot is original and unique and engages the reader from the first challenging sentence. Adult wickedness is a true and abhorrent reality and the effect it has on a child is different in each case. Here, there is no judgement or unnecessary dwelling on detail, just the simple truth, and one of the best endings I’ve ever read. It does tug the heartstrings, but ultimately makes a joyous melody.”
The writers on the shortlist are:

Jack Frey, Westfield, New Jersey, United States

Juliet Hill, Madrid, Spain

Paul Freeman, United Arab Emirates

Charlotte Soares
Winning stories will be posted on www.inscribemedia.co.uk Well done to our successful writers. You can enter the July competition at the same address.

Free flash fiction competition launched
The team behind The Global Short Story Competition has launched its latest free flash fiction competition. The challenge to writers is to produce a story capturing one of the best things in life’ in no more than 100 words.
The deadline is September 1, 2014. Prize £50 and you can enter at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inscribemedia/183385438479538 The team at Inscribe Media, who run the competition, will judge it.

Free stuff
Theres loads of free hints on writing at our blog at www.inscribemedia.co.uk and you can also check out our free writers toolbox, which can be downloaded off the home page at http://www.inscribemedia.co.uk/

Facebook
You can check out our Facebook page with its news, views and free competitions at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inscribemedia/183385438479538

Mentoring and courses
For information on our online writing courses and mentoring packages at http://www.inscribemedia.co.uk/writing-courses---bespoke-mentoring.html

Nurturing new talent through our e-books
A reminder that, as part of our efforts to support and showcase new writing talent worldwide, we have published seven e-books

Lost Souls by Roger Barnes When young women start to go missing in Africa, an International Strike Force is assembled to rescue them.

Harry’s Torment by Michael Beck Set in the fictional east coast port of Thirlston and centred on investigators tackling the heroin trade.

Previously published were:
Cyber Rules by Myra King. The novel by Australian writer Myra tells the story of a farmer’s wife in isolated rural Australia. Caught up on the addictive side of the Internet, she holds a secret which may prove to be deadly.

Global Shorts - an anthology of short stories taken from the early years of the Global Short Competition.

Vegemite Whiskers - a selection of some of the finest writing from Australian authors who have entered the Global Short Story Competition.

White Gold by Roger Barnes A thriller by Roger Barnes taking the reader into a world of intrigue and danger set amid the poachers of Africa.

Haghir the Dragon Finder by John Dean, a comic fantasy for older children. Haghir

and his hopeless comrades are dragon slayers seeking a new challenge.
All the titles can be obtained by keying their titles into the search field of the Kindle shop at www.amazon.co.uk Australian readers will have to purchase via Amazon US at www.amazon.com
* If you don’t have a Kindle, there is a free Kindle reading app for your PC at
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

* You can find more about the books on our website. You can also check out our ebooks on Pinterest at http://gb.pinterest.com/inscribemedia/

Contacting us
You can contact us as deangriss@btinternet.com

Thank you for all your support

John Dean
Inscribe Media

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

Structuring your short story

When structuring their short story, some writers opt for the beginning, middle, end approach, a traditional and proven format which has served short story writers well down the decades.
Others go for deliberately confusing the reader, creating stories which are not clear at the start but which slowly reveal themselves. They may do it by concealing where the action takes place, or perhaps who the central characters are. Or keeping back the salient piece of information the reader
needs to make sense of everything.
Some writers go for the flashback approach, beginning the story with an incident then working backwards to explain how we arrived at this moment. Knowing what happens at the end can make the events that unfold that little bit more poignant.
John Dean

Where do ideas come from?

For some writers, stories always start with a place, somewhere that strikes them so forcibly that the story unfolds around them. Other writers start with a character, someone so interesting, so intriguing that they can almost tell the story on their own.

Other writers begin with the story itself, an idea inspired by a newspaper snippet, something someone says, a sudden sense of what if?Some write for additional reasons, to get a point over, to add to our knowledge of the world or to make us think about an issue in a different way.

Whatever your motivation - and there will be many others - one thing is certain; if it drives you to sit down in front of that computer or lift up that pen, its got to be worth writing about.

John Dean

Planning your short story

I always think that short stories work best in a series of episodes - tiny chapters, really. So a good idea is to jot down your episodes before you start writing eg

Episode one Characters meet for work

Episode two An altercation by the coffee machine

Then once that is done you can see what to cut out, what to keep in, where it is lopsided etc.
There are some rules to bear in mind during the planning process:
The best stories are the ones that follow a fairly narrow subject line; too many plotlines and you end up with a novel
An effective short story often covers a very short time span (does not have to be, but most successful stories concentrate on one incident and follow it through
Don’t have too many characters. Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, and too many diverse dimensions dilute the theme. Have only enough characters to effectively tell the story
Make every word count. There is no room for unnecessary expansion in a short story. If each word is not working towards putting across the story, delete it.

John Dean

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Opening lines

OK, I know I bang on about starts but some of the entries into the July Global Short Story Competition (still a low entry, good time to have a go at the £100 first prize) show their importance.

Whether it’s drawing the reader into the author’s world through description, creating intrigue through an idea or introducing a fresh and distinctive voice, the opening lines of several of the stories we have received this month grab the reader.

You can enter at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean

Young writers

Returning to my recent theme of young writers, we run an open mic for writers in our home town of Darlington and several of the writers who read are teenagers.

They remind me of me at that age, writing feverishly, honing their craft, making mistakes and learning from them.

I know a lot of youngsters who write (my 15-year-old daughter is part of a circle of them and I take creative writing sessions in schools) and in an age when exam pressures threaten to crowd out young people’s creativity, it’s a joy to see.
John Dean

Gettiung it right

A wonderful example of the storyteller’s art came into the Global Short Story Competition over the weekend.
It started in the middle of something, effectively saying to the reader ‘ah, you’re here, well tag along, you’ll pick it up.’
Full of hints of drama, stories yet to be told, tragedies experienced, it kept the reader hooked to the very last word.
Plenty of time to enter this month’s competition at www.inscribemedia.co.uk

John Dean


The great storytelling tradition

I am often reminded that our competitions are part of a great cultural tradition. You see, stories have shaped the world in which we live and helped inform the way we think, and continue to do so.

All across the world can be found great storytelling traditions dating back thousands of years. From Africa to Europe, North and South America to Australasia and Asia, with its Indian epic tales and the storytelling tradition in China dating back to 206BC, the telling of stories has been part of cultural development.

This train of thought was prompted by recent entries into the Global Short Story Competition from all over the world. Indeed, we have received entries from sixty-plus countries last time we added them up.

But why use the phrase ‘storytelling’ rather than writing? Well, a New York Times article reported that researchers found that the human brain, wherever it may be in the world, has an affinity for narrative construction, with people finding it easier to remember facts if they are presented in a story rather than as a list.

All we do is write them down.

John Dean

The long and the short of it

I sometimes hear writers asking ‘how long is a short story?’
Short stories can be anything from 500 to 6,000 words. Anything under 500 words tends to be labelled ‘flash fiction’ or ‘micro fiction’ (although some would argue it’s still a short story) and anything over 6,000 is moving into novella territory.
However, I would argue above everything that a story is as long or short as it needs to be - an entry into the Global Short Story Competition overnight was little more than 700 words but did the job perfectly.
You can enter at www.inscribemedia.co.uk


John Dean

May winners announced

Judge Fiona Cooper has selected her winners for the May Global Short Story Competition and writers from England have taken the honours.

The £100 first place prize goes to Bernadette Keeling, of Leeds, for Street Cornered, of which Fiona says: “This astonishing story has more twists and turns than a corkscrew, all deftly executed and convincing. Somehow, the writer has managed to cover what, on TV, would be a double episode of suspense. It is rare to find such a pacy and densely packed tale, where atmosphere and character crackle to life, and the tension is completely sustained throughout. Excellent.”

Our highly commended runner up is Esther Newton, of Thatcham, Berkshire, who wins £25 for A Special Friend. Fiona says: “Well, talk about tugging heartstrings! This is a beautiful and clearly written story, evocative in some ways, of The Lovely Bones. Saying that, the plot is original and unique and engages the reader from the first challenging sentence. Adult wickedness is a true and abhorrent reality and the effect it has on a child is different in each case. Here, there is no judgement or unnecessary dwelling on detail, just the simple truth, and one of the best endings I’ve ever read. It does tug the heartstrings, but ultimately makes a joyous melody.”
The writers on the shortlist are:

Jack Frey, Westfield, New Jersey, United States

Juliet Hill, Madrid, Spain

Paul Freeman, United Arab Emirates

Charlotte Soares
Winning stories will be posted on www.inscribemedia.co.uk Well done to our successful writers. You can enter the July competition at the same address.

John Dean


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Recognising authors

Here’s an interesting story - the UK-based Chipping Norton Literary Festival and second-hand book retailer Bookbarn International have both announced, independent of each other, initiatives to reward authors by paying them a percentage of the profits they make.
Clare Mackintosh, Chipping Norton Literary Festival's Director, said: “Paying authors for appearances is the ethical thing to do. Our profit-share scheme puts authors at the heart of the festival – which is precisely where they should be.
“It’s important to us that each and every author is rewarded for their contribution. What better way to reward them for their effort than to split our profits with them?"
Based on figures from this year's festival, authors would have been paid up to £150. .
Bookbarn International and the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society
have launched a pilot programme which will see authors paid for the sales of used books. The ‘Book Author Resale Right’ (BARR) means authors will receive a percentage of the net profit BBI makes from second-hand sales of their books.
All very encouraging.

John Dean