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12 Books in 12 Months

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Scotland’s Favourite Book

The Scottish Book Trust and BBC Scotland recently conducted a poll to determine Scotland’s Favourite Book. Scotland, I do not agree with the choice we made. So much so that I felt compelled to blog about it. Blogging effects change, right? This is basically the National Collective all over again.

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Open Mic Opportunity in Edinburgh

Doctor Who Open Mic Night Edinburgh 2013Are you a poet or penner of short fiction?  Have any of your poems or prose ever included aliens, time travel, jelly babies, or copious amounts of running?  Then have I got the Open Mic Night for you!

Organised by my good friend Andrew Blair and the chaps behind Blind Poetics*, the truthfully titled ‘The Doctor Who Open Mic Night’ is coming to Edinburgh pub The Blind Poet on November 25th.  Join performers Kevin Cadwallender, Tracey S. Rosenberg and Russell Jones as they celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Doctor Who through spoken word.  And as you do it, you can help raise money for The Lullaby Trust, an amazing charity that supports bereaved families.

Open mic slots are available if you want to perform – email drwhoopenmic@hotmail.com for further info – but the organisers would like to make it clear that you don’t have to perform 100% Doctor material:  ‘anything even tangentially related, be it sci-fi, time travel, weeping angels, things-being-bigger-on-the-inside or Jon Pertwee, is totally cool.’

Meanwhile, if you just want to go and have a listen, that’s likely what I’m going to do.  Unless I spend the next week finally committing that Ode to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart I’ve been composing to paper… But I fear I’ve said too much.  Anyway entry is free, although as discussed there is the option to donate to the Lullaby Trust (they are suggesting a very reasonable £2).

If you fancy coming along or know someone else whose cup of tea it is, please help spread the word – join the Facebook event, share this blog post, and generally make a lot of noise.  Like Kevin Cadwallender might do:

Hope to see you there!

When: Monday 25th November, 7.30pm
Where: The Blind Poet, 32 West Nicholson Street, Edinburgh

*Those chaps are Roddy Shippin and Alec Beattie, and you can keep up with Blind Poetics, a monthly night of spoken word, on Facebook and Twitter.

The Incurious Timothy Clavichord

Old House in Raleigh, NC
© vadikunc

I was recently introduced to a wondrous thing called the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator.  It’s fairly self-explanatory – at the touch of a button you get a name almost as unwieldy as that of the man himself.*   I like this because unusual character names tend to be a good story starting point for me, and in fact I’ve written some shorts based around names thrown up by the generator. If you’re feeling uninspired, why not have a go?  Meanwhile, in lieu of having anything more helpful to blog about, I thought I would post some of them here.  This is the first one.

Continue reading “The Incurious Timothy Clavichord”

Trials and Tribulations of Self Promotion

I am currently trying to write two totally different articles for two separate publications, both about 12 books in 12 months and how it got started.  They’re due at different times and the word count is different for each.

It’s not as easy as you might think.

Continue reading “Trials and Tribulations of Self Promotion”

More Questions

Further questions from Edinburgh-based writer and tweeter Andrew Blair.  I have decided to answer these separately because they’re not really related in any way.

Have you been pleasantly surprised by your research into genre fiction? For example, has Dark Romance proved to be more than pale women kissing vampires?

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much from Dark/Paranormal Romance.  I rather thought that most of it had been churned out in a cynical manner to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, and as such I assumed that all such books would be full of unsympathetic teenagers and deeply misogynistic male role models.  My plan was to make the genre readable by imbuing it with my special brand of humour/Scottish realism.

However, I am pleased to report that my suspicions were overly cynical.  The PC Cast excerpts I found online, for example, were much better than expected.  I’d go so far as to say they were entertaining, which is more than can be said for Adventures in Forks as it is seldom known.

Having said that, the main thrust is pretty much pale women kissing vampires.

What do you think of the World Book Night coverage from the BBC, and its putting of Literary Fiction at the forefront?  You remember World Book Night, with Sue Perkins going around hairdressers in Edinburgh and asking people why they hadn’t read Dostoevsky…?

My decision to put off doing Literary Fiction until December was taken at least in part because that meant it was the furthest away.  Putting LitFic at the forefront of anything strikes me as silly, because it automatically alienates a vast section of the reading population who want something a bit more gripping than flowery prose about beautiful landscapes.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy or appreciate Literary Fiction, but it’s hard going at times.  And I resent the suggestion you get from commentators on some of the programs the Beeb have shown that writing genre fiction means you aren’t as clever or as profound as a literary author – it’s more about storytelling priorities.  Personally, I can forgive a big of unpolished prose if the plot and characterisation keep me interested, whereas LitFic is all about form.

Just out of curiosity, as a writer and bookseller yourself, what do you make of the coverage?

Word Count: 0

For those expecting the actual writing to begin today I should probably mention that I am Scottish, and as such New Year’s Day is designed exclusively to help me recover from Hogmanay.  However, I will be downloading I Clavdivs* at the same time as sprawling on the couch with crisps and tea and a Doctor Who (new series 5) box set.

Tomorrow, Caligula’s Blog begins in earnest.

*I mean the classic BBC series I Claudius, where they use the roman letter that looks like a ‘v’ instead of a ‘u’  in the title.  But I quite like calling it Clavdivs.

 

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