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12 Books in 12 Months

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“Do Women Have Too Many Rights?” – A Clickbait Conundrum

Earlier in the week, a tweet asking the above question made it into my Twitter timeline. This is not my question, hence the fact I have presented it in quotation marks. It was, based on the rules of punctuation, a question asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. Check this oot:  Continue reading ““Do Women Have Too Many Rights?” – A Clickbait Conundrum”

How To Be A Deranged Poetess

In case you missed the simple pleasure that was the #derangedpoetess hashtag kicking about on Twitter, I shall briefly summarise. Last week, a journalist called Oliver Thring wrote what can be read as a pretty sexist piece for the Sunday Times about poet Sarah Howe, winner of the T.S.Eliot prize. Some fellow female poets then tweeted to suggest the language he used was somewhat crass (this overview by Katy Evans-Bush details that line of thinking). Thring responded by saying he was being harangued by ‘deranged poetesses’. Continue reading “How To Be A Deranged Poetess”

The Book Blogger Files #6 – Jess Haigh (aka BookElfLeeds)

Me black and white smilingThis week The Book Blogger Files features Jess Haigh, who you may know from Twitter as @BookElfLeeds.  She’s not exclusively a book blogger, but she does know her books and bookish events, so I wanted to find out more about her site.  Here goes!

Continue reading “The Book Blogger Files #6 – Jess Haigh (aka BookElfLeeds)”

We Could Be Heroes

Yesterday, Luath Press (an independent Scottish Publisher) asked Twitter for their best literary heroes.

Continue reading “We Could Be Heroes”

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

This is an update for those who followed my progress with the 28 Drawings Later Challenge in February, when I came up with promotional ideas for a play called East of the Sun, West of the Moon (which is coming to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August).

The company has had to change its name from Inglenook to Homespun, so sadly my wee teapot logo is now useless – but that is the only thing that has changed really.  The show is taking shape – it’s a family production with four actors playing all the parts and it is going to be in The Surgeon’s Hall 3rd – 25th August at 12.10 every day except Sunday.

I am telling you all this because I am the media contact, and it’s my job to go on about it at great length until you’ve all bought your tickets.  It also means one of my pictures – which regular readers saw here on the blog first – is officially in the Fringe Programme – how exciting!

I am in the process of getting the company onto all your favourite social media sites – we are on Twitter @HomespunUK and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HomespunTheatre so please follow and ‘like’ us if you can!

And now, a little animation I made:

Why I Write

Day 003 - Shame
J'accuse! © Marc-Andre Lariviere

A shocking guest post from The Rogue Verbumancer, who some of you may know as @Glempy from the twitter.

I shall endeavour to make a point.

I shall invariably fail.

Are we all sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.

Before I go any further I’ve a confession to make: I am a horrible, horrible fraud. I offered to do a guest post here at 12 books and was ready to dive headlong into all manner of topics. But alas, I cannot. The guilt is just too much. You see, I’m not actually a writer.

Continue reading “Why I Write”

Interview: EJ Newman

EJ Newman

I was faffing about on the Twitter back in January when SF author Ken MacLeod retweeted a message about 20 Years Later, the debut novel from EJ Newman. I hadn’t come across her work previously, but a quick look at her website told me I had to get in touch to find out more, as her creative output puts mine to shame!  She found time in her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her debut novel (a mystery set in post-apocalyptic London), current projects (Split Worlds, which involves producing a new story every week for a year and a day) and supporting local bookshops.

“I’m often asked what it is about dystopian novels that grabs the YA reader’s imagination, and I always like to point out this is nothing new – every generation post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels have a surge in popularity. When I was growing up it was The Tripods and Empty World (that was the first post-apocalyptic novel I read) and there’s the perennial appeal of the books 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 for example. The only different today is that the “YA market” has been explicitly defined in a way it wasn’t the last time this sub-genre was popular.

That aside, the reason it keeps being popular is quite simple I think; dystopian fiction explores problems and threats that already exist all around us, but writ large. In most dystopian fiction the reader is given a hero who resists the system, who wants to fight despite how dangerous it is – thereby enabling us to live out our own fantasies vicariously. When I was a teen, I was constantly furious at adults who were simply ignoring terrible things going on in the world. In dystopian fiction, the heroes actually do something about it.

Continue reading “Interview: EJ Newman”

12 Books in 12 Months: A Review

In November 2010 I completed National Novel Writing Month, a challenge where you have to write 50,000 words of a novel before midnight on November 30th.  From this adventure, an idea was born.

The received wisdom is that once the first draft of a novel is written, you’re supposed to leave it alone for at least three months before returning to edit – preferably longer.  Coming back to it with fresh eyes means you’re more likely to be ruthless about cutting stuff that doesn’t work.  But what do you do in the meantime?  For me, the answer was write more.  Essentially, NaNoWriMo created a monster.

In 2011, I set out to write the first draft of a novel every month of the year.  I gave each month a genre, and off I went.  It was hard going, and I only reached the hallowed 50, 000 words twice throughout the year.  But I don’t regard that as total failure, more as a lesson in what is physically possible.

Whenever I was tempted to beat myself up about it, I went back to the fact I was working four days a week as an office temp throughout the year, as well as producing monthly columns for The Broughton Spurtle and Ten Tracks, and other articles for Mslexia Magazine, IdeasTap, The Guardian and STV as I went along.  I may not have produced 50k fiction every month, but I think I probably did reach 50k across all my writing.  I blogged about this in June to serve as a constant reminder.

But what was the final word count?  Drumroll, please….

Continue reading “12 Books in 12 Months: A Review”

A Story

What do Jedward’s Birthday, Liam Fox, Justin Bieber, Siri, We Are the 99 Percent, the Rugby World Cup, protests in London and the Korean Grand Prix have in common?

They’re all featured as keywords in this blog post, because they are the things people seem to be talking about on Twitter today and I want to see whether mentioning them drives more traffic to this page.

I don’t have a lot to say about any of them though, sadly.  So what I might do is incorporate them all into a short horror story, as this month I’ve been claiming I can write a short story every single day (turns out I can’t – it’s really quite hard).

 

It was John and Edward’s birthday, and they were celebrating by dancing around their kitchen to the new Justin Bieber album.

Continue reading “A Story”

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