Bad Blogger/ Bad Writer Has No Time

Those that think they know say that a writer should always find time to write, and that no excuses are acceptable.  Really?

At the beginning of this month I was on a roll, writing novel chapters on trains, but I’m ashamed to say, Dear Reader, that I haven’t written a word since.  Not even a comma.  And, keen watchers of this blog – like you, DR – will have noted that I didn’t post last week on this blog, although I did take part in the Katherine Blessan blog tour on the Dear Reader blog.

So what major tragedies have occurred in the Johnson household, so as to prevent me writing?  Er, none, DR. It’s just that life and work has got in the way, finishing off the last few courses I was teaching, visiting friends and family, and looking after grandchildren last week, and tomorrow.  I’m typing this post on my iPad on the bed settee in my daughter’s living room, at 11.30pm.  Next week we’re off on hols in Ireland.

I can provide a list of things I should’ve done and have not done, including not writing story for my writing group on Tuesday, not taking part in Wendy H Jones’s webinar this evening, not making curtains for spare bedroom and not deadheading roses in garden.  Are proper writers a different breed?  Do they not have roses or families?  Do they not have to work?  Do they not have husbands they like to spend time with occasionally?  (He and I went to Anglesey Abbey today – see photo below of the tiger lilies in the Anglesey Abbey formal garden, which we would like to havin our garden.) image

Am I missing something?

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Yet Another Review on Dear Reader Blog

There’s a new review on the Dear Reader blog – of  An Insubstantial Death by Hilary Creed.  Do take a look.

Another one, book-lovers.  Previously, before I created the Dear Reader blog, I was aware that all I was doing on Write On was writing book reviews.  Now I have my dedicated book review site, and there are some really good books on there.  What I don’t like, I don’t review.   Maybe those of you who are readers might like to follow Dear Reader.

Also, writers out there, I’m happy to review your book.

There’s a Review on Dear Reader…

I have just reviewed K A Hitchins’ excellent book about an autistic girl, ‘The Girl at the End of the Road’ on my other blog, Dear Reader.  Please take a look.  Those of you who might have tried the Facebook or Twitter link this morning may have been disappointed, as the post managed to delete itself overnight.  Many apologies.  Fortunately, I managed to get it back, by clicking on revisions and copying and pasting pages of html.  Ho-hum.

Will write a proper post on this blog soon.  At the moment, I’m trying to write-write and build the church website, and do three part-time jobs, and do family stuff.

“Hey! That Was My Idea!”

A lot of useful information here. In my real life, I used to teach copyright, and my students surprised by two things:
1. Copyright is presumed.
Putting (c) on a piece of work is for information only.
2. Titles are not copyright. One of my published stories has the title ‘Us and Them’ (and I didn’t get sued by Pink Floyd).
3. As Helen says in the article below, ideas are not copyright.

Blog About Writing

angryDid you hear the story of the newcomer to a writers’ group who refused to share his work in a meeting, in case someone ‘stole’ his ideas?

It’s only natural to be protective of our ideas – after all, they’re the lifeblood of writers – but was that an over-reaction or was he right to be worried? And if our ideas are used by someone else, is there anything we can do about it, or even learn from the experience?

Firstly, remember, there’s no copyright on ideas, so even if yours is ‘stolen’ and you may consider it a moral theft, there’s no legal redress. Copying an idea is not the same as plagiarism – which means to directly copy someone’s written work and pass it off as your own.

An idea, until it’s expressed in some tangible form, doesn’t actually exist. The only way to protect an idea is…

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History About to Be Lost: Hard Times (After World War 2)

Your bad blogger is trying to get into gear again.   When was my last post, Dear Reader?  5 January.  5 January?  Some bloggers are at it every day… posting, that is.  I’d like to share with you some more ‘History About to Be Lost’.

Everybody is aware that life in the Lancashire cotton mills was tough during the mid-nineteenth century, when Charles Dickens was writing ‘Hard Times’ and Elizabeth Gaskell ‘North and South’.  Maybe you ‘did’ the Industrial Revolution at school, but I try to find the little things that won’t appear in the history books, the sorts of details you would definitely need if you were writing a historical novel.   Last week I was talking to my friend a week or so ago about life in Lancashire immediately after World War 2.

manchester-cotton-mill-in-1820_300A mother of three daughters – aged eight, five and eighteen months – loses her husband in the late 1940s.   She lived in a terraced house, on a street of terraced houses, cheek by jowl with her neighbours – this is important.   With a widow’s pension of only 15 shillings per week, she had no alternative but to go out to work at the local mill; this involves leaving the house at 7am and returning early evening.  In the mornings, a neighbour helped the daughters get up and make breakfast, then the girls walked to school together, dropping the youngest off at the childminder’s on their way.  At going-home time, they let themselves into their house and looked after themselves until their mother returns.  No harm came to them, because the neighbours always kept a watchful eye on them.   My friend refers to her neighbours as ‘aunties’, but they were more than that to her and her family.

Occasionally, the mill put the mother on short-time working, reducing her tight income further.  The neighbours got together to make large hot pots, some families contributing the meat, some the vegetables, some even less.  They all ate together.

There are no working cotton mills in Lancashire now.  If you want to see what one was like, visit National Trust Quarry Bank.  We did last autumn – it was fascinating, especially the deafening mechanical looms – but, when I suggested that my friend might like to go when she next visited Lancashire, she shuddered.    Maybe you have some memories of the Lancashire cotton mills, or factories elsewhere?  Dear Reader and I would love to hear from you.

You may not hear from me again for a while.  I’m going to the Association of Christian Writers Retreat over the weekend, then I’m off to India for a fortnight.  I may however use the time I’m sitting in the aeroplane to write up some book reviews for Dear Reader blog.

Why the Reader Put That Book Down

Good stuff here. A reader tells you what keeps her reading. Do you look for the same things as she does? Personally, I like a bit of good stuff, to share some ‘feel-good’. Why otherwise do you suppose so many detectives have loving families or good circles of friends? But I’m with her on checking facts. I’ve noticed that many writers – particularly – get it wrong when writing about the church and local government, but then that’s two areas I happen to know about. I wonder what other ‘areas of misinformation’ are out there.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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I do a ridiculous amount of reading because it is part of my job as a writer. My job in particular because I blog about craft. I read all genres and go through anywhere from 2-4 books a week. Audible will go bankrupt if I’m ever hit by an ice cream truck.

This said, I think I’m in a fairly good position to guide you guys on pitfalls to avoid from a reader’s POV. These are the mistakes that will have me railing at the heavens and throwing a book across the room…followed by depression because I can never get those wasted hours back.

I just returned a book so bad that I cannot believe I read as much of it as I did. It is a prime example why reviews can be misleading, even good ones.

I finally had to return it because there was just not enough blood…

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The Curious and Little-Known Slang Terms Found in Modern Britain

I haven’t read this myself, because I’ve only just come across the post on Morgen Bailey’s blog, but it sounds like an invaluable writing resource. Thank you, Morgen, Interestingliterature blog and, of course, Susie Dent (author).

Interesting Literature

From Susie Dent’s fascinating new book on ‘modern tribes’

The lexicographer and etymologist Susie Dent is well-known in the UK thanks to her role as the resident word expert and adjudicator on the long-running Channel 4 quiz show Countdown (the very first programme broadcast on the channel in 1982; Susie Dent joined the show in 1992). Dent is also the author of a series of popular books on the English language. Dent’s Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain is her latest book, and we were fortunate enough to be recipients of a review copy. The book is a treasure-trove of unusual jargon and colourful slang from various trades, clubs, sports, social groups, and walks of life – everything from an old publican’s friendly nickname for a habitual drinker (that’s a tosspot) to the theatrical term for an actor who performs in an exaggerated, hammy manner (that’ll be…

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