Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Winchester Writing Festival

Winchester Writing festival is back in June – 17th to 19th, prices varying depending on which package you pick.

I have been to Winchester’s Writing Festival a couple of times, both at the expense of going on a holiday, and I can honestly say that if I had the money I would be going again this year. Yes, the conference is expensive. Although if you break it down into the costs of accommodation, food and your individual workshops it does feel better. I do believe that it is worth the money, for the advice you get especially the workshops and the one to one appointments. And it looks like finally they have added some science fiction and fantasy to their programme.

As well as the festival itself, they offer a series of competitions, which you do not need to attend the festival to attend.

If you want more details follow the link here.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

SFSF5 Featuring David Tallerman and Adele Wearing

So yesterday on another cold, rainy and windy day (well it it’s the British winter), we braved the elements to end to the Eten café in Sheffield for the Sheffield Fantasy and Science Fiction Social event five. This time our guess were David Tallerman and Adele Wearing. David is the author of Giant Thief,  and its sequels Crown Thief and Prince Thief.  He has also written Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science, Patchwerk, and The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories. Full details can be found at his website – link here. Adele is ‘aunty fox’ and the founded of Fox Spirit, whose website can be found here.

The event itself was bookended by readings by David Tallerman, his second reading coming from his brand new book of Short Stories – The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories, which is currently discounted to£0.99 or $0.99 dollar depending on which side of the Atlantic that you live on. Where as Adele Wearing told us the story of how she set up Fox Spirit and answered other publishing related questions. The end ended with the now legendary raffle and a good chance for writers, readers and publishers to mingle.

The next SFSF will be in the spring and keep your eye out for the SFSF sister events in York, Eastercon in Manchester and Robot: Creative and Comic Arts Convention at the Winter Gardens in Sheffield.

Pictures of the SFSF are below.

David Tallerman reading.

Adele Wearing answering questions.

SFSF raffle.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Reminder Post - SFSF5 on Saturday

SFSF Social returns for the first event of the new year on Saturday 20th February, at 4pm, for another afternoon of readings, talks, Q&As, and a couple of freebies. We're at Eten Cafe on York Street in Sheffield City Centre, and this time our guests will be: David Tallerman and Adele Wearing.

More details can be found here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Submissions Open – Uncanny Magazine

Submissions are open at Uncanny Magazine for short stories. Uncanny is a Science Fiction and Fantasy based magazine and they are currently looking for unpublished speculative fiction stories between 750-6000 words. Payment is $.08 per word.

More details can be found here.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Reading Your Work Out Aloud

When I was out for a walk earlier and listening to the Writing Excuses podcast (a good way of multitasking in by book, devoting some quality time to listening to craft related podcasts and getting in some exercise to get some fresh air and energise my mind a bit), the issue of reading aloud came up and I thought it would be a good topic for the next blog post.

Not many of us are fans of reading our work out and come don’t always seen the point. It’s a written piece of work not a script, it gets read in the head and not spoken aloud, right? Well wrong, there is an increasing number of audiobooks these days and people listening to them when they travel to work, do the housework, shopping, go for a walk etc in a form of multitasking. And even if there is no chance that your book will ever become an audiobook, there is still a point in reading aloud. This is because you get to see the text differently.

When we read, how many of us end up skim reading and missing out the odd words, especially if you know the text so well. I know that I do. And this book that you have spent a year working on, do you really want it to be less than its best because you have skim read it instead of really understanding the words and looking at it from a different angle. Take the three days to read your book aloud, you’ll be amazed at how many changes that you make.

So what does reading aloud actually help with – well this is just my experience from reading my work out at my writers’ group.

  1. It helps you identify long sentences, especially those that don’t have any commas in. If you need a breath, then your reader will.
  2. Speaking of sentence length – it will help you find the places where your reading speeds up and slows down. This will help you tell what the natural pace and flow of the story is. You can only read a quick pace for so long, so it might help you identify areas where you need to slow thing longer sentences or speed things up with those short sharp sentences.
  3. You will find were the writing is clumsy and you end up tripping over your words for one reason or another – maybe because you have a single word that just stands out in a sentence.
  4. Repeated word. Yes, you have only used a word once in a sentence but you have used it three other times in that paragraph. So maybe it’s worth getting that thesaurus out and changing it to something different.
  5. If you can get someone to read it to, you’ll get their feedback too and this is slightly different to giving it them to read, as it stops them skimming it, so they will hear the whole story and not just selective bit especially if they are finding part of the story, dare I say boring and would otherwise skim it.

So those are just a quick five reasons to give it a go, after all, anything that can make your story better is worth a go.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

One Million Word Update

Back in November for the start of Nanowrimo, the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s group challenged themselves to see how quickly as a group, we could write one million words, with the aim to complete this goal by November 2016 and the next Nanowrimo. At the end of December the running total stood at 188,331 words.

This month has seen word count totals of Chris – 18,037 words; David – 2,445 words; Jo – 600 words; Kathryn – 26,712 words; Steve P – 500 words and Tom – 6,000 words.

That makes a month’s total of 54,294 words and a cumulative total of 242,625 word.

So there is just 757,375 words more to write.