Posts

Take any word . . .

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Wordle 1,091 3/6 🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜ ⬜🟨🟨⬜🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩  I am writing this on Friday evening, with posting due tomorrow. I’ve been thinking about a subject all day. Being completely stuck for ideas, I hunted for something in the news, on Instagram, by spending a few hours editing my WIP,  doing a Sudoku or two, washing up, stroking the dog, taking the cat to the vet, phoning a friend, eating a couple of meals and finally making a pact with myself that I would do a Wordle and whatever the word was (assuming I solved the puzzle) I would write about that. A Wordle is a guessing game where one inserts letters in the first line and is shown in yellow if the letter is right, but the placement wrong, and in green if the letter is completely right. Then those letters help one to work out the next line. Somehow I solved it in three goes, as above. Of course, I am a bit short of time to write it now and I have realised that actually using the word may break the unspoken rule that one must never ever reveal

Overcoming Obstacles by Jane Walters

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Last year, a lovely friend sent me an unexpected present through the post. It was a 5-year diary with a difference: each day asks one specific question which you answer on the provided blank lines. I’m not even a full year on yet, but already these questions open up some interesting responses. Here are some examples: Is your house clean? What expression do you overuse? What surprised you today? What was your last great meal? If you were a literary character, who would you be? It’s great fun filling in the gaps each day and I find it much easier to keep up with than a regular diary. But every now and then, the question smacks me between the eyes. I had already settled on which topic to write this blog on, but this morning (12 June) I read this: ‘Is something in your way? Can you move it?’ On Saturday 15 June, ACW are hosting another in their series of Zoom events, with a theme of Overcoming Obstacles. (Book here: ACW Summer Writers' Day Two (Zoom) Tickets, Sat 15 Jun 2024

Commanded Blessing?

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  In M ay, Sheffield Scribblers gathered at my home to learn how to make a living from writing - this was a new online event (reduced group ticket price!) enabling people to share the experience. Experts spoke on Artificial Intelligence, ghostwriting and writing fiction.   Being the first of its kind, we gathered too cosily around my PC, having failed to achieve the desired projection, despite cable fiddling and obscure remote button exploration. (I have now figured out how to ‘ mirror’  for next time!) Everyone was very sympathetic, no doubt helped by steaming cups of coffee and creamed-up jammy homemade scones.  Dan Waldron presented Artificial Intelligence with discernment and provocation, seeing the cons and one pro! We used the breaks to consider the threat or opportunity for human writing. Should we use ChatGBT? Is it the ‘antichrist’?  Kate Hewitt shared her amazing journey to becoming published and a full-time writer. It was inspirational to hear how God ordered her steps. None

Navigating the Literary World as a Female Christian Writer by Peculiar Medinus

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Michael Korda's book, Male Chauvinism, captivated me some time ago. It revealed how men often treated women as inferior beings, creating elaborate justifications for their behavior. I have encountered men who were healthy enough to recognise and appreciate women's expertise, demonstrating humility by learning from them. Yet, Korda’s observations have also rung true in my professional life. As a senior correspondent, my male colleagues were very unsettled about sharing the same title with me. The notion of male superiority over women, unfortunately, persists. Heather McGregor’s book, Mrs. Moneypenny’s Advice for Ambitious Women , bluntly advises women to be as strong as men to secure the pay rises they deserve. This blog is not an attack on men but rather a guide for female writers, including Christian female writers, navigating a male-dominated literary world. Navigating the literary world as a female Christian writer can be challenging, especially when encountering deepl

Analogue Faith, By Ben Jeapes

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Image by dacsdeals from Pixabay   Calling AI stupid is, to quote Jamie Lee Curtis in  A Fish Called Wanda , an insult to stupid people. Last week, I tried to review a fascinating book that I had just read for Amazon. It was mostly about an obnoxious individual who was prominent in the government of Germany between 1933 and 1945. His first and last name both began with the eighth letter of the alphabet. I will just call him Himself. The book is called The Himself Brothers , and is by Katrin Himself, who is Himself’s great-niece, the granddaughter of his younger brother. It’s a fascinating look at how evil can arise from the most banal and mundane backgrounds. But you’ll see how it’s difficult not to touch on touchy subjects with a book like that, and the algorithms didn’t like it. I was invited to edit my review, but in the end I just cut my losses and deleted it. More amusingly, today I used a free AI website service to colourise the black and white photo of my newly

Capturing my reading

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  My first ever log book What happens when you finish a book? Do you instantly start the next one, or do you spend some time thinking about what you've read and the impact it had on you?  What I do, or at least try to do, is to capture my thoughts in my reading log book. I received it as a present on my fiftieth birthday, and I love it. To be honest I'm surprised I've not had anything like this sooner.  The blurb on the back captures what it does perfectly: The perfect pocket-sized reading record and wish list for the ever-growing mountain of books that you have read, or still need to read. Yes, like many of you, I have a long TBR - to be read - list, which thankfully isn't in physical books otherwise it would probably topple over and crush me.  Writers are often told that we need to read, a lot, This is because it enables us to distinguish between good and bad writing, and also to expand our knowledge and skills. Not that I've ever needed encouragement to pick up a

Christian writers – God’s smugglers?

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Yes, I am starting with a question, and borrowing a title from Brother Andrew’s excellent book God’s Smuggler (60th Anniversary - first published in 1964) . The reason for asking this question is to scratch an itch, or at least relieve an inner uncomfortableness…with your help.  And I wonder if this itch is present in other ACW members? In the social context of the 2020s, how can we smuggle moral, spiritual, and supernatural elements of the Christian faith into genres that are not explicitly theological or devotional? Three authors from the past who have attempted to do so are Charlotte Bronte ( Jane Eyre ) 1847, Fyodor Dostoyevsky ( Crime and Punishment ) 1866, and CS Lewis ( The Chronicles of Narnia ) 1950-1956. How subversive were these literary works to the age in which they were published? Alternately, how much were they a product of their time? How much did they challenge superficial Christianity, creeping humanism, materialism, and the paganism of their day?  CS Lewis was a well