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Showing posts from January, 2019

Choosing our words

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Target readership is a phrase often used by those giving writing advice. Who are you writing for? Who am I writing for?
In this instance I am writing for the regular readers of the More than Writers blog and anyone I can entice to read this post by sharing it on Twitter and Facebook. If, when you have read it, you would be so kind as to share it with your own friends and followers that would make my day!
Almost all of us use words in speech and those of us who write use them on paper or on a screen. We may read them back in print. In speech, we may not realise how we choose our words to communicate with the person or people we are speaking to. It is perhaps second nature to use words, which we expect those present to understand. The words we speak to children are likely to be different from the vocabulary in a conversation with a theologian or a university professor. When we write anything for others to read it is particularly important to choose the right words. We are not likely to be…

Through A Glass Darkly

Predictions can be awkward, especially with technology, but I'm going to stick my neck out and make a few predictions for 2019.

MS Office will become less popular

Let's start with a biggie. Google Suite is making inroads into many companies who are fed up with Microsoft and it's pricing structure. Not only that, there are long lived 'features' that are causing problems. One such 'feature' is in Outlook, where, under certain cirmstances you cannot search your emails. If, like some employees of the company I work for, you have thousands, this is a problem. The fact that the issue has been known for over a decade and has not been fixed is not a positive for Microsoft.

Alongside that, there are other office suites that are making inroads in the people's homes such as Openoffice and Libreoffice, while its business application, Staroffice, is gaining ground slowly.

The added advantage of these pieces of office software is that they can run on Linux, which lead…

Impact

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Do you wonder what impact your writing has on others?

I mostly consider impact from the other side. That is I know my theme, what impact I’d like my piece to have and focus on selecting words I think will best achieve that.

What is lovely is when readers give you feedback and you can judge if the impact you thought your piece would have did so.  If you wonder about commenting on a post but don't, think again! Comments are noted.


Even negative feedback can be useful if you use it to gauge whether your critic missed the point of what you were trying to say or you didn't make the impact you thought.

How do you create impact? Look for the strongest words for description. No "he wore grey" here. Go for "his suit was the same colour as my cheapest cutlery". You use a few more words but the imagery, and resulting impact, is more powerful. I don't need to say the guy here is unlikely to be getting his suits from Savile Row. That is implied by "cheapest&quo…

‘Nibbler' by Trevor Thorn

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Recently I needed professional help to migrate everything on my ten year old laptop to a new one. Fortunately, after a bit of local searching, I found someone who would come to my home and work together on the changeover. (As a guide, he charged £30 an hour which felt very good value to one who just knew that trying it myself would be bound to lead to all manner of discomfort, possibly for several weeks on end: it cost just over £100).

During the time here, it was necessary to wait for some of the changeover which gave me an opportunity to ask for any helpful suggestions about improving my blog. On the assumption that a fair number of readers of this site will be blogging, I pass on the most significant piece of help he gave.

He called up a site called ‘Nibbler’. This is a free service and assesses any website on a host of fronts.

Some of the suggestions are simple to follow; others are a bit more on the geeky side but the result which takes maybe a minute to generate is amazingly com…

A Beautiful Thing by Tracy Williamson

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I would love it to be said of me that I'd lived a beautiful life.
That I'd allowed His love to melt my heart, to live and love for Him.
That He be my goal, my life, my love,  and my significance.
What is my significance?
What is yours?
Sometimes I long to 'make it' as a writer, to say that my work has been accepted, that I have a contract to sign...But although such things do bring joy, it doesn't last.
It fizzes and bubbles and is gone.
Maybe you too struggle with a sense of insignificance and feel that the things you do or say are like drops in the ocean?  What difference will it make in the big scheme of things if I write that blog or shelve it?  Share what's on my heart or let it die? Reach out to someone I know is struggling or let someone else better qualified than me get on with it?
I find that inner voice of insignificance paralysing at times and looking back I can see so many instances of when I've held back from doing something that was on my hea…

Silence and prayer, by Eve Lockett

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Sister Wendy Beckett, the ‘art nun’, was born in South Africa in 1930 and died on Boxing Day. She lived as a hermit, attached to a Carmelite Monastery in Norfolk, and wrote around thirty books. In the 1990s Sister Wendy quickly became famous through a series of TV programmes on art. Her audience made up 25 percent of TV viewers.  Sister Wendy’s character was a significant part of her story. The Arena programme about her portrayed someone who found human company difficult. Under the tutelage of JRR Tolkien, she was awarded a congratulatory first at Oxford, which means the examiners chose only to applaud, not to critique her work. Twenty years later, a series of breakdowns in her health ended her teaching career, and she was allowed to become a hermit which was the desire of her heart. Today it is hoped we have a deeper understanding of those who find relationships and empathy difficult. Instead, Sister Wendy spoke of herself as having a ‘cold heart’, and as a child had no idea how to …

My First NaNoWriMo - by Eileen Padmore

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October was frantic but I managed a quick first look at NaNo on the 30th.  Help!  So many writers way ahead in the preparation stakes: planning, scheming, writing out neat chapter structure cards.  I was coming at it with a blank computer screen (and head).  Best jump in for a dummy run now then do it properly next year.  No pressure, no word targets I decided.
Title?  Nothing!  An empty mind to match the virgin page – signed into with a pseudonym so nobody could witness me making a fool of myself.  I chose the title of a recent blog that had been popular, then hit genre – difficult when you 
don’t know what to write about.  Exploring ‘chat rooms’ and ‘genre lounges’ opened up options.  Would it be ‘Fantasy’, ‘Literary’ or Satire, Humour and Parody?’  Humour always seems to find a way into whatever I write, but I opted for fantasy. It offered more scope. 
Badges next: one for posting in a forum, another for donating – which placed a satisfying halo around my intentionally out of focus p…

Thinking about the ACW blog

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In her recent email, Wendy made a good point: the blog has slipped into being more of a ‘Christian’ blog than a blog about writing, by and for people who self-identify as Christians, reflecting a Christian world view. Maybe it’s a lot easier to discuss one’s faith than to discuss writing, given all the other writing blogs that are out on the web. We all know those blogs which try to teach other writers the craft, some addressing beginners and others suggesting new things to try. It sometimes seems as if writers would rather tell other writers how to do it than to buckle down to doing it themselves! Our discussion of writing needs to be done in a new and as yet not overdone way while also coming at the topic from a distinctively Christian angle.
And is this a spiritual angle, a theological angle, a moral angle, a traditionalist angle, or what? Or is it more like something concocted from a special language and terminology designed for the consumption of Christian insiders? This is a real…

It's supposed to be fun, you know - by Helen Murray

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Well, it's been difficult for a while. These seem to be turbulent years for me, and somehow, writing has taken a back seat. At least, I think he's still in the back seat; I haven't turned around and looked lately. My eyes have been firmly fixed on the bumpy, twisty road ahead. Maybe he climbed out at a junction some time ago and actually isn't there any more. I haven't missed him.

I remember years ago when I first started my blog, began the first draft of my no-doubt-soon-to-be bestselling novel, bought myself a copy of The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook and churned out post after post about anything and everything; my mind was overflowing with ideas and inspiration and the world was full of possibilities and promise. Then life took over. Lots of stuff, lots of challenges, problems, difficulties; lots of priority-shifting and introspection.

And now I find myself once again in January and people have been talking about that oppressive 'blank canvas' …

Where do you Write? by Emily Owen

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Last week, I visited a Cathedral, where I was amused to see this notice:


The reason for the instruction was that the nativity scene not be disturbed, I think.  Anyway, it caught my attention. Do not enter the Sanctuary.

Sanctuary is, in ecclesiastical terms, a holy place.
As Christian writers, I doubt many of us sit down to write alongside a ‘Do not enter the Sanctuary’ instruction. Probably not many of us think, I do not want to enter God’s presence as I write. But I wonder if sometimes we do not enter the Sanctuary, nonetheless. Not through deliberate choice, but through accidental forgetting.

We’re so desperate to meet a deadline, or frustrated we don’t have a deadline, or longing for inspiration, or convinced we should never write another word, or trying to make ideas work on the page, or… And we do not enter the Sanctuary.

We’re accidentally on the edges. People sometimes ask me where I write? There are a few answers, some of which are: 
‘On a train.’
‘At my desk.’
‘From a hospital bed.’
‘…

In the midst of turmoil, confusion, anxiety…

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"... the people 
who know their God 
shall prove themselves strong 
and shall stand firm 
and do exploits [for God].

Daniel 11:32  AMP







Our daily newspapers, the media and internet in our nation, and in others, constantly report civil wars, persecution, corruption, violence and uprisings ousting people from their homes. Countries are seeing a refugee crisis the likes of which have never been seen before.Billed under climate change our tv screens weekly show vast areas of devastation from fire, floods, famines, earthquakes and tsunami’s.

Matthew 25 says “do not be alarmed.Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”When we see today “nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom” Jesus told his disciples these things would be the beginning of the birth pains.  I take comfort from the Bible where Isaiah writes that our creator God ‘knows the end from the beginning’ and 'do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God."
Since November I have s…

Writers Face to Face

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I spent a few days in Ireland recently. As well a catching up with family, I had 2 different coffee dates with writer friends. It was hard to leave my writing connections behind, when I moved from Ireland in 2014. I had to start from scratch; finding a writing community, in some cases starting one myself. I pined for my Irish writer friends and I love to catch up with them when I'm home.

As tech'd up as we are these days, there really is nothing that compares to face to face meet-ups with other writers. I love social media and I believe the online connections are important. The ability to reach out to readers and writers across the world is amazing really. I look at the stats on my blog and I'm amazed to see the different countries that pop up. And yet, for me, something much more special happens when I unplug, sit and talk with other scribblers. I share ideas or projects and suddenly the plot or plan I've been stuck on, becomes unstuck. The work in progress that I'…

Stuck! by Georgie Tennant

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Ever found yourself stuck in a rut?  Fed up with everything and everyone? Feeling like you’ll never write anything, ever again, in your whole life?  You’re not alone!

I am currently in the phase of what I like to call ‘stabbing at writing.’ Most of my time is taken up being a Mum and a teacher, church member and friend.Writing is something I only ‘do’ when I have a deadline approaching or when my heart overflows with something I need to get down on the page.The deadlines bit is still ticking along – I haven’t missed a post on this blog and, if I’m asked to produce something on a topic for someone, somewhere, the keys and blank screen generally comply.
The rut bit is showing itself more in the heart stuff – the inspiration simply isn’t flowing.Life has taken me through some emotionally draining times, of late, and writing has often helped with this. As I have ridden the waves of emotion that sometimes threaten to sweep me away and walked through valleys of no emotion at all, these experi…