Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Monday, 28 January 2013
Friday, 25 January 2013
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Normally you have to pay to enter writing competitions, but one of the largest is free to enter: the BBC National Short Story Award (top prize £15,000). Entries are now open for the 2013 competition.
Is there a catch? Yes. You have to have been 'traditionally published'. So it isn't a competition to find the best new writing, it is a competition to find the best writing by people who have already had some success. It is interesting that it excludes the vast majority of writers by inserting a rather old-fashioned clause in the terms. So the writers who have become millionaires from their e-books can't enter; nor can writers who have to self-publish literary fiction that does not have a large enough commercial market to tempt traditional publishers. The restriction is doubly strange seeing as how both the BBC and the Booktrust are publicly funded (I think the Booktrust gets about £6 million a year), yet they are using money for these vast prizes with caveats which serve only to legitimise and maintain the status quo.
I'm not ranting because I can't enter (luckily I was published in Sarasvati, a magazine that has been around for over twelve months and has an ISSN, so I am legit!) but because I think it is a shame that so many excellent authors are prevented from entering a competition that their taxes are going towards funding.
Monday, 14 January 2013
Have you read Cold Fusion 2000? Did you have any questions? Maybe you'll find the answers here! If you haven't read it yet then beware of reading on: there are spoilers. I may add to this over time.
What's the novel about?
See the blurb here. It could perhaps be described as a fantasy love story, or a romantic maturation novel. The original blurb I played around with was:
Sometimes we want something that isn’t good for us.
Sometimes there’s a second chance to have it.
And sometimes we surprise ourselves with the decisions we make.
What are the discussion questions for book groups?
Some of these will be answered on this page.
- What happens just before and after the chapter Broken Parities? How does it relate to what happens while Alex is doing press-ups at the start of the novel?
- Why doesn’t Jane appear before or after the chapter Broken Parities?
- What are the themes and concerns of the novel?
- What is the significance of the novel’s name?
- How do the chapter names relate to the events of those chapters?
- What is the relationship between the chapters Superdense Matter and Superlight Matter?
- How many elements of Alex’s behaviour, character and interests label him as geek? What are they?
- Why is Alex such a disaster area at the start of the novel? Has he improved by the end? In what ways?
- Does Alex deserve to be happy? And after the novel ends, will he be happy?
- Do you think Natalie is making a mistake in pursuing Alex?
- What is the significance of Hannah’s casket in the art gallery/museum?
- If you could meet any character from the novel and ask them a question, who would you choose, and what would you ask? Why?
Friday, 11 January 2013
Thought 1: reading groups are excellent. You love a book, why not share that with others? You hate a book, why not get it off your chest? Many things are more fun with other people.
Thought 2: sometimes a person misunderstands a book. Offering a pointer can be good.
Thought 3: I could eat some chocolate cake right about now, if only there was some in the house.
Saturday, 5 January 2013
On the 10th December I gave a talk about my new novel Cold Fusion 2000 at Aberystwyth University's 2012 Book Festival (programme).
Here's a video of it. Apologies for the low quality of the recording, and the fact that camera woman missed the beginning. Just like Steve Austin I've taken the parts, added new ones, and cobbled them together into a vague approximation of what existed before.
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