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The Changing Face of Writers GroupsI have been a member of a writers’ group for about 12 years.

What happened was a previous group member, who left the group due to leaving the area, returned to the area and came along to a group meeting with a view to re-joining.  At the end of her visit I got the impression she was not particularly happy and she revealed that the group now was not one she wanted to re-join.

On exploring further she said she had not felt comfortable in the group and it was very different from the group she had once belonged.

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Far Beyond the Brilliant Sky - Part 3Chilli dries in the matting of Gerry the Gin’s beard and Angie resists the urge to lean across the bar with her cloth and wipe it away.  She wonders if he has ever known a woman.

As he pokes an overlong fingernail into his ear and twists it around, leisurely, she doubts it.  She doesn’t look at the smear of yellow on his skin when he places his hand back on the bar.  The clock above the pool table clicks around to two; the dedicated drinkers, the ones who take it seriously, will be in soon.  The anchor that has looped around Angie the past week seems to shift, and her mind turns to barrels and optics, checking she has

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When Inspiration Strikes

General advice from all of the writing courses I have attended is that the serious writer should keep a writer’s note book.  This is to keep with you at all times – yes, next to the bed at night – and to be used to take notes that could be useful on later writings.

So what sort of things should you record?  In my view, it can be anything.  A good starting point is to keep diary entries.

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Far Beyond the Brilliant Sky - Part 2And here he is again, Gerry the Gin.

Angie has been waiting for him most of the morning, and finally sees him through the window of Shay’s Bar, his form braced against the snow, arms wrapped around his body in resignation as he climbs down from his battered old truck, which looks incongruous next to the snow mobiles.  He tramps towards the door.

A blast of cold air, white flakes skidding haphazardly across the floor, and the man is inside.  It’s been a week since Ray Sullivan’s party and Gerry has been trapping again.
 

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The Need to ReadArticles written by agents and publishers in magazines and yearbooks constantly hark back to a familiar theme, one which also features quite frequently in the “submission guidelines” of magazines.  It cannot fail to be irritating for a magazine to receive material which is clearly hopelessly inappropriate for their publication, and it can be equally galling for agents and publishers to be sent fiction for

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Far Beyond the Brlliant Sky: 1Stokeland.  It sits at fork between two roads: one a thick, commercial highway bedevilled by ice for ninety percent of the year; the other a stripped, frozen weave of a road, impassable for ten months out of twelve and huddled beneath wedges of brilliant white snow.   It is a wonder that Stokeland has any inhabitants at all; but it does, over a hundred souls.

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Forcing Yourself to Write to a DeadlineI have set myself the target of finishing the travelogue of my Mongol Rally Odyssey by September, however I have to say it’s not going so well.  Like most of my writing, the whole thing set off at a cracking place, the start was sharp, focused and I thought pretty gripping.  However, now that I’ve come to the meat of the thing I seem to have lost that focus and my faith in what I’m writing about.

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Writing CompetitionsI’ve been organising a writing competition for ten years on behalf of the writing group I belong to.  Our first competition was a “toe in the water” and I personally guaranteed the prize money which amounted to £350, should we not receive enough entries.  We made a small profit on the competition and since then have used any competition surplus to increase the following competition’s prize money.

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What to Write AboutDeciding to write, in principle, is straightforward enough, but the immediate hurdle to follow is deciding what to write about.

For many people, unfortunately, this is the one they stumble over so badly that they never get back up.  For others, the choice is obvious; with particular interests and experience in one

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Hay FestivalThere does seem to be a strong tendency in the British to dismiss an enjoyment in the discussion of the written word as pretentious, in this world intellectual is an insult.

It is very much linked to the view that science is either undertaken by otherworldly boffins or madman bent on creating something that the

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