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About Tony At The Word...

My first brush with writing was via a local ten week course which gave participants the basic “rules” and “techniques” of creative writing and lots of opportunity to practice. In the first session we were asked by the tutor why we had enrolled on the course and it was clear that everyone else wanted to improve their writing so they could get their work published. My rationale was that I wanted to write for fun, to provide a distraction from a busy work life. Ironically my first ever short story won a competition and was published in a writing magazine and I’ve had other work published since.

However, I get as much pleasure from the promotion of creative writing as well as the writing itself. Hence I’m a member of a writing group and have helped to organise writing workshops on a variety of subjects and I organise an annual writing competition which attracts entries from all over the world. Of course, being involved in “The Word Runs Through It" gives me further opportunities to promote creative writing and reading activities as well.

In terms of reading I have a wide taste including reading short stories, novels, poems and scripts. I also like watching the products of good writing such as film, theatre and TV drama. Some of my favourites include John Steinbeck, William Boyd, Bernhard Schlink, Arthur Miller and Wendy Cope, but these are just names that have come to mind from a long list.

My hopes for “The Word ……” is that it provides an interesting and valued resource for readers and writers alike, encourages increased literary activities and enables people to connect with one another around their passionate interests.

The Wrong WordsA recent post on Facebook made me think about “wrong” words. The post was really a simple test of observation:


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Repost when you find the mitsake


I shared this on Facebook  and received comments from friends which invariably included a spelling mistake, e.g. “I found it straight away, we must have gone to a good skool” and “I found it in seccunds”.


Activities that Make Your Writers Group More EnjoyableSo what does a typical writers’ group look like? I guess it comprises regular meetings and the chance for members to read their current scribblings and then to get a critique from other members.

Certainly that’s how the writers’ group I belong to started, but over time we built some formality into the groups’ workings by


World Book Day - Celebration of Books and ReadingThere has been much coverage on the TV and radio of World Book Day.

This is something I’m familiar with but don’t really know that much about, so I have been on the World Book Day website to find out a little more. The website quotes, “the main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.” That alone has to be applauded.

The first thing is the fact that this year’s World Book Day is the 18th year it has been in operation. I thought it was much younger than that.


10 Ways to Publicise Your Self-Published NovelRecently, a friend of mine self-published her first novel.  The novel was a piece of fiction but also a piece of social history based on the life her family lead in a small village in an English county and the main character’s travels.  The main character was drawn from her memories of her grandmother and told of her life from a young girl.


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.


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.


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.


Latin American WritersIf you asked me to name some Latin American writers, I’d be struggling beyond three obvious and popular novelists – Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho.  At a push I might also remember Jorge Luis Borges, but wouldn’t know too much about him.

OK, OK so you think I’m a Philistine!  I have to agree with you on my Latin American writer knowledge, so I thought it about time I looked for other writers I should be reading from this stretch of the world.

In his article “9 Latin American Writers You Should Be Reading in 2014″ Nyki Salinas-Duda makes a strong argument that


Writers BlockDo you, like me, ever suffer from writers block?  You know, those periods when you gaze, for what seems like hours, at a blank piece of paper or a blank, opened Word file on your computer screen.  No matter how hard you try you can’t think of a thing to write and the more you try, the more hopeless it becomes.  Yes, this is what’s affectionately known as Writer’s Block.


Write What You KnowI was looking at a writer’s blog the other day and she was promoting the maxim, “Write About What You Know”.  The argument is that your writing will come easier and be more realistic if it is based on your personal knowledge and experience.

This is a theme often promoted at Writers’ Workshops.  On the surface it does seem to make good logical sense.