Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's Write A Short Story by Joe Bunting

Let's Write a Short Story is an accessible, chatty guide that is full of good practical advice on writing short stories and finding a publisher for them.

It starts out with considering some of the benefits of writing short stories, outlining how they can be seen as a way of practising for something bigger, or of recycling a failed novel. Also, the author sees rejection as vital to a writer, as it shows that you're trying and so another 'benefit of writing short stories is that they allow you to get rejected sooner.If you write a novel, it could take years for your work to be rejected. With short stories, you could be rejected in weeks.' Which may seem a bit dpressing, but actually means that you can learn quicker by writing short stories than you would if you just concentrate on trying to write the next great novel. Every rejection is a step on the way to success.

The advice on how to write is very practical and to the point, take this on the need for conflict in a short story:

'people only change when they experience pain, and all stories involve transformation. Joy, unfortunately, is a lousy teacher. Don’t be nice to your characters. It won’thelp your story.'

There is an extended analysis of what makes a literary short story, with some in depth critique of style, and underlining the importance for every aspiring writer to read with an eye to both analysising and enjoying. There's an exercise on finding the right balance between showing and telling in your story and advice on how to overcome writers block.

Oh and there are some useful writing prompts in here too, with the author asking the reader to commit to writing a short story within a month of reading the book. 

So, if you want to write short stories, this is a great resource that will inspire you and give you practical help and encouragement. Read it and then write some stories!

Thanks to Story Cartel for my free download of Let's Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting

Monday, May 06, 2013

Shapeshifting Green Style Statement

I don't blog about fashion very much, but I thought that I would post a photo of this wrist cuff which I made from reclaimed fabrics. It's currently in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, but that may change, as I like it too much and am tempted to wear it myself. (So if you've seen it in the shop and liked it, now is the time to convert the liking into purchasing!).

I'm planning a whole series of fabric wrist cuffs to sell on Etsy, each of them will be unique style statements in a range of reclaimed fabrics, buttons and charms.

Although I often wear jeans and jumpers or even waterproof leggings and anorak as I go about my life as conservation volunteer and leader of guided walks, I actually also really like dressing up.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Fifty Shades of Feminism

I was delighted to win a copy of Fifty Shades of Feminism from Virago in a Twitter competition. It's an intriguing collection of essays about feminism from more than 50 women including lawyers, activists, writers, actors and community workers.

Some of the essays are very personal, some are more formal, though there's only one poem in the book and only Jeanette Winterson offers an essay written in an experimental format. The essays cover topics from pornography to the sexist assumptions behind the construction of five written characters in Mandarin Chinese. Some of the essays make direct reference to 50 Shades of Grey, which was after all the book that prompted the writing of this anthology, most of them are however a more general reaction to that genre of writing or are in fact purely statements of where the authors stand on feminism.

It's a thought provoking anthology, though perhaps with some omissions. As the New Statesman review says, there isn't an essay from a transgendered woman. I would also have been interested to read an essay from a femme lesbian about feminist perspectives on femininity. (If that's something you're interested in, I can definitely recommend Femmes of Power, which I reviewed here).

So for a quick overview of where feminism currently stands, this is a good place to start. 

Fifty Shades of Feminism edited by Lisa Appignanesi published by Virago Press.

As ever, coloured text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.