Thursday, 29 September 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

My New Ebook, A Baker's Dozen

My new Ebook is available from . Go check it out, it is a collection of thirteen short stories. They deal with everyday issues and how we cope with what life can throw at us. It is a mix of all emotions really. I hope you enjoy it, do let me know please. If you would like to download a free copy until Oct 20th 2011, the code to use is WD64U
The links are * To view my book
                     *To view my profile

Friday, 23 September 2011



Firstly, make sure your story is polished and proofread.
The following are general standard guidelines when submitting a short story
  • Paper size: A4 white
  • Font: Times New Roman, although this is a serif font, each letter is proportional to the space it takes up. Courier New is also a serif font where each letter takes up the same space as each other: the i takes up the same space as the m (used mainly in US market and for novels).
  • Font size: 12 (both in Times New Roman and Courier New)
  • Spacing: Double spacing
  • Justification: Title is centred. Story is left justification, this means Right side staggered.
  • Get familiar with the magazines you wish to submit too. Buy at least two copies of the magazine and study them. Go to the website of the magazine and check their guidelines, if it’s not on the website then e-mail for a copy of guidelines.
  • Think in advance: Magazines work roughly 12 weeks ahead of an occasion and sometimes more, e.g. Christmas, Valentines, centenaries etc. Submit in time.
  • Competitions: Read The Rules
The word count varies for each magazine, roughly one A4 page magazine is up to 800 words. The following are a rough guide for fiction in magazines,
Flash- 1000 words              Short story- 1000-3500                   Serial- 4000-8000. 
Cover Sheet (used for novels and competitions): this page has the Title, Author’s Name, Postal Address, e-mail Address, Contact number and Word count.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011



v     What is the first thing a reader sees when they pick your work to read?
      The title or name of your story. So it is worthwhile putting some thought into it when your work is complete.
v     It is helpful that the title you chose is a catchy one that maybe gives a hint of what the story is about.

v     Sometimes the title for a short story is a phrase that has been used in the body of the work. It could be the opening words of the first line or indeed the last words of the story.

v     Try not to use a twist on old clich├ęs or names of films or songs.

v     Try to be original with your choice.

v     Take a blank page and write out the ideas that come to mind. List the names and when finished, pick the one that represents your story best.

v     If you have a favourite author, look at the titles they use for their stories, in what way do the titles and their stories connect?

v     It is not an easy task but worth taking the time to get it right.    

Monday, 19 September 2011

Dialogue Help-Sheet

Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people.
It brings characters to life and adds interest.
Functions of Dialogue:
  • Provide information
  • Describe place/person
  • Create a sense of time
  • Create conflict/suspense
  • Move the story forward
  • Reveal a character’s thoughts
Quotation marks  “ ”
·        Start new line for different speaker.
·        Thoughts are not put in quotation marks.
·        Single quotation marks for quotes from someone/book.
            Quotation marks are outside all that is said
Take Note:
  • Be aware of local slang terms, accents, etc.
  • It must suit the story and the era the story is set in, (1) A teenager speaks differently from an older person, (2) A northerner speaks differently from a person living in the south.
  • Consistency: if you use Isn’t - Can’t, then continue to use it and do not change it to Is not- Can not
  • Must listen to how people talk
  • Don’t give too much information to your reader, let the story unfold.
  • Use profanity and slang sparingly.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Plot, what is it? A writers help-sheet,

 What is it? It is the story, the start, middle and the end. A plot is a casual sequence of events. It draws the reader in to the characters lives and so the reader understands the choices the characters make.
No plot is without conflict / crisis / change.
 The opening is the most vital component of the story. It must grab the reader and give them a need to know more. Introduce the main character from the outset. Pose the story’s conflict / question that need’s to be resolved.
 Type of conflict can be social, circumstance or physiological. Conflict is critical to the story as it is this point that changes your main character. Having conflict gives drama or suspense to the story, in a short story there is usual only one crisis as words are limited. In a novel, you may have many moments of drama as the word count is so large and it is these moments of suspense that makes the reader want to turn the page to find out what happens. This all happens in the middle of your story.
 The end of the story should arrive at a natural conclusion. All threads teased out through your characters and storyline must be neatly sewn up at the end. It does not need to be a happy ending always but it must be a satisfying end for the reader. The reader must be left feeling good, that justice was served.

Your personal experience is best.
Other people’s experience.

Writing about what you know gives your writing an expertise in that area and so therefore your writing will read more authentically.
If writing historical or setting your story in locations you may not have visited then you need to do research.
You must give the reader a sense of being there with your characters so knowing the historical era is vital to draw your reader in.
As a writer, observation of life needs to be developed. The five senses, taste, touch, hearing, sight and smell all need to be triggered. The most powerful of the senses is smell; it can arouse so many emotions and memories.
The idea for the story is its theme. This could be romance, murder, historical or fantasy etc.  

POV (Point of View)        Who is telling the story?

It is usually either written in the first person or third person.
When writing in the first person, the sentences have a tendency to be short and snappy. The story is being told from one person’s point of view so can be trickier to deal with as the main character can only describe what he/she thinks the other characters feel. It is only the narrator’s view we have to believe to tell us the truth.
When using the third person, it is more comfortable to write as each character has a voice and the narrator just fills in the background. 
Writing in the second person can/has been done but is unusual.

Consider the following: It is late on a Saturday night and a crowd are queuing to get in to the local nightclub. An argument takes place between two people and a fight erupts.
Regarding points of view, there are many. There are the two people who started the argument, there are those who were within earshot, there is the club doorman who is keeping an eye on proceedings and then the Gardai when they arrive. So you have many points of view so therefore you have many different descriptions of the one event.

Bear the following in mind when writing your story:

 “When written in Chinese the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters - one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity”
                                                                     John F Kennedy, April 12th 1959.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Create a Character Help-sheet

  • In a short story, there are only 2 or 3 characters the most.
  • Introduce your main character in the opening of your story.
  • Characters through their dialogue, moves the story forward and so gives an insight into their personalities.
  • Write a sympathetic character that the reader will identify with and then give that character problems to sort and so your story begins.
  • Naming your character, put thought into it. Only have 1 unusual or exotic name in your story. Make sure the names you choose suit the era of the story (make sure its in existence)
  • When thinking about the characters in your story, it helps to make a CV or use a notice-board to pin up any ideas/images you may have.
A character’s CV is a list of their features, likes, dislikes family status etc.
  • Eye colour, Hair, Height, Weight, Age.
  • Temperament
  • Date of birth
  • Moral/ethical/religious beliefs
  • Political stance
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Habits good or bad, (biting nails,)
  • Quirks or eccentricities
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Fears/Phobias
  • Short or long term goals
  • Hope and dreams
  • Look at people around you, what are they wearing? How do they behave?
  • Look in magazines, cut out photos that look like your character to be
  • Where does your character come from?
  • Where do they belong?
  • What is his/her family relationship like? With friends? With work colleagues?
  • What does he/she work at?
  • Where did they go to school/university?


Welcome to my new blog, where I hope to share my thoughts and experiences in the the writing world.