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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Slipstream poet at Sentinel Quarterly

Sentinel Literary Quarterly (SLQ), an online and print magazine of international writing and art, has just appointed poet and novelist Mandy Pannett in the role of Poetry Editor. As well as poetry SLQ invites submissions of fiction, drama, essays, interviews and reviews. Check the Sentinel's website  for full submission guidelines. Mandy is Chair of the Slipstream Poets (based in West Sussex) and her fourth collection of poetry All the Invisibles was recently published (SPM Publications). She is already reviewing submissions in preparation for the next issue and says, ‘I am looking forward to being part of the team as poetry editor for SLQ, sharing the international aspect of it and hoping for lots of fine submissions from which I can select strong, innovative, meaningful poems’.
If you have suitable poems ready for submission then please send them to Mandy at poetryeditor@sentinelquarterly.com. SLQ also run fiction and poetry competitions on a quarterly basis and details of forthcoming competitions are listed here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Can we write it?


Okay, if you have offspring under the age of 25 then you may get that reference to 'Bob the Builder'. We're just back from Swanwick Writers' Summer School and one of the highlights of the week was hearing Curtis Jobling talk about his career in animation, film and publishing. Most recently he's known as author of the 'Wereworld' fantasy series. But he is of course best remembered for drawing 'Bob the Builder' (and not forgetting the other characters: Wendy, Spud and my favourite Pilchard the cat). He talked, at supersonic speed without drawing breath, his career history, which also included working at Aardman studios (Wallace and Gromit), drawing 'Frankenstein's Cat' and 'Ra-Ra the Lion'. Curtis drew several of these characters, which were later auctioned off (the spoof cartoon of Bob the Builder transforming into hairy WereBob sold for £165!). His latest animated creation is 'Curious Cow', which airs on Nickelodeon. If you don't get that channel then here's a link to watch  CURIOUS COW on YouTube. If you, like me, were always shouting at Wile E Coyote NOT to light the dynamite then you'll love the 'Curious Cow' - trust me, you will start shouting NO! DON"T!

Other highlights of the week were:
  • James Moran's talks on screenwriting. (He wrote the screenplay for 'Severance', episodes of Spooks, Doctor Who etc)
  • Zoe Lambert's workshop on writing Contemporary Short Fiction (her collection of short stories is
    'The War Tour')
  • Morning meditation sessions before breakfast down by the lake (see picture right)
  • Helping to direct a  5 min play as part of 'Write, Camera, Action' (also undressing an ex-Chief Constable - he needed help getting out of his spacesuit ... enough said)
  • Workshop on comedy writing with Margaret Boulton. Just wish this had been longer than 1 hr as she had so much experience to impart.
Unfortunately Tame Teen's A/S results came out while the Indoor Writer was away and she did get horribly homesick. Five days of talking writing non-stop is tiring, by Friday her extrovert batteries were virtually flat and she almost lost it at the last breakfast when asked 'and what do you write?' Thankfully, she took a deep breath (the meditation worked), didn't reply 'It's none of your business!' and instead politely answered the question with a twitchy smile.

Here's a pic specially for Wendy of THE rucksack. It was needed to carry around: notebook, folder, laptop,
bottles of wine, spare wine glass, books and the essential umbrella. This year I got an invite to one of the infamous Swanwick parties so the wine glass came in handy...

Friday, 9 August 2013


There will be a short interlude as we're off to Swanwick Writers' Summer School next week. If any of
you out there in Blogland are also heading to Swanwick then please search out the Indoor Writer and say hello. Meanwhile ...

Keep writing!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

July round-up

According to my word count spreadsheet (yes, I'm sad enough to keep a daily tally of words written) I churned out 9,963 words in July. Primarily this was writing the opening chapters of my novel. Why did I finally pull out the finger and start this? A deadline, that's why! I'm off to Swanwick Writers' Summer School next week and have booked a 1:1 with author Alex Radcliffe-Hart. She's reviewing the synopsis and initial 3 chapters and will feedback in a face-to-face. We're meeting in the bar, which is good news as I will probably need several glasses of wine to recover. I HATE feedback, but know it's an essential part of the writer's life. I can hear you all groaning: why did I rush out something without polishing it to destruction? Because I leave everything to the last minute and this is how I tend to write short stories - I know I have to improve this process for the novel, but initially I just want some early feedback on the plot and characters i.e am I on the right track? or do I give up now and bin the whole thing... you'll have to wait to post Swanwick for the answers!

It did feel odd to be writing something longer than 2,000 words. This novel writing malarkey is a different beast to short fiction. I enjoyed spending time with the characters so am keen to continue, but also craved getting back to the delicious short sharp hit of writing flash or a short story. Will have to work out some strategy to continue working on all projects.

Here's the stats for July:

Write 1 Sub 1:
New - 1 x ten min play, 2 x fillers, 1 x reader's letter, 1 x pitch for feature
Total subs - 11

Income: Amazon book token (always useful!)

The Good News: Runner-up in Retreat West short story competition (read post here),
The Not-so-good News: unsuccessful in the following:
Frome, Munch the cow (children's story competition), Swanwick 5 min play, Flash 500
Have to confess not making the longlist for Flash 500 summer competition was a shock. I've consistently been reaching the shortlist so this came as a bit of a blow.

With the start of the MA looming (Sept) I'm also working through the reading list and writing exercises. This prompted me to think about what I want to achieve before the end of the year, so here goes:

  • Research and write a radio play
  • Complete first semester and assignment of MA (Creative Writing)
  • Complete 10,000 words of novel by end October (to enter Exeter Writers Novel Competition)
  • Continue to write at least one new piece a month and submit
Phew, I think that's enough for now.

Keep writing and submitting...

Monday, 5 August 2013

One hour a day

Diana Cambridge's feature 'The will to write' published in August's issue of Writing Magazine really stirred up the Indoor Writer. Particular a section entitled 'One hour, more work', where Diana promoted the importance of setting aside one hour a day "thinking about how you could increase your writing income". She advocated using this hour to focus on visualising your writing future i.e. "Imagine yourself giving a reading or signing books..." The Indoor Writer has been working on this, though using the ring fenced hour primarily to research new markets and submit work. Okay, this used to happen anyway but it gone done in dribs and drabs throughout the day and the actual (real) writing got
pushed out. The kitchen timer is set for exactly one hour, but only after finishing 1-2 hours of writing  and then the focus is totally on income tasks. Does it work? Well, her productivity has soared and over several days she pitched a feature (which had been on the to-do list for weeks), sent off a reader's letter, submitted competition entries and researched new markets for short stories. It is fun to devote some of the hour to thinking and visualising too, you can start running through your acceptance speech for the Man Booker Prize or whatever other literary ambition floats your boat.

Why not try it? And don't forget to let me know how you get on.

Keep writing ...

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Samantha Tonge chats with Shirley Blair of The People's Friend

Over at Samantha Tonge's blog today she's having tea and cake with Shirley Blair, Fiction Editor for The People's Friend. Shirley shares what she's looking for in a good TPF story and just as importantly what she's NOT looking for... read more here