Thursday, 27 October 2011

Amazing Writing Tips #5: Critique Groups, Should I stay or Should I go?

A typical crit group
There are two kinds of writers in this world; Those that think going to a regular critique group is a good idea and those that are published. Critique groups are usually the home of twisted nutters and escaped lunatics.

They'll be quick to rip your time-travelling robot falls in love with dogman mutant from the sewers who save the poor autistic girl from the evil vicars masterpiece. But I tell you now, genius is never recognised in its own time or in a pub on the A38 just outside Buckfast.

So don't go. Or if you do go, just go once, show everyone your work and tell them how brilliant it is and tell them theirs is rubbish. Then be on your way.  Be really mean, they'll give up writing and you'll have eliminated some of the competition.

But to be honest you'd be better off asking the local ducks for advice.



Monday, 17 October 2011


How I felt
After a Saturday morning which felt like someone had been kicking me in the guts for 60 minutes, not appearing on the Undiscovered Voices long-list doesn't seem that important.  Though it probably should do.

After the Wales France result in the rugby I sulked a bit, realised it was just a game and then sulked a bit more. Waves of rugby related grief hit me in a way that grief probably shouldn't. But I felt for those Welsh players who walked a lap of the pitch, saluting the fans whilst crying. They were the older players, those that would never get to play in a world cup again. They'd been through tournaments before when Wales had played at their abject worst. In this tournament they'd played above and beyond what was expected of them. In this particular game they faced a French team a man short for 60 minutes and came within a blink of winning. But that's it for them.

For the rest of the team, indecently young, the future looks bright. They will have other chances. Other games and other tournaments to win.

That's how it feels for me. I haven't succeeded this time but there will be other chances. What I and the other unsuccessful entries into Undiscovered Voices need to do can best be summed up by this blog post about the rugby:

"...this adversity will reveal us to ourselves. Perhaps ironically for a Welsh supporter, it was an Englishman (but qualified by birth to play for India) who said it best of all: ‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same.’ And there’s the truth of it – triumph is an imposter, disaster is an imposter. Neither is real. Reality is the journey, not the temporary stations that we mistake for destinations. Reality is the glory of the struggle, the glory of getting back on your feet every time you are knocked down, the glory of reaching further than you think you can, the glory of life itself... let every single one of us get back up again, wipe the blood away, and aim a little higher."

Congratulations to those on the Undiscovered Long-list and good luck! Now I've got to go and spend the rest of my lunch hour writing something better than what came before.



Thursday, 6 October 2011

Undiscovered Voices Angst

Like me, it doesn't look good.

but at least Wales won. and I've got a quarter-final against Ireland and stag party this weekend to take my mind off it.

Good luck Undiscovered Voices people.