Wednesday, 24 April 2013



I'll do something proper next week, promise!



Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #20: Ask Mark!

This week I've been investigating twitter and I've discovered two things.

  1. There's a lot of 'writing advice' going on on there.
  2. You can create these amazing things called hashtags (no, they don't come from Amsterdam, a-hahahahaha!) which let you sort of track your conversation. 
I witnessed some of this 'advice' being given out via a hashtag and decided to create my own so I could get the TRUTH! out there. I thought I'd include on this blog some of the questions I wasn't asked.

how do you present a text for story that's v dependent on images if not an illustrator? Would you describe at all? 
Anyone can draw, illustrators are overvalued. If they were necessary then the streets wouldn't be full of them scribbling bad caricatures. So do them yourself or, if that doesn't appeal, describe everything in minute detail.

A question for a friend. How would you say the YA market feels about romance/werewolves at the mo?
Just like the rest of us, it feels like vomiting. Also, 'A question for a friend'? Is there a reason why you were ashamed of this question?

Ever disagreed with publisher on something regarding a book? Edits or whatever. (I have utmost respect for their knowledge, btw.)
Endlessly, most of them have restraining orders out on me. Utmost respect for their knowledge? I don't know why, most of them are frustrated writers, unable to create true beauty like those of us touched by the muse, by an angel, by something beyond description through anything but dance. And so they take their frustration and try to destroy us! PITY THEM!

if an agent passes on a full ms request, is it ok to resubmit later if you revise heavily? 
Just send the original, they won't notice.

Are there any Do's & Don'ts for writing a query for a fictional series? 
Make sure you send in the full MS for all the books in the series. This'll save a lot of time. I suggest printing the whole thing off and driving it around yourself. You can make sure they read it ALL and don't cut any corners.

If you'd like to send me a question via twitter then just append it to with the hashtag #amazingwritingadvicefromthatamazingwriterwhodoestheblogandgivesthereallyamazingadvicetellstherealtruthaboutwritingandauthoringdonotlistentotheothers

You never know, I might feature your question on the blog!



Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Much Wenlock Poetry Festival

Last weekend we went to Much Wenlock Poetry festival! Lauren should probably be writing this post as she is much better at appreciating poems and poets. But she's run off to London to eat cake and drink tea so you're stuck with me.

Ultimately it was really enjoyable, we went to three events and saw Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson and Carol Ann Duffy who also brought along Imtiaz Dharker and Sean Borodale.

I was fascinated at how well they delivered each poem they read out, each sentence dripped with meaning, these were not sentences cobbled together lightly. So have a listen or take a look at there their books. Or maybe go to the festival next year.

Pascale Petit

Sean Borodale

Fiona sampson

Imtiaz Dharker

Carol Ann Duffy



Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #19: Translations

You may have got to the point in your career where, like me, you are looking to increase your sales from the solid looking three copies you've sold to the English speaking world. But where can you find those sales? Well I say look across the sea.

No, not Ireland. Look the other way.

You may recoil at the smell of the French, the arrogance of the Germans, the sleazy weird politics of the Italians but these backward countries are all on the lookout for new books. They really need something to distract them from the financial implosion they are going through.

But how do you get your book translated?

Well if you had fallen into the trap of 'traditional' publishing they might sell 'rights' to publishers operating in these countries. But do you really want to trust a Frenchman with you book? Of course not! The same goes for hiring a translator. You'll just end up with some Johnny Foreigner who will take the money and give you the menu from your local restaurant.

The French
All you need is Babelfish and that plucky British courage that won two world wars and landed us on the moon back when Queen Vic sat on her steam punk spider throne.

Here's an example from my latest book, in proud English:

Jack stroked the cat, feeling each individual hair, it's warmth and slight static charge, giving the whole experience a frisson of danger.
"More tea?" Grandma asked.
Jack sneered.

In weasel French:

Jack caressa le chat, se sentant chaque poil individuel, la chaleur d'it et légère charge statique, donnant toute l'expérience un frisson du danger.

"More thé? " grand-mère a demandé.
Jack ricana.

Now due to the strangeness of translation you can pipe that stinking French back into Babelfish and you'll get a whole new book in God Save The Queen English! There's an added bonus for you.

Jack stroked the cat, feeling each individual hair, heating it and its slight static load, giving any experience a frisson of danger.
"More the?" grandmother asked.
Jack chuckled.

That's the secret of translations and increased sales. And if someone buys one of your books you can go to that country on holiday and claim it as a business expense. Translations just keep on giving.