Life Takes Charge

Sorry for not posting much lately! I am not ignoring this blog or abandoning it. Life has got in the away once more. My job search has had to take a priority as well as a few other personal issues, not through my own personal choice, and it has meant certain things have had to suffer, such as this blog and my own personal writing. I am trying to re-address that balance but it may take a little time. I am determined though that NaNoWriMo will not suffer; that it will generate blog posts and, in turn, get this blog active again.

Just because I haven’t been posting does not mean I have run dry on article ideas. I have toyed with the idea of writing a post on the use of schools as settings and plot devices in books, why they are such a common setting at least and why there is not actually that much in the way of having colleges or universities as setting in books or even any focus on teachers as main characters. At least, in my experience, I have not actually come across any book with these elements. Film and TV, yes. Books, no. If you have any insights on any of these issues, I would love to hear from you.

My job search may yet generate blog posts as well as I am contemplating becoming a freelance writer and becoming self-employed. Again, if anyone can offer any help on this front in any shape or form, I would be grateful as it is a scary prospect for me but I think it would suit me to the ground. It is still very early days and life may yet decide that my path leads elsewhere but it is something to at least being having a think about.

I am trying to read where I can too but, as you might have guessed, that has taken a hit too. I recently managed to finally get my hands on the latest Benedict Jacka book, Hidden, so will be trying to read that as fast as I can so I can get a review up here as soon as possible. I am also re-reading Steven Harper’s Writing the Paranormal Novel, partly for help as I edit and rewrite a novel but also to try to get me back in the writing frame of mind so I can get more writing done than I have done.

So sorry again, I am not abandoning the blog and I am aiming to get this blog more active. Thank you guys!

NaNoWriMo Prep

Yes, I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this November. No, I don’t know how successful I am going to be considering I am still job hunting. Yes, I also know it is only September so why am I even thinking that far ahead?!

It’s because this idea for NaNo is something that came to me months ago, around the time of the last Camp session actually. I scribbled it down along with some story I had in my head and just knew instantly that this was the idea I want to do for November. I think I am in with a chance of getting a somewhere near decent word count due to having a fairly clear idea of the basic story, the characters motivations and quests. I also have an idea of the end point.

I am wondering about changing one or two things through from the original idea, including where part of the story takes place. I was originally thinking of it being down South somewhere, like Oxfordshire or Cambridgeshire, since Higher Education does play a part in one of the story lines but I have wondered instead if I should move that section up to Scotland. I’ve started doing some research to help me figure out what to do about that section, as well as keeping a close eye on the Scottish Referendum yesterday. Since they said No, it does remove one of the possible problems I could have had.

Okay, so I am rambling a little now but I am looking forward to NaNo this year. Is anyone else doing National Novel Writing Month this November?  Have you started thinking about what you intend to write yet? Got any thoughts from my ramblings? Don’t be afraid to comment below.

Top Tip Of The Week

Anyone got any advice on titling? I seriously struggle with it, as my blog may show.


A Tantalising Title!

Some of my students have asked me whether it’s important to give a short story a title. The answer is a huge yes! When a magazine editor/short story judge is faced with a big pile of short stories, one with an eye-catching/intriguing title will instantly have him/her interested in reading your story. Read the following titles and see how they make you want to read the actual story:

  • The Secret Diary of a Serial Killer
  • The Unborn
  • The Hanging
  • In Search of Dinosaurs
  • Screaming Point
  • Not What I Wanted
  • The Final Journey
  • Watching

I’m sure you’re now thinking up plenty of your own. Hopefully they’ll also spark off a story idea!

Have a great weekend. Here’s my Friday funny for you:


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Possible Anthology To Raise Money For Guide Dogs

Can anyone help out?

K Morris - Poet

I lost the majority of my vision at around 18-months-old as a consequence of a blood clot on the brain. In my early 20’s I received my first guide dog, Nixon (no jokes about Watergate please)! And a world of enhanced mobility was opened up to me. Since Nixon I have had 3 other dogs: Zeff, Drew and now Trigger my current four legged friend!

The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association receives no money from the government (see and relies wholly on donations from individuals/organisations.

As an author and beneficiary of the work of Guide Dogs I thought it would be worthwhile to give something back by producing a book of short stories and poems with all proceeds going to GDBA. I would, of course contribute a story. I am, however lacking in editorial/proof reading expertise and (if the project turns out to be viable) would be…

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What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer

If you are an aspiring writer or reader, this is definitely worth having a read of. There’s advice in here too that applies to anyone who uses any social media platform.

Have We Had Help?


In the good old bad old days, wrongly or rightly, writers were shielded by their agents and publishers from their reading public to maintain an air of mystery, and to shield them from the more repugnant elements of society, among other things. These days since the internet became reality, it has become a necessary tool for all writers to be able to let their readers get to know them.

Even so, as a writer you need to be cautious. There are a few drawbacks. The  spread of internet trolls, armchair critics and pedants springs to mind. But, always providing the writer doesn’t engage with them, they remain where they belong, lurking in the darkest recesses of the internet fora. With the way the review system operates on a lot of book sites these days, they do their darnedest to put people off buying books written by every writer they hate…

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Five Fascinating Facts about Roald Dahl

It’s Roald Dahl Day, celebrating the birth of the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and many, many more childhood favourites!

Interesting Literature

Roald Dahl was born on this day in 1916, so we’ve taken the opportunity to raise a glass of burgundy (apparently one of Dahl’s favourite drinks – see below) to the man who gave us Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe TwitsMatilda, The BFG, and so many more classic books.

1. Roald Dahl didn’t do particularly well at school. One of his teachers wrote in his school report: ‘I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.’ While he was at school, Dahl undertook what has to be one of the schoolchild’s dream jobs: he was an occasional taste-tester for Cadbury’s chocolate. This surely played a part in his later creation of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Dahl12. In 1971, a real Willy Wonka wrote to Roald Dahl. He was a postman from Nebraska, and was probably…

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10 Great Quotations for International Literacy Day

Perfect quotes for today!

Interesting Literature

Today is International Literacy Day! What better time, then, to celebrate some of the wisest, wittiest, pithiest, silliest, and most profound things that writers have ever said about literature and reading? The following are 10 of our personal favourites from the last 21 months of Interesting Literature.

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read.

– Doris Lessing

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

– P. G. Wodehouse

Cat with book

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

– Charles Dickens

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

– Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One always tends to overpraise a long…

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