Conversation, Conflict, the Cold and the Countryside

Happy Monday, readers and writers and random passers-by! I’ve got a little round-up today of the work I’ve recently had published online, so if you’re in the mood for some writing advice, a virtual trip to the countryside, or a short musing you can read while waiting for the kettle to boil – read on.

Phantasmagoria

I’m so excited to have a small piece featured in Edition Five of Phantasmagoria! A vibrant online space full of fiction, poetry, art, rants and reviews, it’s often described as a ‘living magazine’, which I really like.

My piece falls into an interesting category called ‘From The Brainbox’, which Phantasmagoria itself describes best:

We are all writers here, we know what it is like to have bits of brain lying around our apartments in notepads, on the back of receipts, tucked away in that ‘Memo’ section of our phone, on sticky notes, on limbs. Floating sentences and paragraphs paste their way across a writer’s personal landscape. This is what we want for From The Brainbox. We want raw, unpolished pieces of peoples’ lives. You submit that Word document you opened and poured your heart into about ‘that’ person. You submit that piece of paper with that sentence you thought was kind of okay. You submit tiny portions of yourself and we welcome them with open arms. This is our great experiment – this is our patchwork quilt of modern humanity.

I stumbled across this description while browsing through Phantasmagoria one day and it immediately resonated with me. At the moment, I’m not the sort of writer who has a big, sustained project at which I’m chipping away. I’m more the type with a Notes app full of sentences or fleeting thoughts saved to my phone at random intervals; the type with a handful of half-written pieces saved in Word docs on my computer.

The day before I read about ‘From The Brainbox’, it just so happened that I’d taken down some late-night ramblings in my phone about England and warmth and the weather and the way it affects people. (That sort of thing has been playing on my mind a little lately – I wrote a post about it last month.)

Anyway, I thought I may as well try to turn my ramblings into something I could submit to Phantasmagoria. I ended up with a little piece called ‘Sunflower’ and – lo and behold – it was selected to be featured in Edition Five, which went live today! Head over and check it out – the Phantas team has done a wonderful job of putting together a diverse array of pieces from emerging writers.

phantasmagoria

Lily Magazine

The story of how I came to be involved with Lily Magazine is kind of similar to what I just talked about with Phantasmagoria. Chance and timing are wonderful things sometimes, aren’t they?

You may remember my post from a few months back about my favourite countryside Instagram accounts. Shortly after I posted it, I noticed a submissions call-out from Lily Magazine, a lovely online mag about all the best aspects of country life. While I didn’t have anything like a tree-change story or a personal musing on country life to contribute, I did think that perhaps a variation on my Instagram piece might fit well with the magazine and its audience.

After emailing back and forth for a while with Tina, Lily’s founder and the loveliest lady you can imagine, we agreed that I would develop a little column called ‘Our Favourite Country Instagrammers’, which went live at the start of October! Each month, the column will feature an Instagram account full of gorgeous countryside images, with a few words about who runs the account and what you’ll find on there.

lily magazineImage via Lily Magazine.

Writer’s Edit

I am so enjoying working on regular articles for my beloved Writer’s Edit! My latest pieces are all about how to write conflict and conversation in your fiction.

How To Master Conflict In Young Adult Fiction looks at the important role conflict plays in the YA genre, offering guidance on how to work conflict naturally and effectively into your story.

5 Golden Rules For Writing Authentic Dialogue navigates the often tricky territory of dialogue in fiction, laying down five guidelines to follow when writing speech and conversation for your characters.

I learned quite a lot myself while researching and writing both of these, so do check them out if you’re a YA author in need of a few tips, or if you’re struggling with writing effective dialogue. I hope you find them helpful!

writer's editImage via Kaboompics.
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Inspiration for Writers

I know Mondays are the most popular day of the week to seek out inspiration – we all need that little something to kick us back into the working week, after all. But poor old Tuesday could do with a healthy dose of creative stimulation, as well… So I thought today was as good a day as any for a little inspiration-related post!

First of all, I have a new article over at Writer’s Edit that wordsmiths might find helpful: 6 Simple Ways To Stay Inspired As A Writer. From time to time, we writers all find ourselves lacking that essential spark of motivation and creativity that’s necessary to our craft. So I’ve looked into some sure-fire ways to help yourself stay inspired, with a few motivational author quotes thrown in as well – ‘cause we’re all suckers for those!

Leonard-Bernstein-Quote-InspirationImage courtesy of Writer’s Edit.

While we’re on the topic of Writer’s Edit, I thought I’d also mention a couple of exciting projects we have happening at the moment, which we’d love all writers and readers to check out and take part in!

Sometimes there’s nothing like the promise of seeing your work published online to get you moving with your writing. For writers of fiction and poetry interested in just such an opportunity, Writer’s Edit has recently begun a new monthly initiative: Short Story and Poem of the Month.

Each month, we invite writers and poets to submit their pieces for consideration, choosing an outstanding entry from each category to be featured on the site. Head over to our Submissions page to read the guidelines and submit your work!

Green Chameleon - StockSnap Creative CommonsImage courtesy of Green Chameleon via StockSnap Creative Commons.

Finally, speaking of publishing – we’re also very excited at the moment about our upcoming anthology, Kindling Volume II. Following on from the success of last year’s Kindling collection, the team has put together another amazing book full of inspiring fiction, non-fiction and poetry from emerging writers, as well as some helpful pieces of publishing industry information and advice. I’ve been lucky enough to read the first proof of the manuscript, so you can trust me when I say that you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Kindling II when it’s published later this year!

If all this inspiration has got you feeling particularly generous, you might like to make a contribution to Writer’s Edit to help cover our production costs for Kindling II. If so, you are truly wonderful, and you can head to our Donations page to contribute.

1528479_384792738362491_6599731009287790857_nImage courtesy of Writer’s Edit.

Happy Tuesday, inspiration-seekers – I hope the rest of your week is full of creativity!

The Ultimate Guide To World-Building: Featured Article on Writer’s Edit

A couple of months ago, I started working with the lovely team at Writer’s Edit, a wonderful online literary magazine and small press. If you’re a writer, a reader or an all-round lit-lover, you’ll want to check out this site – it’s an expansive literary hub, containing everything from advice for writers to book reviews to publishing industry news and insights.

Writer’s Edit has also published Kindling, a diverse anthology of short fiction, poetry and non-fiction that’s well worth getting your hands on. Plus, they’re running an awesome competition at the moment, which could have you winning all sorts of prizes like novel-writing software and writerly book packs – and you get a free ebook just for entering. What’s not to love?! (Be quick with that one, though – entries close on Wednesday the 15th.)

Image via Instagram: @writersedit.

Anyway, I’m excited to say that this week sees my first feature article published on Writer’s Edit! ‘The Ultimate Guide to World-Building: How To Write Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Real Life Worlds’ pretty much does what it says on the label. It’s an in-depth look at the creation processes behind great fictional worlds, drawing advice and examples from master world-builders like Tolkien, GRRM and (my hero) J. K.

If you’re a writer looking to invent a new world (or simply create a sense of place using our existing one), it may be worth having a read. Even non-writers who love reading fantasy or sci-fi might enjoy learning what goes on behind the scenes of their favourite made-up universe! So whether you’re a fan of dragons, dystopias or real-world destinations, make a cup of tea and head over to Writer’s Edit for an afternoon read.

LOTRDid someone say ‘afternoon tea’? Painting by the talented Christopher Clark.
Harry PotterMy ultimate fantasy destination: Hogwarts. Image via Pottermore.