Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘red pen session’ number 4

17 Sep

** Please note that I no longer run red pen episodes but do offer critique (first 1,000 words free) via** 

I’m delighted to announce that this week’s podcast released today, Saturday 17th September (two days earlier than normal), was the fourth of my episodes dedicated to reading a short story or self-contained novel extract (with synopsis) and then talking about it afterwards.

I run a fortnightly critique group as well as critiquing other authors’ writing which I really enjoy so I thought I’d create podcast episodes doing this and I’m grateful to the authors who have already volunteered their pieces. I’d be thrilled if you listened to the podcast (links below). Please remember that it’s only one person’s (my) opinion and you, and the author concerned, are welcome to disagree with my interpretation – I will never be mean for the sake of it, but hope that I’m firm but fair. I also type my comments for the recording as I read through the story as a reader would think as they read the story, although they of course would be reading, not analysing.

Regardless of what genre you write I hope that this helps you think about the way fiction is constructed and that you have enjoyed hearing another author’s work, the copyright of which remains with them.

This episode’s was kindly emailed to me by JD Mader of San Francisco, USA whose story ‘Green’ I discussed in episode 1. This story is entitled ‘The Sow’s Ear’ and I’m going to be picky this time because I found so little to criticise with Dan’s original story. 🙂

The format of the episode is me reading the short story then giving an in-depth critique with a conclusion of the whole story then, where time allows, it did in this episode, reading the story again as sometimes it’s better to understand a story when you’re not concentrating on the plot. I’d be interested to know, upon hearing it twice, whether you feel any differently about it after the second read-through.

UPDATE: JD told me that he had written this piece for a contest and the guidelines were that it had to include an iron, water, and something in the pocket or something to that effect. Sadly JD didn’t win but he still had a great short story to use as he wished (on his blog and for my podcast). 🙂

JD Mader is a teacher and writer / musician based in San Francisco.  He has been fortunate enough to encounter many giving and inspiring people in his life.  He hopes to repay the debt.  And to make enough money with his writing to buy a house. Please do visit JD’s website, perhaps ‘like’ his Facebook author page, follow him on Twitter and it would be fantastic if you’d pop along and buy his novel ‘Joe Café’.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

If you have any feedback on today’s episode or any other podcasts or aspects of my website or blog, I’m always delighted to hear from you – my email address is And if you’re feeling brave enough to send me a short story or novel extract (with a brief synopsis please) – ideally 1000-word maximum – for these red pen sessions then feel free. Thank you.

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Facebook, podcast, short stories, tips, Twitter, writing


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