Daily Archives: March 16, 2017



Why have a comfort zone if you can’t get out of it…

A letter for Justin Alcala

People argue that we don’t change, but let’s face it, we do. We change in the small ways- what we choose to eat, our fashion sense, what we read. We change in the big ways- our approach to resolving problems, faith and how we perceive the world. It’s a never ending cycle. And, while our loud and stubborn habits tend to steal the spotlight, there are dozens of small and wonderful changes that happen to us daily.

The same can be said for writing. Countless authors’ styles, subjects and inspirations have leapt around like jackrabbits. Iain (M.) Banks moved from mainstream fiction to science fiction and back again. Ian Fleming transitioned from spy novels to classic children’s picture books. Some authors’ changes have even revolutionized literature. Hemingway modernized today’s approach to book description by emphasizing direct, unadorned prose while William Faulkner shook the Earth by transitioning classic suggestive introspection into…

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in writing


Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 16th March 2017

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my seven online courses… five currently half price and and two FREE! (coupon codes on the online courses page) and / or my Writer’s Block Workbooks… my best-selling eBooks – now available in eBook and paperback format!

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs. As you’ll see by the heading numbers, you may have missed a few but the links are listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there. So here are your poetry and short story exercises…

Poetry Writing Exercises 1086: Thursday 16th March

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts, do take a look at my online courses… six are currently half price (when using the coupon codes on my main blog’s online courses page) and another is FREE!

Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: tweet, insomnia, orange, umbrella, wooden
  2. Random: a tin of chocolates
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: Lost in the Post

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

Story Writing Exercises 1090: Thursday 16 March

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… five are currently half price and the other two are FREE (when using coupon codes)!

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing


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Tuesday Talk chats to writer Gilli Allan about her writing pathway, celebrity diners and what she’s currently working on…

Have a cuppa with Gilli Allan while she talks about her writing…


meGood morning Gilli and welcome.

Hello Jo, thank you so much for inviting me over for a chat on a Tuesday.

Can I begin by asking what you did before you became a novelist?

At that precise moment, I was ironing. Sounds like I’m being facetious, but I’m not … or only a bit.
From an arty family, I was told from my earliest memory that I was good at art. My father worked in advertising as a graphic designer, so all my life I knew that ‘being an artist’ did not necessarily mean beret, palette, and canvas, or starving in a garret. Earning a living as a commercial artist was a perfectly possible and pragmatic proposition. My career was as an illustrator in advertising. In those days – and I’m sure the febrile atmosphere hasn’t changed even if the technology has – advertising was a very high pressure industry. I…

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in writing


10 Classic Poems about Evening Everyone Should Read

10 Classic Poems about Evening Everyone Should Read

Because it’s always evening somewhere in the world…

Interesting Literature

The best evening poems

From sunsets to twilight and dusky moments, poets have often focused on that time of day when the light is fading, and mused upon the significance of it. Below are ten of the best evening poems, anti-aubades (aubades, from the French for dawn, are poems about the other end of the day), whether literal or metaphorical evenings. The finest poems about the evening often consider both the literal evening and the broader significance of such a time of day. So, as the light is fading, let us begin…

William Wordsworth, ‘It is a beauteous evening, calm and free’. Is there a more calming and uplifting opening line in all of English poetry for recalling when outside on a lovely evening? This sonnet by Romantic poet Wordsworth (1770-1850) would take some beating, we reckon – it’s one of the best evening poems in the language.

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in writing