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Favourite 3 Writers:

Stephen King, Enid Blyton, Frank O`Connor

Notes Entries 100 Books

20:47, 19 Jan 2018
Ah but Caesar, where is the joy, the satisfaction in the known, the achievable. If we don`t overreach, if we do not fail then we will never know our limits. And if we do not know our limitations how will we know when we have exceeded them?

20:50, 15 Dec 2017
Hi Octopoda, yeah that happens sometimes. I guess maybe it`s a numbers issue, or perhaps one of the people assigned your piece to mark was unable to do so for whatever reason. The annoying thing about it is you have to wait until later in the week to read their feedback and you`re left on tenterhooks, wondering what they thought of it.

21:15, 5 Dec 2017
In defense of cliches.

Now there`s a line you thought you`d never read, it being a staple piece of advice to all writers. I was reminded of this by one of the Marker comments for my last piece who suggested, among other things that I avoid doing this.
But really isn't telling a writer to "avoid cliches," well, a cliche in itself, my aren't I in a catty mood "Mee feckin Oww" :)

But then I thought, well why should I avoid cliches, precisely what is so terrible about them. And so here I thought I would appoint myself legal counsel and present the case for the defense.

Cliches don`t simply pop into existence, they are not baseless, their existences are in fact hard earned and deserved. After all for a phrase to become a cliche it must be widely used.
Real people use cliches all the time and used properly can give the reader an indicator into the personality, educational standard, even nationality of the character we choose to utter one of those dreaded phrases. Some cliches can be so location specific that you can almost tell which part of any city in the world they hail from just by inserting a few well chosen words into their vernacular.

So I say yes to cliches, but sparingly.

P.S. And what precisely is so bloody awful about "Suddenly" that we`re not allowed to use it, and who`s making up all these rules anyway? that`s what I want to know.

20:34, 5 Dec 2017
Hi Seeking Wolf, sorry nobody got back to you about your questions, I dip in and out of notes only occasionally, usually when I have something to say, but I`ll do my best to answer your questions.

On the fonts issue; as far as I know there is no way to alter the font in any way, at best it makes for a level playing field and a judging process that is focused on the quality of the writing.

As for the editing process, I always click save before switching between pages to check how the finished product will actually look.

Ah the points; I`ll answer the second part of your question first, the points have no bearing on the judges decision, I`ve had pieces average 400+ not even feature and won with a piece that only averaged 255.
I don`t believe the judges get to see the points or the feedback, after all they need to make an unbiased decision.

As for the range of marks, well that`s a piece of string question, it`s entirely up to you, after all creativity is a completely subjective pastime. I myself have discovered that the longer I`ve been critiquing other writers work the less generous I`ve become; that is to say I feel I was overly generous at the beginning, not that I`m being overly stingy now. Being a critic is like any other task, the more you practice it the better you become, and you have to remember this is almost certainly the first time you`ve ever been asked to critically assess another writers work, and I don`t know about you but I found it quite daunting at first.

The good news is not only does it get easier, but you will find it a boon to your own work as it will help you spot the flaws in your own writing leading to you becoming a better writer.

I hope this has been of help

12:13, 11 Nov 2017
Hi Maxie, Yeah it can be a "little/very" frustrating, depending on your point of view. It goes like that sometimes, as I understand it Alison`s had a lot on her plate this year so it can get a bit like buses; you wait ages for one and then four or five show up at once. Hang in there it`ll get done.
Btw had a look at some of your stuff, interesting conversational style you got there ;)

21:35, 3 Nov 2017
Don`t you just hate it when you review a posted piece and all the small errors you`ve missed leap out at you?

08:40, 30 Mar 2017
Like the fabled cigar, sometimes a story is just a story.

08:39, 30 Mar 2017
Hi Maxieslim, I've never had to wait weeks for feedback. If there are three markers I get their comments on Tuesday, less than three, then it's Thursday. It must be horribly frustrating if you're waiting longer than that, have you considered contacting Alison.

08:26, 30 Mar 2017
So my writing style has finally become recognisable, I did wonder if that would happen. And yes I admit it wasn't my best work, but hey if I only write one mediocre piece out of every thirty five then I think I'm doing all right :)

18:44, 26 Feb 2017
I have too, sometimes you don`t get three to mark, occasionally I`ve only gotten two, did you get any at all?

20:14, 20 Feb 2017
No problem, I`m just a nosy fecker is all :)

07:49, 16 Feb 2017
Safemouse you tease.
You can`t post a note like that,
and then conceal the piece it`s about.
C`mon make it public so we can all have a peek at what all the fuss is about ;)

20:46, 5 Jan 2017
Too Late....

Too late did I the blemish see
Too late the doctor did I see
"Too late am I" he said to me
Too late
The late

21:54, 3 Jan 2017
So perhaps an explanation is in order;
In writing I like to find the rhythm of words, make them flow into each other as seamlessly as possible, draw the reader along, make the reading effortless. I`d hate to think of readers frowning as they read my work, and while this is true in prose, it is especially true in poetry....Ordinarily.
However; as Shades and Charades was about depression, I chose a different route. I eschewed rhythm for discord, deliberately setting lines to jar off one another, disrupting any attempt at fluidity, making it impossible for the reader to "find the flow" as it were. I wanted each line to be read in isolation as well as part of the whole, I wanted the reader to not only frown, but scowl as they stuttered to a halt, forced to re-read lines, trying to make sense of what they were reading.
The end result is not pretty, but it was not meant to be, (at least it`s not as ugly as the illness)
This poem was prompted by many factors, I have more than a little personal experience with the illness myself; not to mention the suicide of a friend who, outwardly had the bubbliest personality you could imagine, and finally by an opinion piece by some smug asshole in an Irish newspaper who not only disbelieves in depression "sure don`t we all feel a little depressed now and again," but going as far as calling people like my friend cowards and worse.
So an experiment, that`s all, whether it worked or not I leave up to you, and as I always say, "I`ll try anything once, if it kills me I won`t do it again," :)

09:59, 23 Dec 2016
When all else fails, confound them with the truth.

23:18, 3 Dec 2016
A question?? Which is better, to write a story in broad strokes,necessitated by the word limit, expressing as much of the plot as possible; or focus in on one aspect of the story, minutely deconstructing the emotional conflict inherent within each character. Which would you, the reader prefer. A question I am forced to ask myself, what does the reader want? Until now I have written for myself, but here I am no longer writing for an audience of one, I am in fact, as well as deed, forced to consider what does the reader "You" want.
One of the pieces of feedback I received on my latest entry suggested that "I think less plot and more evocation would have made it more powerful," which provoked this inquiry.
So what I, "the writer" want to know is, which would you "the reader" prefer, a more complete, broad stroke story, or a more focused interrogation of a single moment?
I would really appreciate some input on this, Thanks.

23:14, 3 Dec 2016
Hi Novelist, hows that second chapter going? Really intrigued on where you`re taking this.

17:32, 15 Nov 2016
If you Mark entries on a portable device/Tablet. Please read this:

There appears to be a difference in how entries are displayed on portable devices compared to computers. When I checked the feedback for my entry in last weeks competition (The comfort zone) this morning, I was surprised to find a comment from one of the Markers that I had failed to use the apostrophe in the words he`d and I`d.
As someone who finds it frustrating to read poorly punctuated entries myself I immediately rechecked the piece, and discovered to my mortification that it appeared that I had indeed failed to include the appropriate punctuation. However there seemed to be a smudge over the "d`s" and as I was at work on my tablet, I zoomed in, and found my errant apostrophes. I am not sure whether this is peculiar to android devices, (I don`t have an i anything, so if you have an ipad please let us know if it suffers from a similar problem) but the apostrophes appear as an accent over the letter, a teeny tiny accent at that. Whew! was I relieved.
So if you`re marking on a tablet and the piece seems to be peculiarly punctuated, please, please, please, (Jesus that`s a lot of P`s:) take a closer look, they might be there after all.
I presume Alison reads these notes, but in case she doesn't I`ll email her, though I doubt there is anything she can do about it.

22:51, 18 Oct 2016
Hmmmm? interesting premise :)

21:47, 16 Oct 2016
Hi Safemouse, put up a note from your novelist account so we can find it.

22:26, 20 Sep 2016
The veil that separates genius from madness
is gossamer thin as a spiders web
and just as fragile

23:28, 10 Sep 2016
Youth is wasted on the young,
Or so the elderly claim,
But is it, is it really?
I say not.

Youth is where it belongs,
The elderly would only hoard it,
Terrified of spending it,
Going to their graves still clutching it.

Youth is where it belongs,
It was meant to be used,
Misused, misspent, abused even,
By those who cannot understand it`s worth.

Let the young alone,
Let them be reckless, feckless,
Let them be wastrels,
Let them live.

23:26, 10 Sep 2016
The middle of nowhere
That fictitious piece of real estate
Popularised as fen and glen, as peak or trough
populated by those in search of losing themselves
Where the lonesome cry of the Gulls,matches the weary song in their hearts

Unplugged from the digital drudgery
Desperate to slip the electronic shackles that bind them
They stride forth in ones and twos
In hopes of reclaiming a life they`ve never known
Unaware that the middle of nowhere exists in but one place, their hearts

For they may never discover the truth in the saying: loneliness is a crowded room
That everywhere is somewhere if you have someone to love
Or someone who loves you
But for those others, the unloving, the unloved
Everywhere is the Middle of Nowhere

22:01, 30 Aug 2016
A sincere thanks for the feedback that spotted my overenthusiastic use of the apostrophe, that kind of technical criticism is invaluable.
And I can assure you I have duly rapped myself on the knuckles, given myself a good talking to, and am currently in negotiations with the wife about a spanking:) though I have to admit I`m finding her enthusiasm a little disturbing; damn you E.L. James.
Also one of you brought up an interesting point, the word what`s; is it one or two?
Words that is. Being more than a bit of a pedant myself, I took to the internets (deliberate misspelling) and it seems the jury is out on that one, it appears to be a matter of personal choice. of more interest to my pedantry, how many words is can`t, which is a conjunctive of cannot, which is itself a conjunctive of can not. Discuss?
Heh Heh.

22:44, 28 Jul 2016
For those who were wondering about the characters motive in "I can change" this was a much longer story, 3,500 words, when i wrote it, and I had to delete certain things for the word count. Mary is a deep cover operative who had just been activated and was quite literally burning her previous life, which is why she killed the prostitute and her husband, who after all looks for a dead woman. The reason for the bags of smoke is for the coroner, it would show they died of smoke inhalation, which is how most people die in house fires. show someone what they expect to find and they stop looking. The reason for the radio frequency jammer was so Roshana`s pimp wouldn't be able to track her. if anyone wants I can post the full story in my notes? not sure how you can let me know though? I`m new to this site.

My Notes