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Favourite 3 Writers:

Austen, Shakespeare, The Moth Magazine


For the zero inside myself


Cat walker



Notes Entries 100 Books

20:14, 20 May 2018
Does anybody know if the 2016 annual is still coming out? Filled in my blurb for it a while ago and not heard anything.

01:03, 31 Mar 2018
What's the meaning of life?

02:19, 16 Oct 2017
Love Jaguar's mirror poem, especially the first stanza.

16:19, 15 Aug 2017
Results can take 2 or 3 months to be posted sometimes.

19:34, 4 Aug 2017
You're welcome, K Maid Marion.

00:37, 30 Jul 2017
Either those responses were posted after the marking period or they don't refer to the author. (I would guess).

09:31, 25 Jul 2017
Nice work (Time and Space poem)...and quick off the mark, too.

12:30, 15 Jul 2017
Just read and enjoyed 'Matter of heritage' by Paul McDermott.

22:39, 28 Jun 2017
Jaguar...pebble beaches in Margate?? They're all sand as far as I can tell...

22:39, 17 May 2017
Thanks for your reply, Alison. Of course, HOW is your baby and you must do what you want with it. As a semi-regular user I just wanted to give you some feedback...

12:59, 12 May 2017

Having read your recent email I would say this. I am going to uni in September as a mature student and I don't begrudge paying fees. Afterall, I don't pay anything til I finish uni and then only after I earn £21,000 per annum,which is alot of money to me. In particular, I think it's unfair for people who go to university to expect those who didn't to fund their education. As for who to vote for, I'm enjoying the retro feel of this election cycle and am torn between the different options. The Tories are bringing back grammar schools, Labour are going to nationalise the railways and UKIP are bringing back highway men and gibbets. Seriously though, on this occasion I could quite happily vote for almost anyone (i.e Tory, Lib, Lab, Green) or no one. I'm a genuine floating voter. I don't think the sky would collapse if we scrapped Trident, I don't think the Tories are inherently evil.

You caution against the fear and brow beating agenda of the right wing perhaps without seeing those elements in your own message. A message which implies that unless I vote for the 'true alternative' the swords of hunger will come beating on my door!

Granted , they are here already somewhat and a Labour vote might best further my own interests but... I don't seek a political solution to my core problems which will remain, by and large, whoever gets in. I will study the manifestos and vote as wisely as I can but my life is not really about politics and the political aspect of HOW is not what makes HOW attractive to me...Just sayin'.

15:17, 10 Apr 2017
Congrats to Jaguar for your Trolls and Bridges story win. I enjoyed marking that!

16:15, 2 Apr 2017
Hour of Writes is blocked in China... :-(

02:30, 1 Apr 2017
I think some of the entries this week are pretty good! I'm in the midst of marking now and enjoying. Have speed read a few others and will take a proper look later.

00:14, 11 Mar 2017
Good point, Maje...Thanks!

16:48, 20 Feb 2017
Hello Tauren,

I prefer to keep stuff that I may re-work and enter elsewhere out of the public domain. I think in some ways it's the best thing I've done on HOW, though I admit it does require more work from the reader than usual. So I'm grateful to marker 2 for understanding where I was coming from but I understand marker 1's point of view, as well.

15:03, 14 Feb 2017
You can't please all the people all the time... (two reviews for Note to self)

Marker #1: 10, 0, 10, 10, 20
Marker #2: 75, 65, 75, 75, 75

Marker 1

What I liked about this piece: Not a lot, to be truthful. I was fair and read the whole thing a couple of times but it was beyond me. As I was trying to find something I liked, I came upon the cliche " time is now worth more to me than money" so I will stop racking my brains on this point.

Favourite sentence: " Molly for Prime Minister"

Feedback: This was impenetrable to me. My heart sank when I saw how long it was too. Have pity upson your readers and give us something to work with here!

Marker 2

What I liked about this piece: A brilliantly original piece.

Favourite sentence: Truth has a funny habit of getting stuck like a stone in the shoe of one’s conscience

I do need to find someone that’s going to blow my socks off…
But you pulled one of them down

Feedback: I really enjoyed this piece. It's not necessarily the easiest to read, but I loved how haphazard and realistic the notes were and how the thread of the story was woven into the note. There are some brilliant, thought-provoking ideas in there as well - above love, religion, war, sex. Very clever - well done.

17:34, 9 Dec 2016
Once upon a time...

I did breast stoke across a direct debit agreement
Time is a great schemer
Dried myself, forgot the 20 pence in the locker

03:50, 5 Dec 2016
In answer to Tauren: Um...maybe there’s no right answer but I tend to go for plot. For me, the advantage of a plot driven story- even within the maximum 2000 word confines- is that it's a more forgiving medium that creates a natural framework that human curiosity responds very well to and the contrasts in a plot and the fact that there’s more going on can be more satisfying than one long passage that is an extended thought or an exploration of a moment. Then the writing has to be really good to hold the reader's interest (and usually I don't think it is).

As it happens, I was one of the markers on your Shopping Channel story. It wasn’t the most original of concepts, for me, but you hit the ground running with the way you tell that story, IMO. There’s no fat on it and no false beginning. It is very condensed, with an excellent economy of style which makes it a much smoother read than many things I see on HOW. (I see also that your latest is a tale written with great care. Had I marked it I can see it scoring in the 60s, it has no real twist (and you're maybe too much in Stephen King's shadow) but there are some really good little bits of drama. What it so often comes down to is good quality human observation. I liked the line, 'the comfortable silence of a couple who feel no need to fill silence with inane chatter'.

Also, if you’re looking to please anyone, besides yourself, maybe look at the general aesthetic of the website and adjust accordingly. Really really good writing will usually shine through, I think, but I would suggest that merely good writing might lose out to something that happens to chime more with someone’s personal tastes, agenda, political outlook etc. That could work for or against you depending on who you're writing for.

This is not a horror story website per se, likewise if I write anything that's too metaphysical or dark I know I'm probably going to pay the price...I wanted to say something else but I've forgotten what it was so I'll leave it there. Hope this helps.

22:00, 24 Nov 2016
I'm intrigued about those 'monumentally scary dreams', Seaside Scribbler...

11:07, 13 Oct 2016
My favourite poem on hour of writes is said the baby giraffe to the lion by Vanita 18 closely followed by featherlight by experimental. My favourite story is survive the jungle by Reba Kaye. I am dictating this on my iPad mini two so please don't mind punctuation errors et cetera

17:20, 10 Oct 2016
FYI, I have registered another account called 'Novelist' where my story 'The man who had all the time in the world' will continue. Thanks.

14:39, 29 Jun 2016
The Sunday Sermon

During the run up to the EU Referendum I didn’t use Facebook as a soapbox and now that we’re out I think we need to accept the result. Personally, I voted in. I am and always have been in favour of ‘ever closer union’. However, I noted that there clearly wasn’t the political will for a United States of Europe in this country (or, sadly, anybody making the case for one) and voting out might be painful but lead to a chain of events which could potentially see us back in a Europe stronger and closer; and with us knowing what side our bread is buttered on. I don’t think this will happen anytime soon and in the interim we may see the loss of Scotland and troubles in Northern Ireland. In the mid-term the EU itself may unravel and there may even be war with Russia. Worst case scenario, a small nuclear incident. But (perhaps) we’ll get there in the end, members of some sort of European union that has our full-hearted support. History so often shows only misfortune or coercion make this sort of transformation possible. No pain, no gain and all that.
Staying in would have given us another headache, that’s for sure. We'd have been in limbo, not fully co-operating with Europe but with half the population not satisfied with that concession, anyway.
Of course, it may all play out differently- by some estimates we’ll end up only slightly worse off- and by others we’ll sail off into the sunset. Nobody knows and we should try and make this work and concede that not all experts were on one side and there are positives and negatives to being in a union. Nicola Sturgeon certainly seems to think so, as she is now in the process of trying to stay in one and leave another. But one thing I think we all know is that the NHS isn’t on the brink of a massive windfall, nor will the challenges of immigration disappear, as many Brexiters hope. The challenges and rewards of an uncertain and changing world remain with us. And if we’re still trading with the EU they’ll probably still be making laws which we have to follow. Amen.

14:33, 29 Jun 2016
5 Ideas on enhancing HOW.

1. An occasional sideline competition (in addition to the main one). For example, to continue a story or maybe to have a serial competition, where entrants write a 4 chapter story, 1 each week for a month. There could be marks each week and a prize at the end.
2. A monthly article from a HOW user on something writing related. Could be their tips on the art of writing or talking about a favourite HOW story of theirs. They could be paid in credits.
3. An annual prize for the best piece of writing.
4. A judge’s prize of the month for most constructive critique. Maybe a free credit.
5. A small prize for accruing three featured stories. I suggest being able to choose the theme for a given week.

I wouldn’t want to see HOW change too much from its present format. I like its uncluttered feel and how we can control access to our unselected stories but feel it could be more involving and a few small tweaks may enhance its overall appeal for all concerned.

21:32, 11 May 2016
I said boo
But no one was there
Twas a lonely boo
But I didn't care

My Notes