for writers and readers….

The most popular posts of 2013 were about publishing opportunities, the Nobel Prize and a rather misleading X rated story…

ReflectionLooking back at the last 12 months, a strong theme emerges. The most popular posts were ones that gave information on submissions and competitions (especially free ones) and those that gave an insight into the literary establishment. I suppose that’s not very surprising – it’s what I like researching and I guess it’s one of the reasons readers follow this blog (and a lot of people have signed up over the last year – thank you so much). However, I was taken aback by the appeal of writing for the radio. It was only a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a creative window opening at the BBC for short story writers in 2014 and there’s no doubt that it has been the most popular subject that I’ve ever written about with over 1000 views in five days and dozens more every day since.
So this is what my top 5 looks like.
1) An opportunity for new writers to write for radio written in December
2) The books that UK publishers would like to commission in 2013 – it appeared in January, but still makes for interesting reading now.
3) Who’s on the 2013 shortlist for the Nobel Prize for Literature. I guess a lot of people googled this question and landed here. The short answer is we don’t know – writers don’t know if they are being considered. The whole process is shrouded in secrecy and all we have to go on is media speculation and the bets that are being laid (Bob Dylan had quite good odds this years ).
4) My list of 29 names invented by authors including Wendy (J.M Barrie in Peter Pan) and Vanessa (Jonathan Swift) and weirdly Fiona and Norma (not a female form of Norman apparently).
5) Ten good reasons to study creative writing – it’s good for your mental well being and your physical health and there’s evidence to prove it.
The most popular creative writing exercise was one that focused on conveying accents in dialogue and that X rated story? Well, it was part of the April A to Z challenge and it usually gets a couple of hits a day ever since, but I fear that most readers go away disappointed. I’ve pasted it below so you can see what I mean.

My X Rated Story

One look told me that this dame was a no-holds barred xanthippe. It was a slow day in a month busy with final demands so when my office door swung open I was pleased to see a new client sashay in.
Neither of us said anything as we sized each other up. The office walls were thin and someone in one of the other cheap cubby holes was playing a xylophone. Yesterday it was a bassoon so I wasn’t about to start complaining.
The woman in front of me might be  trouble, but I had to admit she was was stacking triple X chromosomes with her glorious xanthous mane and a neckline heading for the equator. She was scowling at me and her mood didn’t sweeten when a pile of xeroxed court summons slid off a filing cabinet and fell on to top of her.
She snarled as if she had just trodden onto something deeply disgusting: I looked down and realised that she had. A paint pot was dangling from the end of her shoe.  I understood how she felt. When the decorators started just before Xmas, I was told the walls would be a cheerful sunshine , but the xanthic emulsion that was now dripping down her high heels looked more like xerotic parings from ancient toenails and not in a good way.
I attempted to fix an ingratiating smile to my face, but I suspect the result looked as xyloid as a tribal mask with Xestobium rufovillosum.
I palmed a couple of Xanac from my desk drawer: I didn’t want her to see how anxious I was, but inside I was praying that she sit down, stay awhile and push some folding stuff towards me. Play it cool, Xavier old boy I told myself.  I patted my stuffed xenarthra  on the head for luck. Hey, everyone’s got a superstitions, haven’t they? Other people have teddy bears? Well, I have my xenarthra and we’ve been through a lot together.
“I want to see your brother,” she drawled, a sneer playing ping pong at the corners of her lips.
Damn, Xerxes always gets the best jobs…

xanthippe (bad tempered woman)

xanthous (red hair)

xanthic (yellow)

xerotic (dry)

xyloid (woody)

Xestobium rufovillosum (death watch beetle)

Xenarthra (armardillo)

I’m looking forward to 2014 – hope you are too.

photo credit: Mike Licht, via photopin cc

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2014 by in Muse, News and tagged , , , , .


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