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Ethnic diversity in books: Is it black and white?

black-hands-dipped-in-white-paint

I have been feeling especially empowered by my race recently. The #BlackandBritish season on the BBC has served to teach me things about black history that I wasn't aware of as well as set free feelings of pride of being both black and British. Alongside this, Alex Wheatle, the first black author I ever read, became the 50th winner of the Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize. As a young girl growing up, I was always struck by the lack of characters...

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The problem with book recommendations

couple smiling behind books

I always hate recommending things to people. What if the person hates the thing? Will they judge me? Will they no longer rate my opinion? Even worse, what if they ignore my recommendation? I spent three seasons extolling friends about the virtues of Game of Thrones only for them to say things like they hated trolls. Suddenly when the media decided GoT was popular, the same friends were asking if I had watched it. Sigh. I'm also not very keen...

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Learning to write engaging dialogue

I am currently sitting in a cafe listening to a group of men's discussion. I often do this, earwig on people's conversations. You may think this is rude and it probably is; I don't know how I would feel knowing a complete random was sitting listening to everything I say. But I am a writer, I am allowed to as this is research. Ok, I am naturally nosy but that is beside the point. Taking liberties with other people's privacy...

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What I Learned from My 28 Day Writing Challenge

October was a great month for me professionally; I had a couple of fun editing projects, some interesting blog posts to write for clients, there was the start of my Masters in Creative Writing and I took part in Karen Marston's 28-day writing challenge. I write about Karen an inordinate amount on here—she has her own tag on my blog—but since 'meeting' her online this time last year, she has had a significant influence on my attitude to what is possible for...

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What I read in October

I'm slightly early on my 'What I read in...' series this month but I wanted to end the month with a blog post about the 28 day writing challenge I have been taking part in so here we are. I have been reading so much this month due to the start of my writing course and what a pleasure it has been. Most of the materials I have read I'm unable to share on here because they are excerpts or...

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How I believe writing can help to improve your mental health

Last week I didn't post for the first time since starting this blog; I had managed ten consecutive weeks of blog posting. I was surprised that I didn't beat myself up about it. I was ill, had a lot of work on and needed to allow myself space for self-care. Though I didn't post it, I had actually written the crux of this when I was supposed to and was writing every day. The editing and publishing just felt like too...

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Why I am constantly learning

October has been a significant month for me when it comes to learning. Earlier in the year, I registered with The Open University (OU) for the first module that was part of an MA in Creative Writing. I decided that I want to make my life as a writer a reality. My first official day was Saturday. I have been studying with the OU on and off since 2004 and I feel intrinsically linked to them. The OU has seen...

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How I manage to write through my self-doubt

I've had enough self-doubt to fill a quarry recently. It seems to increase with the more opportunities that are offered to me. After being asked to submit a short story, I began to drown in self-doubt. What if I'm no good? Why do I think I can write things? What if they laugh at my attempt of even trying? I've mentioned my writing confidence in previous post and while I am proud to say that I am writing and submitting more,...

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What I read in July, August and September

I've wanted to write this post for a stupidly long time but I just haven't been reading enough. There have been various reasons for this. The biggest reason has been the refurb we have had done in our house. We converted our unusable garage into our home office. I also found out I was pregnant which has meant I have been consuming a lot of pregnancy-related material rather than reading for pleasure. I can tell you a lot about breast...

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Learning to use hyphens, em and en dashes

I love, love, love punctuation. Wait, don't leave! You might learn something cool. While I was studying for Start Fiction Editing , the only punctuation I had a nightmare with in our exercises were em and en dashes. Sophie Playle, the patient dear, got me caught up with these two as I am shocked to say this didn't really come up in my schooling or my love affair with the English language. I know I'm not the only one who had...

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