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Showing posts from July, 2010

The devil makes work for idle unicorns

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Katherine says I need to spend more time helping her write her next bestseller and less time moonlighting over here. She says if I don’t pull my sparkly unicorn socks up soon, she will find herself another muse. So I need your help, faithful followers! Please consider the questions below and be as brutally honest as you like. Is this blog boring? Is it worth a unicorn’s glitter to blog for 15 people? How many other people (not followers) are reading this blog? Who reads blogs apart from other bloggers? Are we all just blogging for one another ? Which parts of this blog do you like? Which bits don’t you like? What else would you like to see on this blog? What do you think makes a REALLY GREAT author blog? Or do you think authors and their muses should just get on with writing their books and leave blogging to everyone else? Katherine has set me a target of 500 followers by the end of this year. If I do not achieve this, she says she’s putting me out to grass without a pension and I c

July Reading

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Summer is a perfect time for reading - in the park under a shady tree, or on the beach taking a well-earned holiday. But Katherine tells me times are tough in the human world, so if you can’t afford a real holiday this year the Muse suggests taking a “mind-holiday” in a book instead... Natural Flights of the Human Mind – Claire Morrall Peter Straker is a recluse (a bit like the Muse!) who lives in a crumbling lighthouse on the Devon coast, haunted by the 78 people he believes he killed when he crashed his plane on a railway line, derailing a passenger train. He spends his days trying to piece together the lives of the victims, and has not flown since. Then he meets Imogen, who has inherited a rundown cottage in the nearby village complete with a barn containing an old Tiger Moth plane, which she dreams of restoring to its former glory despite having no money for repairs. Peter helps her mend her roof, while Imogen’s brother gets interested in restoring the plane. Peter wants nothing

TRICKED – edited by the Muse

Some authors hate being edited, so the Muse apologises in advance for any unwanted glitter that might find its way into Alzrith’s story during this post. But as promised, here we go… Normally, two levels of editing are done on a story before publication. The first involves rewriting parts of it, maybe cutting out a paragraph to speed things up, or adding a sentence or two to explain something in more detail. Usually at this stage, the editor will make suggestions and leave it up to the author to go away and do the rewrite. Otherwise the editor might end up putting some of their own style on the story, which would be very un-muselike! With “Tricked”, the challenge was to continue from an opening paragraph set by BR Collins, which can be difficult because every author has his or her own style. Alzrith did this well with the line “I didn’t know why I said I was ready”. One thing the Muse noticed was that BR Collins’ opening uses the present tense, but Alzrith changed into the past tense

TRICKED - a story by Alzrith

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The first brave young writer to share their work with the Muse is Alzrith, who wrote this story for the Henrietta Branford competition inspired by an opening set by last year’s Branford Boase winning author BR Collins. TRICKED It’s freezing cold in the bus shelter, and there’s only just enough light from the streetlamps to see Rachel’s face. She’s squinting past me, biting her lip. I've had enough,’ I say. ‘My Mum’ll kill me if she notices I’m not in bed.’ Rachel frowns and ignores me. ‘I can’t believe I agreed to come,’ I say. ‘Nothing is going to happen. This is so stu—’ ‘Shut up!’ She shoves an elbow into my ribs and leans forward, staring. From the note in her voice I can tell she’s seen something. I follow her gaze, but all I can see is shadows. Rachel looks round at me. ‘Ready?’ I take a deep breath. Suddenly my heart is beating too fast. ‘Ready,’ I say. I didn’t know why I said I was ready. But Rachel grabbed my arm and pulled me to the other side of

Branford Boase Award Party

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Ten years ago Katherine won this award for Song Quest , which means she still gets invited to the parties hosted by Walker Books in London. It’s a long way from Torbay to London, and the train went very fast, so the Muse’s legs are dropping off. But it was an exciting occasion so I’m using my last remaining energy to write this before I disappear back into the enchanted mists for a much needed glass of magical unicorn glitterade. Yes yes, get on with it Muse, they want to know who won… pause for glitter shower… this year’s winner is Lucy Christopher for her book Stolen, published by Chicken House and edited by Imogen Cooper. Here’s Lucy (speaking) on stage with Imogen and last year’s winner B A Collins, proving that you can never go wrong with a little black dress. Chicken House also published Song Quest as well as other past winners, which means they now have a whole collection of little black boxes with butterflies on the cover sitting along their office windowsill. Strangely en

Calling Young Writers

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Katherine has just returned from a secret authors’ conference in a magical English shire. This is the view from her room. She’s not allowed to breathe a word of what went on behind closed doors, but she has returned full of crazy ideas that mean I’m going to have to work pretty hard in future, I can tell you! My first task is to make this blog more useful and interesting for young writers. I’ve already posted a link to the excellent Young Writer magazine , which once ran a serial based on “Crystal Mask”, but people often ask Katherine to read their stories, too. So the Muse has decided to make the enchanted mists into a space where you can share your work with other readers (if you’re brave enough!) and gather comments about it. The Muse will also comment, and maybe even other professional authors and book people who read this blog, you never know. The idea is to get some feedback on your work and have a bit of fun with your writing. From time to time, the Muse will also include posts

ALCS Exeter roadshow

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The wonderful people from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society travelled all the way to Exeter yesterday to meet their members, so I gave Katherine a prod with my horn and off she went (I went too, of course, but stayed invisible so she wouldn’t have to pay the unicorn fare for me on the train). Here are Lucey and Alison from ALCS, still smiling after the long day. In the afternoon we discussed money and where it comes from (a human obsession) with ALCS expert Barbara Hayes and ate delicious sticky lemon cake. Later on, we discussed stories and where they come from (a Muse obsession) with local children’s author Mal Peet accompanied by wine and nibbles – though after another gentle prod with my horn Katherine had orange juice, because it's always good to keep a clear head in public in case there are any paparazzi about… and a good job she did, because here is Mr Mal Peet snapped with a glass in his hand! Mal won the Branford Boase Award a few years after Katherine did f