Saturday, 24 July 2010

Inspiration Techniques, by Adam Bailey ...

The muse is a wandering lion whose noble roar is mostly heard in that moment before sleep. Which is all well and good for civilians who don't mind drifting off before their mind wakes up in full glorious technicolour, but writers don’t get that luxury. Writers spend their nights writing. Somehow trying to harness the dream and its strength to get inside humanity's head and reveal its secrets, fears, rages, and Charlize Theron needing help with her bikini, again.

Easier said than done. Because unless you're Stephen King and galloped enough coke in your twenties to ride on bareback well into your sunset years banging out a new book every other season, writing usually means just staring at the computer with total brain freeze. Mumbling about lions.

Somehow, then, what writers must do is track down that bastard lion muse thing, shoot a tranq dart in its arse, ship it home in a cage, and under the rule of the whip have it performing circus tricks within the week. Cue big top applause. Writers call this Artificial Inspiration.

Adam will be discussing the various techniques in the August issue of WWJ!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Dogs Can't Look Up

[ri-surch, ree-surch]
1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc. 

Having been asked to do an article on ‘research’ I did what all self-respecting writers do these days and plugged the word into an online dictionary, hence the above. There were a few other definitions but I couldn’t be bothered cutting and pasting them. They were verbs or something.

I’ve managed to write two novels and about a dozen short stories without doing any research whatsoever. I’ve had the advantage of only ever writing about Glaswegian idiots though so much of the required knowledge was already built in. Now and then I’ve needed to check the odd bit of geography but Google maps has always sorted that out easily enough. To be honest, the first thought to enter my brain when the ED asked me to write this article about research was - shit, she’s not done her research ...

Read the full article by Danny Gillan in the August issue of Words with JAM ... OUT SOON!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

What Not to Tweet by Dan Holloway

Diving into the Hash Party Scene

So now you’ve spent almost 2 months tweeting away, meeting new people and exploring the twitterverse. Almost certainly you’ve already discovered most of what I want to say this time, but I’ll say it anyway. I want to have a look in more detail than I did last time at some of the parts of twitter that I’ve found particularly helpful for me. Not necessarily in terms of sales, or downloads. That’s not really what twitter is about for me. Rather, these are the places where I’ve met some amazing people, many of whom I’ve gone on to learn huge amounts from in the blogosphere, lots of whom are now friends on Facebook, and a fair few of whom I’ve gone on to meet more than once in the “real world” and form friendships with. In the next issue of Words with JAM, I also want to take a look at what an incredible source of raw information twitter can be for the writer.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Human Libraries - Learning not to judge a book by its cover ...

Having looked last time at e-books, my attention this month was caught by another very different sort of book – the Living Book, and its home, the Human Library.

I first heard about Human Libraries via a programme on BBC Radio 4 . As I learnt, ‘the Human Library works exactly like a normal library – readers come and borrow a 'book' for a limited period of time. After reading it they return the Book to the library and – if they want – they can borrow another Book. There is only one difference: the Books in the Human Library are human beings, and the Books and Readers enter into a personal dialogue.’

I have to admit, being a writer, my first thought when I heard about this was ‘what a fantastic research opportunity’. Supposing you have a character who is a gang member, a homeless person, a woman vicar. What better than to sit down with someone who has been in their shoes, with full permission to ask them whatever questions you like? Okay, maybe you wouldn’t learn enough in half an hour’s conversation to flesh out a main character, but it could be perfect to ensure a minor character is more than just a flat stereotype. But was this in the spirit of the Human Library, or would I be taking advantage? I had to find out more.

Full article by Catriona Troth in the August Issue of Words with JAM ... OUT SOON!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Coming Soon ...

The August issue will be available by the end of this month. With most of the articles in, and work commencing on the layout, over the next couple of weeks we'll be sharing snippets of what is to come ...

60 Seconds with David Nicholls 

David Nicholls trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. His TV credits include the third series of Cold Feet, Rescue Me, and I Saw You. He was co-writer for the film adaptation of Simpatico, which starred Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone. David's bestselling first novel, Starter for Ten, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 2004. David wrote the screenplay for the film version, released in 2006, starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall and Dominic Cooper. He also wrote And When Did you Last See Your Father (2007), with Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth and a much-praised modern adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008), with Gemma Arterton for the BBC.

His second novel, The Understudy was published in 2005. His most recent, One Day, is currently being filmed with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in the roles of Emma and Dexter. David also wrote the screenplay.

He lives in North London with his partner Hannah and two children, Max and Romy.