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Why everyone should be a science fiction fan, by Ben Jeapes

milfordsfwriters

Giles Coren’s first and so far only novel, Winkler, was published in 2005. He got a £30k advance, it was slated in reviews, it won a Bad Sex Award, and combined hardback and paperback sales barely nudged the 1000 mark. He retired hurt, not to mention baffled, and stuck to non-fiction.

GilesCoren-failed bookTen years later he felt brave enough to make a documentary about it. Links have changed since I first saw it, but search “Giles Coren my failed novel” and you’ll find it. It’s really quite touching as you see the penny begin to drop. He speaks to the reviewers who had slated it. He listens in on a book club tearing it apart. He takes the first chapters to a creative writing course workshop. He tries rereading it himself and finds it unbearable. (He can’t get through the Bad Sex Award-winning passage without breaking down into laughter.) He…

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Pick and Mix Story Ideas

Some great story ideas…. happy writing!

milfordsfwriters

2012-09 Milford Trigonos Picture Prompt 1

Contributors: Jim Anderson, Jacey Bedford, Karen Brenchley, Dave Gullen, Jackie Hatton, Terry Jackman, Ben Jeapes, Sue Thomason. (All picture prompt images (c) Jacey Bedford.)

Readers often ask writers where they get their ideas from. Most writers have more ideas than they can ever use, therefore not all of them are developed. The writers credited above contributed random story ideas for your edification and delight.

Give the same prompt to ten different writers and you’ll end up with ten completely different stories. You can even use the same prompt more than once.

Picture prompt:

  1. “Space travel has a very high energy cost and very high levels of emissions. Surely it is against any commitment to sustainability for this to be permitted ‘for fun’.” (quote from recent newspaper)
  2. Too busy for a real holiday I book a VR holiday. I’m sitting in the VR aeroplane and somebody hijacks it.

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Is it coincidence or Quantum Entanglement?

Interesting stuff… lots to think about.

Frances Gow

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a spooky story. I’ve written about ghosts, monsters, dimensions of time and space, aliens, mythical creatures and all manner of weird stuff. You could say that I peddle my wares on the weirder side of life. So why would I want to give you a rational explanation for the mystery behind the inexplicable? Sorry… did I say rational? Rational maybe, if you happen to be a quantum physicist.

In this engaging Ted talk, Jim Al-Khalili explains the strange world of quantum biology and uses quantum physics to answer some of life’s bigger questions like, ‘how does a robin know to fly south?’.

Quantum entanglement was famously described by Einstein as ‘Spooky action at a distance’. Entangled particles behave in such a way that when something happens to one, the other is affected, even when separated by distance. Entanglement happens when two particles meet…

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Funding for Writers of Colour to Attend Milford SF in 2017 – Applications Invited Now.

milfordsfwriters

FUNDED PLACES FOR TWO SF WRITERS OF COLOUR (BME) AT THE 2017 MILFORD SF WRITERS’ CONFERENCE

9th to 16th September 2017

Applications remain open until the end of February 2017
Successful applicants will be notified in March 2017
Download information and an application form

Word / RTF

Typewriter 3Due to the generosity of the committee of the 8Squared Eastercon, and an anonymous (writer) donor, Milford SF Writers’ Conference is able to offer two funded places for self-identifying science fiction/fantasy writers of colour, i.e. of black or minority ethnicity, to attend the 2017 Milford SF Writers’ Conference in the UK from 9th – 16th September. Writers from all over the world (far and near) are invited to apply as long as they write in English. Applicants must be ‘Milford qualified’ (i.e have at least one SF story sale to a recognised market).

The bursary will cover the cost of the conference fee…

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Ten Quick Tips for Writers

Great advice from a great author…

Jacey Bedford

typewriter-3Here are ten quick tips for writers (not necessarily in order of usefulness and not necessarily complete). Feel free to ignore what doesn’t work for you. Remember: ‘Follow no rule off a cliff.’ – C.J. Cherryh. Besides these are not rules – they’re more like guidelines.

  1. Finish what you write. If you can finish a novel you’ll be ahead of more than 90% of wannabe novelists.
  2. Don’t mix up editing and revision. When you’ve finished your first draft, put it away for a few weeks (or a few months if you have the luxury of time and you’re not chasing a deadline – though write something else in the interim). When you come back to it, the distance will give you perspective. Your first revision shouldn’t be merely tickling words to find a better way of saying something, but it should be structural: fixing plot holes, deepening characters, backtracking to…

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Introducing Sandra Unerman, author of Spellhaven

A fellow Milfordite and good friend. Here is a book to look out for!

Mirror World Publishing

2017 is here and the Mirror World family is growing again! We’re extremely proud to be able to announce that UK author, Sandra Unerman will be joining us with her fantasy novel for adults, Spellhaven.

There were a number of quality submissions this year, but Sandra Unerman’s Spellhaven blew us away. The story opens in the years leading up to World War I, when a young English musician, Jane, is kidnapped and taken to an island city ruled by magicians, where she is required to help entertain the Unseen Spirits who keep the city going for a term of three years, or face prison for six.

The world in Sandra Unerman’s novel is richly detailed and we think it beautifully encompasses what we’re all about here at Mirror World; taking the reader on a journey to a far off place and bringing them back to the real world with a…

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The Yin and Yang of Writing Advice

Advice that I totally, one hundred percent endorse!

Jacey Bedford

Writing advice is great – when it works for you. When it doesn’t, find another way of doing things.

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” —W. Somerset Maugham:

“Follow no rule off a cliff”—CJ Cherryh

yin-yangAccepted Wisdom says: Write every day.

I say: Except when you can’t. It’s all about balance. Come on, guys, life sometimes gets in the way. Some days just have your name on the shit-list from the get-go. You have a dentist’s appointment and come home feeling like you’ve been kicked in the chops by a donkey. Your kid is sick and clingy, so you have to do the mum/dad thing because that’s what being a mum/dad is all about. The washing machine repair man is due at 9.00 a.m., the central heating’s on the fritz and you have a dinner party for fourteen people to prepare…

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Proxima V – The Vault Festival

I attended several of the Vault Festival events last year and was blown away by all of them! Sited in vault-like spaces under Waterloo these are experiences you don’t want to miss. So, here’s the info you need…

v17_page_titles_proximav

This is an official plea for assistance.

The Earth is imperiled. Resources are being depleted at an unprecedented rate. Politics is in turmoil across the globe. It is no longer possible to engage with others without owning accounts for Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime simultaneously.

The People are dangerously close to being without hope.

We need brave individuals to offer themselves for the next phase of human existence: off-world. We are preparing a flight manifest of those willing to join us in our first efforts to colonise a new world – a better world, not so far, far away. We call it: PROXIMA V.

Well – maybe. It’s an idea, anyway. We’re not quite ready to abandon all hope just yet. It’s easy to feel despair in these times of political and economic uncertainty – but we look to the skies and find no sign of any limits to human creativity and passion.

Join us on PROXIMA V – a carefully selected strand of sci-fi and space shows designed to make you smile, and make you think about where we’re all headed. Check out the programme below and reach for the stars.

Making People In My Head – by Gaie Sebold

A fun and interesting look at writing characters from Gaie Sebold.

milfordsfwriters

babylon-steel-coverSomeone asked me recently, “Which comes first for you, character or plot?”

“Oh, character,” I said. “Character every time.”

And having said it, I realised that it might be generally true – at least, where novels are concerned – but of course, it isn’t as simple as that. A character doesn’t just stroll into my head, named, physically complete and fully costumed, with all their quirks, motivations, backstory, family and taste in beverages neatly arrayed.

I know one or two things about them, to start with. Generally I have a good idea what my major characters look like. In fact they’re often so clear in that respect that I have to remind myself to put some of that stuff on the page, because, unfortunately, readers can’t actually see the picture in my head.

dangerous-gifts-cover-32d6I know what they do for a living. That in itself is part, of course, of who…

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Thoughts on Editing

All very useful advice!

Jacey Bedford

I thought I’d toss out some thoughts on the editing process – or rather my editing process because every writer has their own way of dealing with edits, and if it works, then it’s the right way. No two writers are like or follow the exact same process.

There are two phases of content/structural editing. The first is my own, done before sending the first draft of my manuscript to my editor at DAW. The second is the edit based on what my editor wants me to alter or add (more on that later).

Sheila Gilbert wins the Hugo - 2016At this stage I want to stop and tell you that a few days ago my lovely editor at DAW, Sheila E Gilbert, was awarded the Hugo award for Best Editor, Long Form. I am absolutely thrilled for her because she’s been in this business a long time and is vastly experienced and a terrific editor…

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