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The Milford Write Up for 2017

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Contributors: Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Dolly Garland, Mark Isles and Steph Bianchini

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Setting: Trigonos Centre, Nantlle Valley, Wales
In the beautiful Trigonos centre, under the cover of clouds and rains and occasional bursts of sunshine, fifteen writers gathered together for one week of respite from the regular world. It is understood that most of what happens in Trigonos, stays in Trigonos. But for posterity purposes and for future generations we write this report to give a flavour of some of the things that transpired at Milford 2017. We thank Val Nolan for (unwittingly) donating his story-style for the creation of this document.

Dolly Garland (First generation recipient of the writers of colour bursary & all-around troublemaker): When a fellow Milfordian you’ve never met agrees to give you a lift from London and willing to spend four plus hours in a car with you, you know these folks are all right. Or…

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Live Blogging from Milford: Friday 15th September – 5.30 p.m.

Good bye to Trigonos and the Milford family…

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Jacey Bedford

This will probably be my last live blog from Milford for this year. The hard work is over. Today we’ve been to Caernarfon for a mooch around the castle and lunch at the Anglesea Arms. Though the weather forecast was not great there was only one short shower and this afternoon the sun came out.

caernarfon-2This was Suyi’s first look at a proper British castle and he took masses of photos and got a quick history lesson from Terry to put it into context.

Lunch was delightful. On short notice they shoved tables together to accommodate all of us and we (nearly) all chose meat of some kind. Several people had the burgers. I had gammon, Terry had lamb shank. After a week of healthy eating and set menus we really enjoyed the variety. Though we resisted pudding.

We had a quick race round the shops after lunch…

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Live Blogging from Milford: Wednesday 13th September – 9.30 a.m.

The gathered presence of the 2017 Milford group!

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Jacey Bedford

One day slides into the next… and suddenly it’s Wednesday. How did that happen? Yesterday we reached the halfway point on crits, so we have only another two days to go, another ten pieces to crit, with sixteen pieces completed already.

Panorama Tuesday

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Live blogging from Milford 2017: Tuesday 12th September – 11.50 a.m.

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Sue Oke

Looking out from my window, at the mountains beyond the trees, I realise just how much I love being here at Trigonos. The Milford experience is one to treasure. This is my fourth time as a participant, so I know what to expect. It’s great re-connecting with such wonderful writers. A reflective morning of writing is bolstered by breakfast conversations around mind control (well, we are speculative fiction writers). Now I have a precious couple of hours to work on my own writing, before turning my attention to the main focus of being here: the afternoon critiquing sessions. That can be quite intense, but also incredibly professional and supportive. And there’s chocolate too. There’s no substitute for the level of in-depth and insightful comments you receive from a group like this. Ah, here comes the rain again. Well, it is September in Wales. And yes, it’s also quite…

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Live blogging from Milford 2017: Tuesday 12th September – 9.30 a.m.

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Jacey Bedford

Milford day four. Tuesday morning and it’s raining again. We often get rain in September (this is North Wales after all) but it’s been pretty relentless so far; not heavy (mostly) but persistent, with few breaks. As I type, another shower has started, pattering on my window. The stream which runs down behind the Plas (main house) is no longer simply burbling, it’s rushing, shooting over its rocky bed into miniature waterfalls and rapids before emptying out into the lake, Llyn Nantlle.

Breakfast this morning was a mixture of people looking stupefied (me amongst them) while Matt and Steph had a deep conversation about the modern state of being, virtual reality, and the singularity. All I could think was, ‘This is a nice banana.’

We have a long critique session this afternoon, with six pieces to put through the grinder instead of five, so we’ve asked for lunch…

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Live blogging from Milford 2017: Monday 11th September – 11.55 a.m.

Here I am at Milford and loving every moment – writing and critiquing in a beautiful setting amongst professional writers, who are also great people!

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Jacey Bedford Writes:

Milford rainMilford is here again. The week in September when 15 writers of science fiction and fantasy gather in a not-so-secret location in Wild Welsh Wales to eat chocolate and critique each others’ pieces of fiction. North Wales is living up to its reputation so far. This was the view from my bedroom window this morning. It’s pretty but wet. Or maybe that should be pretty wet.

Several of us had complicated journeys to get here. One cancelled plane, some missed connections and horrendous traffic jams. I drove from Birdsedge (a tiny village on the eastern edge of the Pennines) intending to pick up Terry at her house in Lymm by 11.00. I have to cross the hills via the Woodhead Pass and unfortunately there had been an accident which had closed the road. Traffic was therefore all heading for Holmfirth to try and get over the moors…

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Of Course I Got It Right by Ben Jeapes

Interesting stuff! And who doesn’t want to be proved right?

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Everyone likes to be right. When that rightness can be traced back to luck and a bit of intuition – or, if you like, pure accident – then it’s even better.

new-world-orderThe contention of The New World Order, though its seventeenth century characters lack the vocabulary and scientific knowledge to work it out, is that around 35,000 BC the majority of a subspecies of the genus Homo disappeared through a wormhole into a parallel Earth. The few that remained soon died out in our world altogether, leaving only tantalising mythological hints, until in the nineteenth century some of their skeletons were discovered and identified in Germany’s Neander valley (or, in German, “Neander thal”). I see you’ve got it.

The ones who left develop a civilisation parallel to ours, in fact slightly ahead, so that when in our seventeenth century they find a way back to this world, calling themselves the Holekhor, they are at…

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

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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!

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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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