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

milfordsfwriters

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!

milfordsfwriters

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?

milfordsfwriters

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

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!

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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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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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