A heart found in the laundry, a senile parent digging with a knife and spoon in the garden for her lost husband and the telepathy of knees were some of the subjects covered in tonight’s Flash Fiction readings in Bristol. (*all of the writers who read are listed below)
Bristol’s Flash events managed the coup of attracting writer and lecturer, Calum Kerr to visit, who founded the day last year. Events took place all over the UK and online flash fiction stories were published at ten minute intervals. The anthology ‘Scraps’ published flash fiction stories too.
“Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.
I’m working on a new piece of work – in a genre I’ve only just discovered – video poetry. Not the same as a podcast, or just a poet speaking to camera, but the fusion of words and images ( I think!). I was a bit sceptical at first. I mean if you’re a poet don’t you paint with words? Won’t the visual aspect of the film overpower the language? But I’ve found some beautiful examples of words and images working together to create a powerful effect. See http://movingpoems.com/ for some lovely examples of film makers and poets coming together to create something new.
I decided to use my traintweets project on twitter. Briefly, at the start of May I set myself the task of writing a line of poetry in 140 characters a day on my daily train commute to work. You can follow me on @wordpoppy or find my tweets by using the hashtag #traintweets.
Once I had all these little gems I wondered if I could make something out of them, so this videopoem consists of my daily tweets. It’s a type of poetic journalism I suppose. I’ve made myself respond to the landscape daily. In some ways being limited by the daily journey has been liberating. The train window has become my frame
Finally I’ve finished the video – there were lots of technical difficulties – and it took ages to sync the visuals and audio together. Then I wondered if syncing is desirable as the visual will usually overpower the language, and make the language more redundant. But I’m quite pleased with the result.
So, here it is. My first videopoem.
#traintweets by @wordpoppy. A poem devised from daily tweets as I commute to work
Please let me know what you think – I’d love to know, especially as I’m entering a competition with this, and this is very much, a first attempt.
This week I was privileged to venture inside The Guardian offices, courtesy of attending the Guardian Masterclass on ‘What sub editors wish you knew.’
As we walked upstairs we passed portraits on the wall, like these of Jagger and Sinead O Connor, taken by the famous Guardian photographer, Jane Brown.
The talk by Chief Sub editor of Time Out, Chris Waywell and the Guardian’s James Callow, was designed to teach freelancers how to avoid obvious mistakes when submitting work. I’m not a freelance writer (yet), but I do work in PR, so it was great to hear from a national publication tips for writers submitting work.
I was interested to hear that bloggers sometimes get invited to submit articles. The thing to remember is that it’s a professional relationship and you’re on trial. The key to being asked again to submit an article is to be professional in your writing and dealings with the paper.
Rule number one is to understand the publication you’re writing for and to understand the audience of the paper or magazine. Getting the tone right is important. Phone up and get a style guide if you want to impress them. This also applies to writers submitting work to magazines or agents. Don’t send your work to a publication or agent who is not likely to be interested in your genre or subject matter. Research is the key.
|Break out space at The Guardian HQ|
Never submit late to a publication. You don’t want to be unpopular with the sub editors do you? And you want to write for them again, presumably. If your submission is late that will impact on the chain of people and events at the other end.
Word limits: aim to keep to the brief. Submitting under the word limit creates problems as they have to fill the missing space with additional copy, creating extra work. If you submit over the word limit then that can be acceptable as they can cut, but a rule of thumb is to only submit up to 10 % over the agreed word count.
Name check, fact check, spell check and carefully proof-read before submitting copy. Let them know of any potential legal issues with your piece. Be concise in your writing and before you click on the send button, check, check and check again. If they change your work, pay attention, analyse those changes and ask yourself why so you can learn from it.
A tip for bloggers – it’s easy to self-publish these days, but once your work and words are out there they will be judged, so go through a period of reflection and checking before you post a blog. Make the writing on your blog your best work.
I’d highly recommend this Guardian masterclass. The speakers were knowledgeable, friendly and cared deeply about good writing. Chris surprised me by suggesting a technique I’m familiar with for creative writing – when you wake up in the morning write three pages of A4. Doesn’t matter what it is, just write, then when you start work your first words won’t be the first of the day. He also recommended The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Up until a month ago I’d never heard of this book, but this is the third endorsement I’ve had for it. I shall investigate.
For more information visit Guardian Masterclasses or connect on twitter @guardianclasses