Thoughts — now shovel some cheese curls into my trash hole
Yer weans may eat the morn! My sister follows me to the bathroom. I accept her proffered breath mints and unspoken disappointment. Anniversary is the runner-up poem, written by Tracy Davidson of Stratford-upon-Avon. The joy of poetry is so often experienced through delving into the subjective interpretation the lines can trigger.
It is not easy to write short, good poetry that packs a punch as well as this one does. It is a bittersweet celebration written in five free verses. The first six lines are seemingly good and happy but by the third verse, oh dear. Read that clever, painful last line I smile, smile so much it hurts. The fourth three-line verse is truly upsetting — those Steps at AA.
Such economy in a poem is a delight. We have our two winners and we also have ten shortlisted poems.
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Finally, congratulations to both exceedingly worthy winners. They and the shortlisted ten do indeed have every reason to celebrate. Starting out as a journalist at the Mail on Sunday, she was a celebrity interviewer, gossip columnist and lifestyle editor for six years. Jessica has worked as a freelance journalist for various newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Psychologies and The Lady as well as doing a certain amount of ghost writing.
Working with words is my privilege and with the thesaurus as my tool, I can build worlds out of thin air and blank sheets of paper. The title refers to an episode in her childhood when her brother had a huge school project on birds to do, that he had inevitably left until the last minute. Just take it bird by bird. The two of them clearly enjoyed a prickly relationship where their co-dependence both delighted and irritated them both. Love In A Cold Climate is probably her masterpiece but this is my favourite.
Nancy had no children of her own, so the tenderness that she has for children is played out here. It is instructive to think about why those choices have changed and what we can learn from that. The first began with Nancy as a girl emerging from the nursery and into adulthood, in the company of her new friend and nursery maid, Louisa Cannon, who is fleeing a LISTEN dastardly uncle in London. Since I was a young girl I have had a fascination with the between-the-wars era and this was given full rein when I wrote the official companion books to the television series, Downton Abbey, which was created by my uncle Julian Fellowes.
Steeped in this world, it was perhaps only natural that I should return to it for my first foray into fiction. I have enjoyed writing both these novels — and am now planning the third — but writing fiction was even more different than I anticipated from writing non-fiction. I can only compare it to an artist changing from painting to sculpture; you are still communicating your ideas but in a completely different way. Historical research is my comfort zone, and when I am feeling slightly at a loss or lacking confidence in my fiction, I can turn to the myriad of memoirs and biographies that will give me a small but crucial detail to spark off another plotline or character.
In the morning, I will take my son to school and go to an exercise class essential if I am not. We work through the day, breaking for lunch, which my husband generally prepares, until one of us leaves to collect our son from school and the other cooks supper. I try to write out the synopsis in detail — chapter by chapter — and then settle down to write the first draft. This is in some ways the best and the hardest part. But I try to keep moving forward and not edit at this stage. Further edits will add details, or shave away unnecessary words and even paragraphs.
I liken it to doing a drawing, then colouring it in. At the very least, make notes for Dead what you want to write. It was not the best of places. His eyes were drawn12 to the body lying on the floor.
That was the gist of what they said downstairs. Her clothes in the wardrobe tell me otherwise. Get the photographer and a police woman to go through them with you. Had she come to see someone? We need the answers. Alan Archer was born in , the eldest of two identical twin boys. He attended a secondary modern school and after leaving did a variety of jobs including salesman and self-employed tour operator before taking a course in business administration. He lives in Armthorpe, Doncaster. This novel is set in Markham. And the third sentence suggests, in fact, that it may actually be the worst of places.
Is it necessary to mention that the station sent him? It diffuses the impact and the focus. Let us address this most heinous and prevalent grammatical crime here and now. This error has become so common now that most people have forgotten the difference. Hopefully, writers will not. Well, she was standing outside the door to a room. Does a crime scene have a door or a window? Is it only me? Fair enough. A bit more detail? Face down or face up?
The reader sees almost nothing. See Why do we move away from dialogue to reported speech? It breaks the spell and returns the reader to narrative control. And here we have a problem.
Now I have to adjust my mental image. It introduces a pause and therefore a stutter in the narrative flow. Why choose the former? The pathos is overplayed and so misses the mark. Keep it subtle. Can he just speak as he looks at the body? What does this mean exactly? Or that it was threadbare and transparent?
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Something about the three numbers disturbs me. The pyjamas would tell anybody this, not just an experienced detective. Go easy on the telling and let the reader make some deductions. In summary This is not a bad start to a crime novel. We have a body, a scene and an investigator.
The premise and structure are good. Two things let it down. The first is how it fits into the crime genre. Readers of this kind of novel are keen sleuths in their own right and have been trained over decades to read for clues. Here, the clues are either too vague a lying body or overstated the pyjamas and the clothes in the wardrobe.
The job of the crime writer is to note the clues but not necessarily explain them, especially the more obvious ones. That insults the intelligence of the characters and the reader. That first paragraph is excessively wordy without saying much. Do we need to be told that the photographer is responsible for taking photos? Is it important that DS Farr lives close by? The danger of this latter detail is that it appears to be either irrelevant or an overt clue, neither of which is good. Many sentences are excessively woolly, as in the numerical estimates of height and weight.
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People seldom use full forms in dialogue. And does he really need to remind her what she said a matter of seconds before? Why the sizes?
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