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Showing posts from November, 2015

Writing short and weaselling out weasel words

10 top writing tips from Without Bullshit.

Quite a general list but still well worthy of a perusal! (Peruse?)

Without Bullshit 10 top writing tips

Some good ones in here, including re-writing the passive voice. I'd also include getting rid of adverbs. 

Which top pieces of writing advice would you include? 
Post your comments below...

One day on the lake

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Using the cool of the early morning before the sun rises to become its usual summer furnace, the two boys are preparing for their special day. They comb, they preen, they each shave twice, slyly checking each other over at the same time as they check themselves in the mirror. Each wants to do well yet the other’s success is integral to their own. Each needs the other to be cool, stylish and in control but not to the extent of outdoing the other.
Hopping and skipping down the steps they reach the boat where she is waiting. She’s casual, relaxed, looks as if she has no idea of the boys’ hopes and expectations. Is this an elaborate game? The boys aren’t sure, but the preparation they have put into this encounter is proof that they're prepared to endure a few knock-backs.

She walks to the bows of the clinker-built boat and spreads her towel on the deck. Sitting dangling her feet in the cool waters of the lake she half day-dreams, half watches the boys as they continue their pre…

Big Magic...

Thanks to a recommendation from one of our Cafe Aphra contributors, I have just watched this amazing video interview between Elizabeth Gilbert and Marie Forleo, and I have to say I found it absolutely brilliant. 

The pacts and contracts we have to make with ourselves and our creativity; perfectionism as fear in high heels.... authenticity and originality... martyrdom and tricksterdom, and the many traps we lay ourselves and misconceptions we hold onto regarding our creative process. 

I have enjoyed hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak about writing in the past before and on this occasion she has lived up to my every expectation. I can feel I will be buying her new book, Big Magic, and reading it for myself very soon!

So, Aphraites, this is my offering to you on this 'What We Do Wednesday'! Enjoy!!

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert and Marie Forleo

The Visitor

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Rex picked up the brush and began sweeping. In the past week he had aged fifteen years.

Helping out friends when you can is a no brainer of course. You don’t think ahead to the grief it may cause you. You just do it and that’s the end of it. Though he’d always enjoyed the solitary life, having someone stay (“for a coupla days, max”) had held the promise of fun and conversation, a few high jinx perhaps.
Yeah, no doubt about it, body and soul needed to be yanked out of the comfort zone now and again.
And yet, as he nursed flecks of tortilla crumbs across the floor it struck him how he’d never before felt so middle aged and so damned English. He mused that if Hollywood were to make a film of the last week of his life a trailer would show Hugh Grant trapped in an elevator with Sofia Vergara and most cinemagoers would grab the broad gist of events.
Latin emotions are strongly felt and expressed. Boy, aren’t they. English ones aren’t. Rex had often felt the latin way to be admirable, more so s…

Ugly Histories

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Before the reign of light skinned beauty, before the war of pale and dark

East of the Nigerian Delta and resting low amongst the viscous swampland

A baby born in ochre dust, plum-pudding black, eyes full of coal fire

Unbound by western influence and their disorders of mind and body.

There she reigned from her first sticky steps to a long hunting stride

In the savannah, boiling from red light to dark, husky from the chase

Full from the kill, slick with the sweat of victory and animal shapes

Until a night, drenched by the blood moon, when men crept and stole

Leaving her land deprived, ships packed with a weeping cargo.



by Charlotte Stirling

Remember, remember, the month of November...

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Today is the 1st of November and for many people the beginning of what is now a well established institution in the worldwide writing community... NaNoWri month!

November has been 'National Novel Writing Month' for several years now and has produced spectacular results for many writers in need of an extra push to just get that baggy first draft finished.

Here at Cafe Aphra, we offer our own take on NaNoWriMo via the Cafe Aphra November Challenge... (drum roll, please!)

Essentially, this is the same idea but we just prefer to offer people a bit more flexibility in terms of setting their own writing goals, whether total word count, daily word count or something else entirely. Writing a novel is a highly personal experience and 50,000 words in 30 days in not necessarily be the right challenge for everyone. 

We still think NaNoWriMo is a fabulous idea, however, and a really admirable institution - so we would encourage all our readers who are currently struggling to make the progress …