Creative Writing Courses: Helpful or Not?


If you’re interested in writing, perhaps you have considered doing a creative writing course. Perhaps you think that if only you could do a creative writing course, your writing would improve out of sight, and you would find a way to get published. If you complete a creative writing qualification, perhaps you think that a job will be waiting for you.

Creative writing courses have their good points, and often their lecturers are actual practitioners, which makes them look even more attractive. However, the following article contains some points you may want to think about before you commit yourself.

The Abortion


In a liquid darkness
Within the warm red,
Very close to your heart,
I sit and bask
In the resonant thrum
Of your voice,
Little knowing
It has just betrayed me.

A stranger is here -
Cold but moist metal -
A wrenching -
An explosion of ringing pain,
My first introduction to that word.
I cannot breathe;
I am dragged away from my life-blood.
One arm clings tenaciously;
It is ripped off.

The hard metal grips my head;
I open my mouth,
But I have no voice.
My skull collapses inward.
Everything disintegrates.
The world is red water.
The world is red water.

In the year ending December 2013, 14,073 people in New Zealand alone died in red water. We need a change.

Evening Thoughts


Softly now, the night falls
In a swathe of blues
And glittering green palls.
Around, the clouds are
Bleeding smoke and ash
And the sun is a brilliant
Vermilion splash.

Each little star that emerges
Is a thought for you.
The birds and their pale dirges
Remind me of voices and moments.
The thought of time
Brings to mind your face
Epitome of line
And colour, designed to

Tantalise my spirit.

The thought of time tells me
All good things must draw to a close -
So too will our days together,
Like an aged and ripe rose.

Description in Writing


Description can be the writer’s bane, and it’s awfully hard to decide exactly how much is needed to get across what you are seeing. Of course, it is never fully necessary that the reader has exactly the same mental picture as you. But the author must get certain details across for the scene to make sense.

While the descriptions of some authors are enchanting, others are merely a turn-off, where the level detail to seems to disproportionate to the level of action. Other times, the description doesn’t appear to match the genre – it’s too much for a child’s book, or it’s too little for a young adult’s novel.

How much is enough, and how should it be used? The following article explores these questions in full.

The Gift of Music


It’s strange how often we take it for granted. We write and write, and we consider other sources of inspiration more important – going to a museum, travel, scenery, books … when music is just as important, if not more, than some of those.
Music enables the writer to create an atmosphere in which they can immerse themselves to work. It helps the writer enter quickly into their world, where they invent. It prevents distractions that can be caused by other sounds. It gives a background for invention.
As a young music teacher, music has always played an important role in my life. But I can honestly say that if I wasn’t a music teacher, I would still be listening to a varied collection of music for my writing. Without music, I don’t write. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s a link to some great music.

The Looking-Glass House Preview

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From a fellow author, about a great new book:

Originally posted on russellproctor:

Since the release date of my novel The Red King has been announced (2 December if you missed it) I’ve been hard at work on the other books of the series. Together the three books relate the adventures of Alice Liddell (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and Dorothy Gale (from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz) as they fight supernatural forces in Edwardian London. Actually, the third book, The Looking-Glass House, is set in World War One. I thought today I would give you an excerpt from that Work In Progress.

Release dates for all three books of the series are as follows:

The Red King: 2 December 2014

An Unkindness of Ravens: 1 December 2015

The Looking-Glass House: 6 December 2016.

All are to be published by Permuted Press.

Here’s the extract:


A drop falls from an oar blade, splashes a coronet of tiny…

View original 782 more words

Light of Perfection


In 2344 I was passenger to Utopia, removed from Earth because of the atrocities being committed there. Blood had become as common as water. People even drank it. But I had killed the one friend I’d ever known: Peter, a soft-hearted teenager with pale skin and a smile like the sun. I’d known him for three years before the inferno I had abandoned him in. I hadn’t known a man could change when all around him was black. I hadn’t realized how black the soul was.
It didn’t matter anymore. In Utopia, they wiped your memory clean so that past horrors couldn’t plague you, so that past acquaintances couldn’t haunt you. In Utopia, they changed your face, your shape, your hair, so that there were no differences which created the common friction between men… Everyone looked exactly like everyone else and you could start again. This was labelled ‘perfection’. I thought of all the characterless people living on the planet I was approaching… It didn’t bother me. I had grown to hate the world I lived in. I had grown to hate life. If oblivion was perfection, so let it be.
I leaned against the edge of the sphere spacecraft I was travelling in. The peninsula called Utopia was on Perfictio, a planet that they had discovered a decade ago… Utopia had been founded two years after that, but only the young people had been able to go. I was one of the few privileged teenagers on my way to perfection.
The artificial membrane they had created around Utopia made it feel air-conditioned and blocked alien ideas from people’s identical brains in order to maintain peace. Or so I was told. I watched the stars flicker past the curving glass wall I leaned against. They scintillated as if they could solve the problem that everyone knew but no one could name.
I didn’t care about that either.
The sphere spacecraft twisted in another direction altogether. I watched the digits appearing in the rectangular screen on the rounded front panel of glass. Any second now… I heard a voice crackle through the intercom and balloon in the circular space of the glass ball I was in.
“Utopia – fast approaching Utopia. Prepare for landing.”
I sat down on the glass floor of the spacecraft. From beneath me, a transparent strap slid out of the thick layer of glass which composed the floor. It wound around my waist and clicked on my left, indicating security.
The glass ball tipped and hurtled downward through a cloud of smoky blue gas in the black oblivion of space… I saw a membrane of white web on the cracked red surface of the planet beneath the clouds. The glass ball pelted through the membrane, and I turned back in my ‘seat’ to see the tendrils of web repairing the hole my spacecraft had created.
The ball landed in a crater within the membrane with a teeth-shattering jerk. My pulse throbbed until it returned to its regular tempo.
The membrane extended for kilometres, and I saw peaked white buildings within it. There were no shadows. Silky, winding roads snaked their way through Utopia and a variety of vehicles hovered above them. People glided along the roads. They were all blonde with blue eyes and pale skin… it reminded me terribly of Peter. I could hear the babble of their meaningless conversation as the spacecraft cracked and disintegrated around me.
The only one who was different stood just outside the shards of my spacecraft: a strange old man in a white coat. His grey hair was fuzzy and stuck out at odd angles. He wore glasses framed with heavy black metal. In his raised hand was a white rod with a pale yellow light at the end.
“I only have to press the button on this rod once,” he said, “And the light will pass over you. Then you can start again in the perfect world. Are you ready?”
And then it happened: a million doubts flashed through my mind, though I had once been so sure. Could he change the hopelessness in me? The despair and disaster that had driven me away from Peter during the blaze? Could he change the parasitic hate in me? Could a man change a man… with a single flash of a light? My heart pounded as oblivion waited to consume me, because a man can’t learn from the past unless he has memories – he cannot believe unless he has a mind – and he cannot live if he does not believe –
Feeling like I was suffocating, I opened my mouth to say I was reconsidering –
He pressed the button…