Wednesday, 2 September 2020

September stuff

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. If you're an insecure writer you might like to join up here. I'd be very surprised to learn that anyone reading this blog has never felt insecure over their writing. Please let me know if you haven't – I like to be surprised.

This month's optional IWSG question is – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

I'm opting for Alexander McCall Smith. I love his writing, he's very prolific and successful, and he seems like a lovely man, so why wouldn't I want his advice? Getting to read his books at an early stage and gaining some insight into how he perfects them would be fantastic too.

There's another reason – I've been told that my writing is slightly similar to his. Mostly I think that's because our work is easy to read. Recently, when I mentioned this to writer friend Sheila Crosby, she said there's also 'a certain niceness' in the books of us both. It would be wonderful to be involved in a partnership which added to the niceness in the world.

Who, if anyone, do you think you write like?

For those who've read any of my work, do you think there's any similarity between my writing and that of Alexander McCall Smith – or any other author?

Free entry competition news

If you missed it, do have a look at Jane Bettany's guest post, explaining what happened to her after she entered one of the free competitions I blog about.

The Query Letter are running a book blurb competition, with a $500 prize. They don't want you to write the whole book, just a 100 word blurb.

Here's a limerick competition, with book tokens as the prize. I do like a good limerick, and everyone loves a book token, don't they?

Cash makes a good prize too, and that's what's on offer for the Commonwealth short story prize – £5,000!

My news

The first three chapters of my latest novel, a romance I've called Acting Like A Killer, have been sent off to a couple of publishers – and after months and months at home, I'll soon be away on a trip in the mobile writing retreat!


Captain Black said...

I think you've made an implicit assumption here, that's not necessarily correct: that authors make good beta readers. I'm not saying it's always incorrect either, but you have made this assumption without any particular justification.

If I were able to choose any author to be my beta reader, then I think I'd choose one who has a track record in teaching. For example, Della Galton who is both author and teacher.

Patsy said...

@ Captain Black, I agree that being an author doesn't guarantee a person will be a good beta reader (although I've been lucky in the respect and my author friends are excellent).

Even so, I have absolutely no doubt that, in the very unlikely event he became my beta partner, I could learn a great deal from Alexander McCall Smith(who does have a track record in teaching, though admittedly not as a writing teacher. The partnership would be very unequal, as the only advice I could give him is the same advice he offers to other writers – keep writing.

Julie Day said...

Good luck with the submissions.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That niceness is there because you are so nice!

joylene said...

Good point. I think nice is never overrated. I don't know who he is. I'm actually amazed today at how many of these choices I've never heard of. I suppose that's normal. Best of success with your queries. I love your travelling home.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Alexander McCall Smith is a good choice!

Love the mobile writer's retreat. I had something similar. It was called the bus. Since I've been working from home I don't have it anymore (not that I'm in a rush to get on public transit again).

Marguerite said...

I submitted the blurb competition yesterday - maybe an idea for a novel as it helps focus the mind???
I think they might be a touch pedantic but I would go with the Brontes as my beta readers.
I like your books, Patsy - they have a real feel-good about them :)

Elizabeth McGinty said...

Thanks as always for the info Patsy, and I can see why you can be compared to Alexander McCall Smith he is a great observer of people and it shows in both your character writing. My writing tutor compared me to Anne Donovan (Buddah Da amongst others). Incidently Alexander McCall Smith gave a fabulous interview at the recent Edinburgh Book Festival,which is still available online. Good Luck with submissions :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving the Evesham Festival of Words lockdown limerick competition a plug, Patsy! I am actually judging the shortlist for this (I'm not the main judge though). I can't be bribed!! But I'd love to see some more great entries - and you've got until Friday, so give it a go! (all entries are anonymous). It's open to anyone over the age of 12 so even if you don't fancy it, perhaps you have teenage children or grandchildren who'd like to have a go? From: Helen Yendall

Donna Hanton said...

Alistair McCall Smith is a great choice. I loved the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. And yes, the 'nice' gentle quality of such books is needed in these times.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency too. And awesome that you are submitting to publishers. Good luck!

New girl on the block said...

It would have to be Elena Ferrante, but given that her true identity is unknown, this could be challenging!

Sonia Dogra said...

Alexander McCall Smith. I just looked him up and I think I must get down to knowing a lot more writers. Thank you for adding those writing competitions every time.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Patsy! Your mobile writing looks wonderful! It's hard to be stuck at home for months and months. I keep meaning to read the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." How awesome to be compared with Alexander McCall Smith! Right now our world needs a gigantic infusion of niceness. So lovely to read in the comments that you are nice! Good luck with your writing!

J Lenni Dorner said...

A mobile writing retreat sounds lovely! I hope you enjoy it.

Lindsay said...

Good luck with the submission.

Patsy said...

@ Julie – thank you.

@ Alex – Aaaaw, thanks.

@ Joylene – Every time I see a list of favourite authors and realise I've not heard of some it cheers me up. All those great books just waiting for us to discover them!

@ C.D. Back in the days when I had a proper job and commute I found using public transport was good for my writing. I think maybe it's having a relatively short period of time, so we just have to get on with it.

@ Marguerite – That's a lovely thing to say about my books. I hope they leave people feeling happy/entertained.

@ Elizabeth – I'll see if I can find that interview.

@ Helen – I'm sure you'll have some fun entries to read.

@ Donna – That series is a lot of fun, but I like the Isabel Dalhousie ones even more.

@ Natalie – thank you.

@ New Girl – With face coverings and social distancing, she could stay anonymous!

@ Sonia – There are so many great writers it's not surprising we don't know them all.

@ Fundy – the mobile writing retreat is excellent! I've missed spending time in her.

@ J Lenni – I'm so lucky we have her.

@ Lindsay – thank you.

Damyanti said...

That mobile writing retreat looks amazing. Wouldn't mind one myself.

Damyanti at Daily (w)rite

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, that's a great choice! I read him for the first time this year, and would love to read more!