Cut-up Results (and mini competition)

Here a while back I mentioned a great idea Tess Grantham turned me on to – where you randomly select words from books as a way to challenge yourself in starting a story.

So, here, in order, are the references and words:

pg171, line 21, word 8
pg233, line 1, word 6
pg121, line 16, word 3
pg43, line 12, word 8

Later on I’ll post the results of my brainstorm, but in the meantime, if anyone thinks they can be first to discover all 4 books these words are drawn from, and post the answer in the comments here, I’ll send them a copy of my latest poetry collection between giants!)

2013-08-11 15.46.08 2013-08-11 15.44.23 2013-08-11 15.42.51 2013-08-11 15.40.35And to see how Tess does the exercise (properly I might add!) have a look here. Fascinating to see her take the words and roll them into lines, ideas and possibilities!

Brilliant Post on Designing your own Covers!

A member of my writing group, Tess Grantham, has done an excellent post on DIY covers. Well worth a read if you’re interested in design, books or working on your own cover.

And we all know it by now – we do judge a book by it’s cover.

Feel free to drop off some links to your favourite cover designs in the comments – here’s two of mine, one for the illustration & font, and one for the expectations it establishes in the mind:

Story Starter

If you’ve ever felt stuck on starting a story or poem, then here’s an idea that’s somewhat similar to the cut-up technique popularised by the Beats, but basically more fun! You’ll need a bookshelf for starters, and the rest is left to fate.

scissorsHave a look at the awesome idea, which Tess Grantham showed me recently. I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while actually, check it out here. I’ll be posting my own attempt soon.

Scribophile – a Writing Group

I’ve been meaning to post about a great online writer’s group for a long time now, but keep forgetting. It’s called Scribophile, and if you’re isloated from other writers – it’s a brilliant place.

However – one of my critique partners CJ has actually written a much better post than what I’d come up with, so have a look. Scribophile has really helped my fiction writing, and better – it introduced me to my awesome critique partners, CJ, RM and Tess!



Tintin & Tess – a series of favourites, reflections and responses to Tintin by guest bloggers


One of my fondest memories is discovering Tintin for the first time in a very dark corner of an empty high school library in West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.

It wasn’t my school—I was seven or eight at the time. The library was empty because it was a Sunday, and it was dark because the school’s generator had broken down. I was there because my father was fixing that generator.

He often took me with him when he attended jobs in interesting places; I don’t know if it’s because he wanted my company, or because he wanted me to see interesting places. Maybe it was both. Or maybe it’s because I was pretty low maintenance for a kid: give me a corner full of books, and I’d be happy for hours.

As I traipsed about an Egyptian tomb with Tintin and Snowy, delving ever deeper into their wonderful cloak and dagger world in that hushed, darkened corner of the library, my father was somewhere on campus, up to his elbows in engine ichor.

For some reason, that thought has always made me smile.




Tess Grantham is a British fiction writer living in Papua New Guinea with her husband and kids – visit her here!