Monday, June 20th, 2016
So grateful for this review from Caz Greenham, one of our very first authors. I loved reading her book and the series should be read by every child (and grown-ups) Eric is my very favourite Seagull. (Cherry Mosteshar).
I found Cherry (Cherry Mosteshar), at The Oxford Editors, to be extremely professional and helpful at all times. Nothing was too much trouble. I’m going back a few years now to a time before I became a published author. A time when I knew very little about writing and how to present my manuscript. Cherry Mosteshar was a huge help and I would recommend their services to any writer just starting out and with little knowledge. I was that person back then, and I learnt so much. Hard work pays off, and to succeed we need to never give up our dream. My reward is that I’m no longer that novice who knew very little about the writing world…I accepted and took on board all the advice and help Cherry gave. I recommend The Oxford Editors to any would be writer starting out –
Caz Greenham author of The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ series.
You must watch her video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSFMBvPZKeg. This is how authors need to promote their books. Don’t be sky to get the book out there by every means possible.
Monday, June 20th, 2016
I used the Oxford Editors for a manuscript assessment. I had to borrow the funds for this on a credit card so I prayed I was in good hands, and not wasting my money. The report I received back from the company was really good. Not good in being complimentary, but more in honesty which is what I wanted. Though they did give me some positive feedback also. Initially I had thought my book was ready for the next stages, but the assessment made me rethink the book in general. It pointed out a few things that needed clarification that I had not done. I have since relooked over the whole manuscript, and taken the advice the company gave me. I now feel a lot more confident about pushing my book to the next stage. Therefore I feel that the report was worth every penny. The communications between myself and Cherry Mosteshar were also very helpful. I cannot give a comparison of their services against other companies but I can say I was happy with the service they provided me with.
Comment from Cherry Mosteshar
I loved Stephanie’s book and she was a pleasure to work with,
Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
By Charlotte Green
In his essay Why I write, George Orwell tells his readers that inside each writer there are four motivating factors. Every writer possesses all factors concurrently but to varying degrees. The factors are:
The desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death.
The perception of beauty. Either of the external world or of the written word. A desire to share that beauty with others.
A need to find and present the truth to leave it for posterity.
Here Orwell uses the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. For him it is the desire or need to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.
For Orwell the reason these factors vary lies not in the temperament or character of the author, but in the time in which he or she lives. Offering himself as an example, Orwell tells his reader that his own background forced his writing in the direction of politics, despite the first three factors affecting him more deeply. He writes:
Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.
Orwell goes on to say that for him, political writing became an art form in itself. He combined his need for aesthetic beauty, his desire to leave something of his current age to history, and his compulsion to speak out against totalitarianism, in order to enlighten society and force entire nations towards democracy. He writes:
What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience.
For me, the key sentence here is if it were not also an aesthetic experience. It is Orwell’s desire to combine politics and art that makes his books last. I doubt that pamphlets on the latest EU referendum will make it into libraries or onto GCSE reading lists for years to come, but Orwell’s books will. In this age of digital publishing where it is so easy to get your views heard, is the aesthetic nature of writing still of importance? Or have ego and political purpose won out? In a time when every man, woman, or child with access to the internet can write a blog or tweet about current events instantly, has writing lost its creativity in favour of reporting news?
American short story writer Flannery O’Connor once wrote that the “financial rewards for sorry writing are much greater than those for good writing” and to be fair, she has a point. The nature of writing these days seems to be instant gratification rather than lasting beauty. I heard an author speak yesterday at my local library who told his audience with glee that he published six books a year and had sold over 2 million copies of his 61 books. Is that a good thing? Up until the year before her death, Harper Lee had only ever published one book and had remained silent on that fact her entire life, rarely consenting to give interviews. I imagine the man I met yesterday could only dream of her sales.
At the end of the day it is the world in which we live that dictates who and what we appreciate. It is a rare author indeed who can live by his pen, writing no longer paying what it did. But, for those few who have that rare quality, talent, I beg of you keep writing, and write beautifully, so that art may continue to breathe within your words.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
By Charlotte Green
Ted Solotaroff, editor of the New American Review, once wrote that rejection is as much a part of a writer’s life as snow and cold are of an Eskimo’s. He’s right. If the British Library’s new online collection Discovering Literature shows us anything, it is that even the greatest writers are rejected. TS Elliot once rejected George Orwell’s Animal Farm, writing that it needed ‘more public-spirited pigs’.
To an inexperienced writer, a year or two of regular rejection letters can lead to what is known as self-distrust, that is a lack of self confidence; an inability to trust your writing and editing skills; a lack of faith in the writing process. Essentially, those writers who suffer from self-distrust will not allow themselves to write badly.
In any other profession it would be expected that the early stages of a task would be messy, so why do writers expect beautiful prose from the outset? Ernest Hemingway’s famous line The first draft is always shit is pinned to most writer’s corkboards, but why do so few believe it? It is because on finishing their first draft, the inexperienced writer moves immediately from creating to judging. They do not allow time to edit. Instead, they read and judge, inevitably feeling disheartened and eventually pressing delete, rejecting every word they have written. If they do value something of their work, enough to send it out to an agent, the inevitable rejection letter only leads to an added sense of self-distrust. For those writers, self distrust becomes so crippling that it leads to anxiety and depression. From there the writer becomes defensive and rather than being excited come a writing session, they are instead afraid of the blank, white computer screen, seeing in it a reflection of their own limitations. After a time they won’t switch their computer on at all.
Experienced writers learn to separate the rejection of their writing and the rejection of themselves. They don’t allow criticism of the work to turn into self-criticism or self-distrust. In fact they use it. The anger and disappointment they feel at each rejection letter becomes a source of energy, forcing them on to improve their writing. They use their sorrow and self pity to improve their sense of empathy, deepening their character portrayals. And that wounded innocence they now possess? They convert it into irony, adding an element of tragi-comedy to their prose.
It is no exaggeration that how a writer copes with rejection determines whether or not they will go on to have a successful writing career. Rejection can so easily be turned into self-hatred. The best defence, therefore, is self-objectivity, an interest in the outside world, and a faith in the process. Write on. Write through the all-consuming doubts. And use that rejection to power yourself forwards towards your ultimate goal: the writing of perfection.
Saturday, June 11th, 2016
Love Madness Fishing, by Dexter Petley,
Published by Little Toller Books.
Dexter’s blog for waterstones: