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Ian Rivedon

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About Ian Rivedon

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    Listening to owls, and other music.
  • Occupation
    Writer, and occasional engineer.
  1. Glad to hear it. I don't live in Sheffield any more, and don't visit as often as I would like. However, I used to be a regular in both The Bull and The Crown at Totley, and hope that both manage to continue to trade successfully.
  2. I'm sorry to hear that the 'Bull' is going down the pan, I had my stag night there! However, we are all in the midst of a slow, but radical socio-behavioural demographic change that we can do little to influence. Pubs, as we knew them, are finished. If what were good pubs, like the Bull and the Crown at Totley, can't handle the change, then most others are doomed, too. Sorry, but only customers can halt the inevitable! Rivedonian
  3. Andy, There's another very important consideration that I recently became aware of. As part of my course, we have regular 'visiting' lectures from people within the publishing industry, advising upon how to get published. A recent lecture by literary agent from the firm Corville & Walsh was very illuminating, because someone asked about the optimum length of a first submission. her response was ( and I paraphrase) that if your manuscript is longer than about 120,000 words, then your chances of it being read by whatever agency that you submit it to are about nil. She minced no words, and said that even submitting a modern 'War & Peace', as an unknown writer, was a complete waste of time. You may already know this, but I didn't. IR
  4. Andy, Had the same idea myself. Have you checked out the Kindle option? I registered some time ago in the expectation of publishing. It looks really easy, and your work becomes available on Amazon. I haven't used it yet because my university study has compromised things a little. Maybe other SWG members can add to this? IR
  5. Allo1010 I admire adventure. I wish I could be more adventurous than I am. I would love to have the bravery to challenge the status quo, but unfortunately I am a coward. Unlike me, however, Allo1010 is brave enough to explore literary concepts that other, meeker beings can only shake their heads in disbelief. Well done Allo1010, a masterpiece of invention. Lady Agatha As an ardent follower of George Orwell, I admire any writer with the bravado to say what needs to be said, and nothing more. In general, Orwell’s opinion was that that any sentence, or paragraph that could be shortened, should be shortened. Lady Agatha’s short story says exactly what it needs to say, with not a word wasted. In doing so, the character is so acutely defined that she actively repulsed me. Good writing. Greg2 I think that the 500-word SWG limit poses quite a significant challenge upon writers in defining scene, character, or plot. Greg2 managed to achieve all of these in a delightful story that I enjoyed reading, and enjoy re-reading. De Batz As usual, De Batz has submitted a wonderful piece that demonstrates a literary and historical mastery beyond doubt. That anyone would go to such lengths in contributing to the monthly competition is an indication of how good the standard of writing generally is. LFT1 This was a really good story that grabbed me from the first sentence. The seemingly insidious subterfuge really had my mind working overtime, and the ending left me stunned, to say the least. I needed to take a few minutes to take in the ending. A very good story. There’s only one winner, unfortunately, but that is the way of competitions. Lady Agatha wins this month, because her story is so neat and precise. The characterisation, with the use of virtually no adjectives, and so few words is just very, very good. Well done. My good wishes to all the other participants. Three cheers to you all!
  6. I'm cogitating already, and results should be posted during tomorrow. IR
  7. De Batz, Exceptionally well written, and not as impenetrable as you seem to think. I enjoyed it as a standalone piece, though it seems as if it might be part of a larger work. I like the narrative form, which is reminiscent of the 'Walled City' narrative in Haruki Murakami's 'Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World'. It is quality writing, but just one very small point. In the 20th line of text, the pupil says “I do not remember-”. Is the hyphen intentional, rather than an ellipsis? IR
  8. Yes, we did a similar exercise, and very interesting it was, too. The strange thing is, I've read loads of creative writing books, which usually have similar exercises at the end of chapters. I tried doing a couple and found them irksome. When in a formal class, doing the same exercises with others, it is very stimulating and useful. Moral is—forget books, attend creative writing classes! IR
  9. Ron, The speed at which I write, currently, is part of the learning process at university where I am being encouraged to avoid excessive revision. Additionally, I recently read Jack Kerouac's On The Road, which I thought was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I have ordered more of his books, and have also carried out quite a bit of research on Kerouac himself. As you may already be aware, Kerouac was the chief proponent of 'Spontaneous Prose', and he—reputedly—never revised anything once he had committed it to paper. He defined his technique in a list of thirty intriguing rules, which can be found here: http://onr.com/user/icyo/rules/rules.htm. The rules provide an insight into the man. Quite a character, and a stunningly brilliant writer, too. I'm trying to follow the thirty rules, but I admit to struggling with a few of them! IR
  10. Greg2, Thank you so much! I am really on cloud nine after an experimental 'punt' with my piece has achieved the objective. I have been trying recently to write in a more direct style, with little, or even no revision or editing. I wrote Just Desserts in little more than ten minutes and then resisted the temptation to change anything beyond obvious grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. I have proven a very valuable point to myself, and I am grateful to you for your choice. I would also like to say to the other contributors that I enjoyed all their pieces, too. I think the high standard of writing in the monthly competition provides an excellent challenge, and I hope that participant numbers increase during 2012. Best wishes, IR
  11. Allo1010, No, I don't attend Sheffield Hallam. I haven't lived in Sheffield for several years. IR
  12. The last post! For tonight anyway. I have met a few people recently who are similarly disenchanted with their successful writing careers. They all seem to be involved in journalism. Not exclusively news, even feature writing, it seems, can be a pain in the neck, just like any job. However, there are two ways to look at it: Which is more preferable, being a work-at-home feature writer earning 40K, or a plumber earning the same? The other is, if you were a brilliant artist and loved painting, would you do anything else in life? I am indeed as senior as you imagine. I think I wrote in a previous post that I am in my sixth decade. I have had a relatively successful career in the IT business, but left school with no qualifications whatsoever. I have been given the opportunity to study at university, and I cannot say how lucky I feel to be able to do so. The thing is, I knew that I was good at writing when I was at school, but no one else seemed to recognise it. English was by far my best subject, but I was never given any encouragement. I grew to hate school and left as soon as I could, but even though I did have a good, well-paid career, I would rather have been a relatively poorer paid journalist. Having said that, I would much rather still have been a penniless writer of great works of fiction and commentary, living a typically bohemian life, like my literary hero, George Orwell. It's getting late. I hope I write sense, because I haven't read through it. Merry Christmas to you, and your (young) family. IR
  13. Blimey, that was a quick response! But it shows how sincere you are, and yes, 'literarature' is symptomatic of just one glass of Pinot Grigio too many. I started writing when I just got the urge when working at home one day three years ago. I looked out of the window, saw something that stirred my imagination, and started to write. That was it! That writing became a 300,000 word novel, which I submitted it to an agent in London, but she rejected it. I can see now why she did. I haven't worked on the novel since the rejection, but since the vacation commenced last week I have cut 55,000 words out of the existing draft. I removed a whole section that I realised was total 'vanity', and which made the novel unpublishable. I'm currently spending each day re-writing the remainder. I am still on chapter 1. I want to finish the novel just to have a completed major work, but I am continuing with it in the acceptance that it will undoubtedly never be published. My goal is to complete the re-write within the current vacation, and then to clear my mind for the tasks ahead. University is helping me to identify where my strengths lie, so my future writing will be exclusively short stories, converting my bursts of imagination, hopefully, into good, readable prose. I think the skill in creating a successful piece of work, whether a short story or a novel, is in creating a good beginning and end. In particular, the first chapter, first paragraph, even first sentence are absolutely critical.I know that the term 'practise makes perfect' is a valid one, and I want to concentrate upon what I find most difficult. I want to be able to write an opening sentence like George Orwell's in 1984, or Jane Austen's in Pride and Prejudice. IR
  14. I'm doing English Liit. & Creative Writing as an undergraduate. It is THE best decision I have ever made. There are, already, potential developments as a result of this, but I can't elaborate at the moment. I have read countless 'How to Become a Writer' books, and most are a waste of time. I love what I'm doing at university, and it has changed my life. The willingness of my tutor to read, and positively criticise one's (even non-course) work is amazingly confidence-boosting. I don't worry about making a living from writing. I just want to write, the more, the better. Already, university has shown me that there are more ways than prose fiction of achieving success as a writer. IR
  15. Among new writers, a lack of confidence probably leads to over-revision in the pursuit of perfection. I think many good new writers underestimate their work and therefore revise it into turgidity. I know I do! I'm experimenting at the moment in committing my imagination to 'paper', and then adopting the mantra, 'publish and be damned'. One of the regular exercises at university is what my tutor calls 'free writing', the committing to paper of current thoughts whatever they might be. This is then read and discussed openly. Reservations soon diminish when it becomes apparent that every participant is equally embarrassed. The result is incredibly interesting and gestational. The tutor then asks us to exchange pieces and to try to re-write the 'partner's' piece to 'improve' it. I put inverted commas around improve because no improvement is ever made. The idea itself might occasionally be extended, but usually, the result is the inability of the revisor to advance the original. There are various benefits of this exercise, but the significant one, for me, is the realisation that an idea is relatively exclusive. Imagination is exclusive, and it is very difficult for others to attune themselves to another's thought process. It is relatively easy to re-write someone else's original idea, but very difficult to imagine like someone else, especially if they happen to have a vivid imagination. Like you, my writing to date has relied heavily upon dialogue, but too much dialogue doesn't work. Though humanity relies upon dialogue, in addition to talking we humans also see, hear, and think. Creative and fictional writing needs to reflect these other faculties, and that is what I am currently attempting to achieve. Even in writing this post I have resisted as much as possible ( except for spelling and obvious bad grammar) the urge to revise what I have written down initially. Revision is necessary, and I have written about this in my blog. However, it can also ruin good, original writing, and I think that it is better to write, and then let others criticise, before beginning the revision process. In conclusion, I agree, that the writing is the key, and that the idea might be the medium. However, without the idea, there can be no writing. Writing skill can be taught, but imagination cannot. I often ponder upon what famous historical figures, Hannibal for instance, might have become in different circumstances. One can only imagine what an original mind like his might have produced had he been able to devote it literarature. IR
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