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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Editing and the Invisible Gorilla

Your book is now complete. You tell yourself that it is a masterpiece. So, why on earth do you need an editor? Isn’t that overkill? Surely the editor will only pick holes in your work and, possibly, expect you to rewrite whole sections?

I would like to show you why an editor is a critical part of the end-to-end process of producing a book and I would like to demonstrate why by citing the case of the Invisible Gorilla.

The Invisible Gorilla refers to an experiment that was run by two academics, Simons & Chabris, at Harvard University in 1999. This can be found on their website and is called the Original Selective Attention task. A group of individuals were asked to look at a video and count the number of passes that the basketball players, dressed in white, made to each other during the clip. Only at the end were they asked whether anyone had seen the gorilla. Surely, you think, the participants would see something that obvious. But, …

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The Rollercoaster Relationship I Have With My Writing

There was a girl and boy in the top year of my school that had been together since the last year of primary school. Everyone knew them, everyone was used to seeing them nuzzling each other’s necks, and equally as often, wringing them. One week they were in love, snuggled up on a bench, feeding each other crisps, giggling, whispering “I love you”, and the next, they’d be on opposite sides of the dining hall, glaring at one another, until one would storm off shouting “I hate you!” It was a cycle. Sulk, kiss, make up, declare love to world, disagree, scream, shout, declare hatred, and repeat. A rollercoaster, really, and the type of relationship my 13-year-old self vowed to avoid. And I did, very successfully... Until I decided I wanted to be a writer. While so far I may have managed to avoid a tumultuous love-hate relationship with another person, the truth is, I have one with everything I write, and everything I have ever written. In between the initial idea and submitting …

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Finding Words – A New Writing Initiative


Calling all young playwrights… 

 The Ashton Group is searching for a new stage play with which to tour the North West, professionally produced by its acclaimed Apprenticed Actors Company. 

The one act play should have a running time of 60 minutes.

The play should be written for four young actors: 2 male, 2 female. These four actors can play any number of different characters.  

 The writer should be no older than 25.

 The play can be upon any theme or subject.

 The Apprenticed Actors Company

 Selection Process:

 All writers should submit before the deadline below a synopsis including plot and character outline, and the first ten pages of their play. 

 Four writers will then be given the opportunity to expand their work into a full length piece with the support and guidance of a professional mentor.

 One of these plays will then be selected to go into development for production by the Apprenticed Actors Company.

 There is a prize …

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What An Editor Looks For In A Poem

The Great British Write Off

Here at The Great British Write Off, a competition designed to hep writers and poets showcase their work, we asked four of our editors what they look for in a poem. Keep this advice in mind when you're entering!

Jenni Bannister 

The first part of a poem to grab me will always be the rhythm. If a poem has a good flow, whether it’s fast, slow, gentle or punchy, it will always stand out. Read your poem aloud to see how it sounds, if there are any places where it loses its rhythm. 

 I find the length of a poem irrelevant. A three line haiku can be just as effective as a 50 line epic. However, if a poem isn’t compelling it can be easy to lose interest by line 30. You have to get me to care about your subject if you want me to stay with you for that long. 

Thirdly: surprise. I like a poem to surprise me. Whether it catches me off guard with its emotion, has a funny twist at the end or switches up the rhythm or rhyme for effect, anything that is away from the …

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The Right Ways To Monetise Your Content

Being a self-published or indie author is akin to running a small business; the problem is that some do not truly appreciate this fact. It’s easy to get embroiled in the creative process and then once this is finished to consider it ‘job done’. But this is only the start. And, as we will focus on in this two part blog, an often misunderstood but vital component within this small business to help maximise revenue streams and reach a wider audience is rights and licensing.

The reality is that monetising works can be difficult. Immediate obstacles appear to be marketing, PR and distribution - with all too many ignoring rights and licensing. And I don’t say this lightly. Our team have had all too many conversations with authors who:

  • a) Have no idea what rights and licensing actually means
  • b) Don’t know what rights they actually hold
  • c) Don’t realise how valuable they are
  • d) Fail to protect them, never mind monetise them

Not that it’s necessarily their fault. Historically, the …

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