The first fiction session last night and a shock to the Belcher system…(unecessary elipsis there) asI am not a practicing fiction writer. The samples (vignettes, prose poems) I offered for appraisal were three very old items that I happened to have. ( ellipsis attempted but stopped mid-dot….!)

I quickly understood that writing fiction feels very different to poetry…( second uneccessary elipsis).Maura Dooley’s ‘different bus’ comment from the Seren ‘How Novelists Work’ book rang true.I took heart from a John Harvey chapter in the book where he said that he used to ‘fly off the handle and over-react’ to start with when edited but learnt to live and appreciate it and shows examples. I did not have any sulky moments and the round-table criticism was careful and appreciated. I hope I gave equally good comments back.


Maura Dooley Ed. How Novelists Work – Recommended

Because of the time lag between the examples it is hard to say why certain things are at fault. The David Belbin cardinal sin of using ‘as’ I simply never been told about before so that should be easy to correct as is ‘just'(note second deliberate use of as there hopefully correctly.(Smillie removed) These are basic errors that I need to learn and stamp out. Also The most basic of all is a lack of full stops but this may be a hangover from free verse poetry where frankly I hardly ever use punctuation. The same applies to commas so I getting my ‘Oxford Guide to Style’ out and keeping by the desk at all times. (Smillie removed)

Finally there is and perhaps a bigger worry and one that my friend Mik Godley would be more than happy to see eradicated. I have spent a long time online and have picked up a lot of bad habits and lazy text-speak mannerisms. Short-hand thinking not good enough any more. A lot of this from pure lack of time and I do not have that excuse any more so self-editing and replacing missing words starts now. Even writing a ‘blog’ entry of five hundred words better than filling a text box on a social media site with garbage so I will concentrate more on entries here which acting as a reflective journal and creative diary.

I have deliberately marked up mistakes in the above text in green or by strikethroughs to remind myself to think before writing NOT afterwards which would save me a great deal of time in the future. I have spent time improving my ‘academic’ style and can cope with academic papers now but this a different type of fish…I actually hope people will read this. (Smillie removed). 



OLS= over long sentences

NO full stops

ellipsis overkill

REDUND =redundant words/ repetitions.

AS = too many- delete

JUST- just-isms.

Also – not at start of sentence = redundant.

Adverbs – like ‘frankly’ redundant


Here links to the original unedited fragments. I will over the rest of the week re-edit them into newer versions and post links next to original links. I doubt if any will make it off the first page in future but never say never. As David said concentrate on some new stuff and I have an idea and a title ….it is a start.

One was an intro introduction to a failed ‘Great British Rural Novel’ which got to staggered to ten pages in 1990 before going in the draw.
Crow in Barley

Crow in Barley Edited

The second was a strange historical snippet inspired by a true account of a landowner in Oxfordshire and his pet monkey and also inspired by Nick Cave songs. 2003.
Chalkfish and Monkey

Chalkfish and Monkey edited

The third was an aborted first draft of a non-existant Trailer Star movie or graphic novel. 2003.
Moon over the Downs

Moon over the Downs edited