The Three B’s: Bios , Blogs and Blue Pencil with Maggie Bolton and Janice Johnston

Janice + Maggie

Tonight we were pleased to welcome two home- grown experts from A.W.C. to share their knowledge and experience.
Maggie started the session by outlining the uses and essentials in an author’s biography. Brevity was the key, 25- 250 words; always keep it interesting and relevant but above all keep it factual (no lies please or embroidering the truth – think of those interviews on ‘The Apprentice’). A little levity might be possible but only where appropriate. Keep it fresh by up-dating regularly whether it’s for use in submission letters, website or authors blurb.
Blogging is an opportunity to try out your writing, to raise your profile and to be disciplined. Think of it as a friendly chat over a cuppa. Try to post regularly to maintain interest and keep your potential followers. Have a look at what’s out there e.g. Rosie Rowan, Romy Gemmell, our own Michael Malone to get a feel for different styles or for what interests you. If you don’t want to set up your own blog, it’s possible to join a group you enjoy or guest blog.
Blue pencil
Janice gave us the insiders’ guide to editing with a plethora of hints and tips.
She suggested working with a friend or group when editing but your initial edit can be improved by following these key points:
• Check the story or article makes sense
• Verify any facts carefully
• Does it start where you want it to?(Taking out the first paragraph may create a better piece)
• Have you used all five senses?
• Is there conflict and resolution?
• Watch for consistency in tense, viewpoint, name changes (watch out for the rogue name being missed which can be confusing for the reader)
Janice also recommended New Hart’s Rules as a grammatical guide and suggested several ways to spots errors: Read from bottom to top of page, change font size, use a different colour /size of paper.

Janice and Maggie’s blog workshop, an eye-opener for the first time blogger. We all separated into wee groups and came up with some great inspirational snippets. We also covered editing from a different perspective. In all a great night for z little grey matter! (Chris Gilbert)
The workshop also included the chance to create our own Bio and possible blog which led to considerable mirth.
“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” – Patricia Fuller
Thank you Maggie and Janice for making our evening so interesting and fun and for ensuring we’re always decent.

18th March 2015

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