Firstly, a mini-success to report: I was shortlisted (top 10) in the Sophie King short story prize and my story (‘The Taste of Love’) will be appearing in an anthology! (watch this space)
I’m now back from my jaunt to Germany and had a great time.
There are several things that the Germans do much better than us (and I’m not just saying this because Michaela, my German friend, will be tuning-in!).
They are, imo and in no particular order:
• Public Transport (painless, efficient, plentiful, ON TIME!)
• Rivers (have you seen the Rhine? It’s HUGE!)
Er, yes, there is a bit of a food-and-drink theme there, I know! (I decided, after our first round of ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’, that we were on a ‘gastronomic break’ and that soon absolved me of any guilt).
And I DID find a German hero (see last post, re. lack of German heroes!), namely: Ludwig van Beethoven! (I rather like that picture of him – very ‘Heathcliff’, don’t you think?)
Beethoven was born in Bonn, so we visited his birthplace while we were there. He was something of a ‘Charles Dickens’ of a composer, in terms of output, at least. He wrote 9 symphonies, 9 concertos, 16 string quartets, 32 piano sonatas, two hefty Mass settings, a selection of chamber works and an opera. No mean feat, especially when you consider he was almost completely deaf by the age of 32.
Here’s symphony no.7, as featured in the film ‘The King’s Speech’. Sadly, I am not musical and I’m something of a heathen when it comes to classical music but I think this is beautiful.
Review: 100 Great First Lines (by Linda Lewis)
Short story writer (and VNP: very nice person), Linda Lewis, who also sometimes writes as ‘Catherine Howard’ has kindly sent me a copy of her latest book, ‘100 Great First Lines’.
I was going to buy it but she insisted on sending it to me as a gift, so I’m going to tell you all about it here.
It’s a very original idea (and that’s one of things that Linda’s very good at: IDEAS!)
It contains, as you might have guessed from the title, 100 first lines and they’re all ‘successful’ first lines: they’ve come from some of the hundreds of stories that Linda’s had published or they’ve won competitions.
Part two of the book (and I had to try to resist devouring it in one sitting!) is even more interesting, as Linda then reveals not only the title of each story but how the story developed from that opening line – right up to and including, the ending.
I think the best way to use the book is to find a first line that appeals to you and write on from that and only look to see what Linda did with the story, after you’ve written your own version.
It’s very generous information (in fact, to be honest, I was almost tempted to keep this book all to myself!) and for anyone wanting to write for the women’s magazines and perhaps struggling to get a foot in the door (I know all about that!), then this could be just what you need to give you that ‘light bulb moment’ and a gentle nudge in the right direction!
If you’re interested in buying a copy, you can do so via Linda’s website here.