Course at MMU
Metropolitan University. I attended a two day playwriting course there this
week. We also dabbled in some virtual reality
and wrote a few short stories. This was held at the Writing School, now housed
in what used to be The Corner House (now moved to Home) but soon to move to a
brand new building. The room we worked in was cold but it had a delightfully high
ceiling. I’m told this aids creativity. Certainly ideas flew around and the
critiques were helpful. I managed to write most of a twenty-minute play script,
first draft, and I’ve also almost got the first draft of four short stories.
The course director has said he will read and critique our completed play
scripts if we send them to him. I shall certainly
send him mine.
News about my writing
I’m still working 240 X 70, Peace Child 4 (The House of
Clementine) and Not Just Fluffy Bunnies, my non-fiction text
about the darker side of children’s literature. I’m also now spending quite a
bit of time working on the book of 366 writing prompts. I’m going to give this
book to all the people who have contributed to it and to all the people I’ve
published. I’m confident I’ll get it finished in time for Christmas. Would you like
to contribute? Do you have any writing prompts?
Here are a few examples
of the sort of thing:
5 February Birth Choices?
The body is an amazing thing, but older women are
at risk in childbirth of having babies with health problems. Can you tell a
tale of the effects of older women having children may bring? Highlight the
positives and the change in mindset your character will go through. Maybe a
highflying business woman who didn’t employ people with disabilities suddenly
realises they have the same dreams as us to have successful careers, when she
gives birth to a disabled child late in life.
6 February Story Cubes
Try out the APP
Story Cubes. At the time of writing it
But if you don’t
want to buy I’ve “rolled my dice” for you.
I got: a cat, a fountain, an L plate, a book, an apple, someone sleeping
and an open eye. Pick at least three to build into your story
say it with chocolate 🍫? Write a chocolate tale with a
twist. Remember, Chocolate can be Dark, Milk or White? What shade will your
18 February 2019 Drink
As today is Drink
Wine Day write a short story where a glass or a bottle of wine is the catalyst
to something going well or badly.
19 February 2019 The
Two people meet on
a bridge. One hands the other a mysterious package. Who are the people? What is in the
package? What will happen next?
the book will also be available on Amazon as an e-book and all contributors
will get a pro-rata 50% share of net sales. If you have ideas, send them to me.
On the short story
front I’ve written Theme Park, about
an older lady spending a birthday at a theme park, Setting the Right Tone about how a teacher’s stress is alleviated
when she helps the music teacher with the choir and On The Island, a spooky story about a couple of tourists trapped on
My short story collection
Other Ways of Being is now out. You
can find it on Amazon here.
books for children
I’ve added two
books in October:
- The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas
by David Almond, suitable
for Key Stage 2, fluent readers. It
is quite quirky and as usual David Almond is a great story teller.
- The Boy at the Top of the
Mountain by John
Boyne This is the story of a young boy who
goes to live at the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain top retreat, and who becomes
a Nazi. I have a few problems with this book, just as I did with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Who should the reader actually be?
Current reading recommendation
Despite my comments
above about John Boyne’s book above, this is the one I’m recommending this
month, perhaps because I welcome other views on what I consider controversial.
I found it a fascinating and a relatively quick read in any case, despite my
It is difficult to really pinpoint a reader. Pierrot is
seven at the beginning of the story and at the end we see Pierrot / Pieter as a
gown man. Before the epilogue he is
eighteen and wears a soldier’s uniform but isn’t ever involved in active
combat. There is a scene near the end of the story where he almost rapes the
girl he would like to have as a girlfriend.
Yet this would not be too startling for the younger reader as the scene
is quite subtle. Clearer is his sense of entitlement that his Nazi upbringing
Adults reading the text know what is happening. Boyne writes
very much form Pierrot’s / Pieter’s point of view and we see everything through
an innocent boy’s eyes. When he is transcribing for Hitler what some important
Nazi figures discuss in a meeting, he queries why the showers in the new camps
will not have water. However, once we get to the end of the story Pieter refers
to Buchenwald, Dachau, Auschwitz and the Geneva Convention as though the
readers would perfectly understand this.
This month I’m
giving away a PDF of my short story collection Our Daily Bread. This seems to have disappeared from Amazon so I
shall republish it there, perhaps under a different title, in the not too
Get your free PDF and lots of other goodies here.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage sell for anything from £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about
£2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our
writers to make a living. But I’m offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally I welcome reviews.
The Schellberg Project
The posts may be helpful for teachers who are familiar with
the Schellberg stories or who are teaching about the Holocaust.
This month I’ve added posts about Hani Gődde: about her childhood
in Germany and about the BDM.
I’m still promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street
project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a
board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your
own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a
full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some
freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and
halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel
expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site
that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added
in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation.
This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle
visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go
specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that
will follow the footsteps of Clara
I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via
my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my
I offer as well standard author visits which include
readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation
if you can’t afford the full price.
Some notes about my newsletters and
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they
Bridge House Authors
For all those published by Bridge House, CaféLit,
Chapeltown or The Red Telephone or interested in being published by us. General
news about the imprints. News for writers. Links to book performance. Sign up here.
News about our books. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project
News about the project and CaféLit –
for the consumer rather than for the producer.
Sign up here.
News about my writing, The Schellberg Project, School
Visits and Events. Find it here.
Opportunities List Remember I
keep a full list of vetted opportunities on my writing blog. See them here. New ones
are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and take
out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If you
would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher
News about conferences and
workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here
Red Telephone Books
News about our books and our authors. Sign
A Publisher’s Perspective
Here I blog as a publisher. Access
The Creative Café Project
Listings and reviews of creative
cafés. See them her
Find these here
Gill James Writer
All about writing and about my books. View
Gill’s Recommended Reads
Find information here
about books that have
taken me out of my editor’s head.
Gill’s Sample Fiction
Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street
All about my Schellberg project.
Read it here.
All about teaching creative writing.
Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.
Books Books Books
Weekly offers on our books and news of new
books. Find them here.
Happy reading and