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wait, what is kittenfishing? another online dating term we all have to be scared of. apparently.

So we’ve all heard of catfishing, right? Where a person pretends to be a totally different person on online dating websites and apps?

Well now, we have kittenfishing, because catfishing is judged as too harsh for those that only lie a little bit.

Kittenfishing is when you shave a few years off your real age or a few pounds off your profile photos in order to look more attractive.

Gotta be honest, I thought everyone did that? Why is Vogue allowed to use a bit of airbrushing but we can’t hide our double chins? 🤷🏼‍♀️ Apparently, it becomes kittenfishing when you look noticeably different when you turn up for your date. So now men don’t have to be accused of being shallow, they can just blame it on the woman kittenfishing …

ten ways you should be using twitter as a wannabe writer

I recently wrote a blog post on how to get started on social media but one of the most common questions I get is, “How should I be using twitter now I have an account?” There seem to be loads of posts out there on how published writers should be using their twitter account, but what about those of us still looking for an agent or publisher? Here are ten ways every wannabe writer should be tweeting to gain traction.

Image showing a screen with a twitter symbol and the am writing hashtag.

Eleanor St Clair’s Ten Tips for Twitter

Follow your favourite authors.

Okay, this first one might be a ‘duh’ point, but seriously, the number of wannabe writers that don’t follow authors is weird. Like, these people often give away advice, for free. Or post tweets about their cats. Both of which are awesome. You can also follow the people your favourite authors are following. They’re sure to be interesting.

Don’t follow celebrities that have nothing to do with the writing world.

If you really feel like you simply must keep up with the antics of Selena Gomez or Benedict Cumberbatch, get a personal Twitter account that is separate to your writing one. These people will never follow you back and as such are a wasted follow for you.

Use writing hashtags such as #amwriting and #amediting.  

Check out the other people who are in the same situation as you, are they tweeting anything useful, or even better, funny? There are more in-depth hashtags too, like #amwritingscifi.

Follow agents who might be interested in your book.

Apart from the fact that they might tweet about what sort of books they want to see, it also means that your name is a little familiar when you finally send your manuscript in.

Use lists.

Try making public lists of authors you admire, your real-world writing friends, people you met at writing events, Twitter accounts that post writing advice and the accounts you think everyone should follow. Private lists are good for adding literary agents you want to target and people you don’t want to follow. You could also create private lists of your direct competitors.

Participate in Twitter Chats.

If you can’t find one that interests you, you could always host your own? It’s a great way to make new friends and you might even pick up a few new followers.

Post your content to Twitter. 

If you don’t have your own blog, you could write blog posts on Medium or Tumblr, two platforms that allow you to start blogging with minimal setup.

Include a link to your author website.

If you don’t have one, create an About Me page so people can find out more about you. (Check out my friend Jay Millington’s for inspiration, it is pretty fantastic.)

Don’t follow and then unfollow again just to give people notifications.

It is really rude and Twitter might block you. So many authors do this to me, it drives me crazy! I call them mayfly follows – here today, gone tomorrow.

Try using Twitter in unexpected ways.

Some authors can provide inspiration for this, for example, Joanne Harris tells stories on Twitter using the hashtag #storytime. Haggard Hawks posts about obscure words. Maybe you could put a unique spin on something you see on Twitter?  Just don’t rip off another tweep’s idea completely, people won’t like you for it and you probably won’t do it as well as the original anyway.

you could always let the beebs set you up with a nice country boyfriend…

The BBC’s latest dating program, Love in the Countryside, will chronicle the love lives of eight country singletons. If you are looking for love out where the air is sweet and the grass is green, you could apply to date one of these lovely singles…

Rather than all the applicants being paired up with each other, you can apply to date one of eight rural singles. There are four men looking for women, three women looking for men and a man looking for a man. Because in the beebs eyes, this is a fair representation of the UK’s dating scene …

Love in the countryside will air on BBC2 and will be hosted by Sara Cox. BBC Two controller Patrick Holland said the show would be “really warm-hearted”.

words of the week – refocusing

A weekly feature where I present three weird and wonderful words on a particular theme or time of year.

This week I am refocusing on my goals and restructuring my priorities, so our first word is

Rue – Bitterly regret (something one has done or allowed to happen) and wish it undone.

What better time to refocus on your goals than when you rue an impetuous decision?

Actuate – make (someone) act in a particular way.

New focus and outlook on life can be actuated by rue.

and finally

Stalwart – marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind, or spirit.

One would hope that a person actuated towards new goals by rue would be stalwart in their outlook upon their new adventures.

 

this agency gives employees reimbursement for dating…

Alongside the traditional benefits Ideas X Machina in the Philipines provides for their staff, they also provide ‘love life’ benefits.

These include time off to recover from a breakup, subsidised eHarmony and Tinder accounts for staff, reimbursed date expenses up to six times a year and even shouldering the cost of employees wedding reception.

Their rationale is that dating encourages creativity by inspiring and motivating employees.

Yeah, I don’t see this coming t the UK anytime soon!

finding a good writing group – five questions to ask

Writing groups can be really great, or really really awful! I should know, I have belonged to several that fit into these categories! One of them kickstarted my writing career and was amazing for me at that stage, another only had one meeting before the entire thing fell apart. I am currently a member of one Transnational Creative writing group (which is the bee’s knees), one online writing group with some people from my MA in Creative Writing, who are now spread out across the world, and tonight I am going to a brand new writing group! Which I hope will become a regular thing!

So how do I choose a writing group? Here are the five questions I ask myself when I am looking for a critique group.

1.  Do they write the same sort of thing as you?

I have belonged to groups in the past that advertised as general writing groups but definitely had a preference for poetry. At the time this was great for me, it introduced me to the wonders of open mic nights, and I still regularly write poetry as a part of the Poetry Rehab 101 hashtag. But if you’re trying to get feedback on your novel and everyone else is reading performance poetry, you’re going to feel like a right tool reading 1000 words of prose. The group I am going to tonight are prose writers, they were set up a while ago but have just started advertising on Meetup, and from reading the bios of the other members, I see that many of them are working on novels.

But if you’re trying to get feedback on your novel and everyone else is reading performance poetry, you’re going to feel like a right tool reading 1000 words of prose.

The group I am going to tonight are prose writers, they were set up a while ago but have just started advertising on Meetup, and from reading the bios of the other members, I see that many of them are working on novels.

 

2. Do they read the work beforehand or will you be expected to read out loud?

There are advantages to both, but as I want to work on my novel, I want a group that will read the work before the meeting. However, my first ever writing group read work out loud and I learned that it is a great way to self-edit, as well as gaining confidence in a really important skill you will need as a writer.

The group I am going to meet tonight normally swap work beforehand, but as this is the first meeting with lots of new members, we are taking a short piece of prose to read out loud tonight.

 

3. How long has the writing group been meeting?

Again, pros and cons to both. If a group has been meeting for a long time and you are the newcomer, they will know each other’s work and will already have a routine. If it is a new group, there might not be a clear leader, there will be no ground rules, but they might be more open to suggestions.

startup-594090_1920

And two questions to ask on the night –

 

4. How experienced is everyone in this writing group?

Do they know what they are talking about, or is it a group of people all struggling together. It can be great to have friends to struggle with, and depending on the stage you are at, this could be all you need.

But if you are in the final stages of editing your novel, maybe you want some experienced collaborators who will tell you exactly why that third chapter isn’t working. If you are the most experienced, you may end up taking on a leadership role. Would you mind this?

Another point to bear in mind is that other people, if not as experienced, may not know how to give constructive feedback. A group with no constructive feedback is not a critique group.

 

5. Will I be able to get on with these people and be around them for an hour every week, plus be in their heads for two hours when reading their work?

I saved the most important question for last. Writers come in many shapes and forms, and just because you want to be writers, doesn’t mean you are all going to end up best friends.

I am lucky, the two critique groups I currently belong to consist of my very best friends, but in the past, I have had to give feedback to people that I don’t like, to people that probably don’t like me, and perhaps the hardest, people I have absolutely nothing in common with. Sometimes this can be good because you can be deadly honest and not care if you are ruining a great friendship in the process. Just ask if you can handle the same deadly honest feedback in return!

 

So to sum up, I think the most important question, the all-encompassing question, is “What do I want to get out of this writing group?” All other questions stem from this. Once you have answered this question for yourself, don’t stray, writing groups can be a great help, but if they aren’t right for you, they can be a huge drain on time and money.

The Friday56 332

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, it involves sharing a small excerpt from the book you are currently reading every Friday and then posting a link to the linky hosted on her site.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (URL) post in Linky. Add the post URL, not your blog URL.
*It’s that simple.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I am currently on page 117 of The Power and am absolutely loving it, there are so many sentences I want to highlight. The book has a really fast plot but also the beautiful prose makes me wish I could do this. So far, it really has it all, it makes me feel empowered, it is a little funny (or maybe satirical?) but it also makes me angry. Because once you get past the whole ‘women shooting electricity out of their fingers’ thing, it is really realistic. This is how the world would react. I see it.

The sentence I chose for Friday 56 is just wonderful. So many things happen in history purely because a chance event occurred on a day that people were praying, or working, or not working and were either there to see it or weren’t.

transnational creatives – the broken clock

Every fortnight I meet with a group of transnational creatives to break down borders, both physically and in our writing. In this series, I share the writing that has stemmed from these sessions.

This week I am going to share a poem that was heavily edited during this session. I absolutely love the changes made.

The Broken Clock

He was holding on to the broken clock,

His arms kept reality hidden away.

She couldn’t stop her mind from whirring.

None of it was important anyway and

There were no traces of want in him.

But something had happened to the time,

It seemed the grime of them had penetrated their clock,

Causing the ticks and tocks,

To break free of the certainty,

Of the seconds into minutes into hours.

You know when time seems to get out of sync?

When seconds grow and hours shrink?

Well, their time was nothing like that.

I think it had gone flat inside.

So when the hands tried to go round

They ground to a halt.

Grease clogged up the wheels,

Time squealed as it scraped on the cogs and gears,

Oil escaped and smeared itself across the face.

So it came as a shock to her when he let go of the broken clock,

And it dropped hard onto the bedroom floor.

The fall set time running straight on through.

But now the tocks and ticks were two,

Time grew and broke into pieces,

Which she struggles to hold in the night,

As they slither into creases in the sheets and out of sight.

words of the week – birthday special

This week it is my 25th birthday so we are going with words that are celebratory in nature.

Jollification – an enjoyable activity or celebration.

I will be hosting a jollification on my birthday for all of my friends.

Conviviality – the quality of being friendly and lively

I will be full of conviviality at my birthday jollification.

and finally

mumpsimus – a traditional custom or notion that is adhered to even though it has been shown to be unreasonable

as in we still celebrate birthdays even though age is a figment of our society and we only celebrate them on this day because we have a 365 day calendar. But I’m not a cynic. So I will be convivial at the societal expected jollification.

social media – how to get started

One question I get asked a lot is, “What can I do to say I am ‘on’ social media?”

Well, you pretty much just have to use it! But I understand, sometimes the whole world of social can seem daunting. So here are the things you can do in one week, one month and six months, especially useful if you have a meeting or pitching event coming up!

What you can do in one week (the meeting is in the diary but they can’t Google you)

  • Set up an About Me page linking to an example of your work. (Check out my friend Jay Millington’s for inspiration, it is pretty fantastic.)
  • Set up Twitter – make sure you have a profile picture and a handle that is your name, not the name of your book. To learn how to set up Twitter, click here.
  • Follow your friends and favourite authors. Some of them may follow you back!
  • Tweet five times a day using Buffer. (You could tweet about useful writing blog posts, your author page, some useful thing you read on something relevant to your book. For example, I tweet a lot about social media and the lovely city of Bath.) This will mean that in one week you will have tweeted 35 times, a perfectly acceptable amount.
  • Retweet and comment on some other people’s tweets.

 

  • What you can do in a month (in time to capture autumnal colours and autumn literature festivals)
  • Set up an Instagram account and start taking pictures. To learn the Instagram basics, click here.
  • Write a social media strategy. Include how many times you will post and what your author brand is. 
  • Set up a medium account. This is like having a blog without having to go through the hassle of designing a website.
  • Follow your favourite authors on Twitter and see if you can use some of the techniques they use. For example, could you write a short story in a series of tweets like Joanne Harris? (If you do this, try to put a unique spin on it, don’t completely rip off someone else’s idea!)
  • Check out Twitter Analytics to see how your tweets are performing and what you should tweet more of.

 

What you can do in six months (to keep you occupied on those dark winter nights)

  • Set up a free WordPress blog with a page to feature your bio, synopsis and some writing. Create a blogging schedule. (Once a week is plenty and much more achievable than every day. Try to release them on the same day using the schedule function in WordPress)
  • Set up Google Analytics so you can see how much traffic is visiting your website.
  • Explore another social media platform such as Pinterest, YouTube or LinkedIn.

If you follow all of these steps, you are sure to be winning on social in time for your book launch!

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