Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Quietish Hello

I've seen blogs popping up all over the web and with 2006 looming, and my son Toby visiting, I thought, good chance to pick his brains, get him to set me set up a blog and homepage. (Thanks, Toby)

I regularly get into trouble on various writer-sites (I use the word "writer" loosely) because I speak out against crap writing, praised by crap readers and then published by crap sites, showcases, pod publishers, friends-publishing-friends etc. But then I thought, if I blog my protests, maybe I can get it out of my system.

The trouble with these idiot-led sites is they are traps for good writers, or writers with the potential to be good. I've occasionally spotted potential on such sites, writers who might be totally screwed up by the laughable feedback on offer. Sometimes you can steer such people away from the worst critters and idiot commentators, sometimes you can't. But you can try...

I'm always fascinated when I stumble into one of these sites. One thing always seem to occur - the big noises are never good writers. The people who seem to have bullied, cajoled, ass-kissed and flamed their way to a central or leading position (building a circle of sycophants on the way) are always poor writers.

But of course, when they post work it's praised to the highest levels. So the work gets sent out and either fails to publish or ends up in a showcase magazine of the worst possible standards.

In the writing school I run, poor work DOESN'T get praised. We're tough, unforgiving, blunt, but we critique TEXT (not people) and stories are posted anonymously via a secretary. Members rarely get praise for their stories, yet we keep winning First Prizes and publishing widely. With 20-30 members (about 75% of them active and varying from raw newbie to intermediate writer) we managed 26 First Prizes in 2005, yes one first prize every other week. Our latest First Prize was our 89th, all documented.

I edit Seventh Quark Magazine

Anyway, two hours to Christmas. I think I've managed to set this up. I welcome discussions of writing on this blog, or questions about writing. I expect to get a steady stream of idiot flamers. I'll just use the delete key a lot.

Have a good Christmas, and keep writing

Alex Keegan

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