Ink Splatter 08 by Loadus

A Creative Writing Degree: To do or not to do?

Many of the most exceptional writers have not been educated at degree level or its equivalent (Ray Bradbury, Maya Angelou and H. G. Wells are a few examples), and creative writing courses have been brought into question by writers, to an extent, because of this, which is what occurred during my time studying creative writing at Edge Hill University.

Amongst the students I studied with, whenever it was discussed whether creative writing should be a standalone degree, or a degree at all, the responses given were either nods of approval followed by comments on how and why it is a subject worth learning at higher education or head shakes in disagreement with statements explaining why it was just another Mickey Mouse subject. From my own experiences, time spent studying creative writing can be tremendously useful for new writers or writers who want to improve their ability:

  • You are constantly around other writers. This can lead to long-lasting relationships and a dependable means to have your work critiqued by others in the future.
  • You get to see how others approach their writing and the different styles they have.
  • The modules and assignments are good for writers. It gets them used to deadlines and allows constructive feedback from lecturers. It’s also useful to learn about different mediums of writing and how to approach a career in it. (It’s how I learnt about the benefits of submitting work, and It introduced me, as well as many others, to areas of writing I didn’t know much about or had any interest in, such as scriptwriting.)
  • Lecturers are one the most beneficial things about creative writing courses. The advice and guidance they provide is an invaluable way to learn about and overcome many mistakes and difficulties that can plague your progress. What I gained from lecturers such as Ailsa Cox, Carys Bray and Helen Tookey saved me an amount of time I don’t like to think about had I had to learn through my own trial and error what pitfalls in writing to escape, whilst the one-to-one meetings I had with my tutor, Ailsa Cox, were the most beneficial: these meetings revealed a field of areas that I needed to improve on and introduced me to the importance of editing.

But the reasons why I disapprove of studying creative writing at degree level are enough to make anyone wanting to develop as a writer consider choosing a different route:

  • The financial cost is high.
  • There will likely be modules that won’t interest you or act only as course filler.
  • Three years, arguably, is not enough time for someone to become a good writer, but conversely, and similar to the point above, you may find that the course is not making good use of the time it is taking or/and that it could be more intense.
  • The distractions of university life can result in you achieving less than you would in a less hectic setting.
  • An excellent writing group, one-to-one tuition with an experienced author or even enrolling on to an intense writing course – similar to doing an MA in creative writing – can bring the same benefits, if not more, in a shorter space of time for a lesser amount of money.

Regardless of what route someone takes in order to become a better writer, whether they study creative writing at university or not, it is their attitude towards it, as well as their determination, that will influence how good a writer they become. In addition to this, it is unlikely that studying creative writing at degree level will have anyone walking out of a university as a best selling author, but, depending on how they use the resources that are there, it can undoubtedly improve their chances.

Ink Splatter 05 by Loadus

Submissions, and Two Years of Inkposts

During the past two years Inkposts has had contributors submit consistently, but we would like to have more submissions following the site’s second birthday this September.

As well as this, we want our readers, and potential contributors, to know more than ever that Inkposts is a space for enjoying writing, and not only the work of those who run the site, but, hopefully, of many more. Our submission guidelines can be viewed here.

Following our second anniversary, Inkposts will be undergoing a few changes:

  • Your Week Fictionalised (YWF) will no longer be a feature on the site.
  • We will attempt to add a new post at least once a week (we are a team of three and our ability to contribute varies).
  • We are also going to bring a slightly new dimension to the site with the writing we review and explore outside the original work on Inkposts. There will be updates on this in the future.

The past few years have been entertaining and extremely educational. We are glad to have the readership we do, and we look forward to keeping this space a place for enjoying writing.

Ink Splatter 08 by Loadus

A CUTting Experience

CUTCut A Long Story (CUT) is a website for lovers of short story fiction and a place for writers to sell short stories. It is run by a team of ten of people and was launched in 2014 with the help of the National Association of Writers in Education and Sleeping Giant Media.

CUT’s unique selling points are the ease in which authors can upload their work, the simplicity behind the publishing process and the way payment is calculated and made to the author – without there being any production charge on the author’s side. As well as this, each story is proof read by a member of the CUT team before it is published. I’ve now had my work available on CUT for a few months, and I’m glad it’s there. (more…)

Ink Splatter 05 by Loadus

Dredd

Dredd2012PosterDirector and writer: Peter Travis and Alex Garland. Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Wood Harris, Lena Headey and others. Studio: DNA films. Release date: 2012

Dredd is the latest big-screen adaption of the long-standing comic strip and comic book Judge Dredd. The previous film released in 1995 is a baby-soft interpretation in comparison to 2012’s cult movie, which features Karl Urban as the titular character: Judge Dredd, Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson, Lena Headey as villiain Ma-Ma and Wood Harris as Kay, Ma-Ma’s right hand man.

One of the most impressive qualities of Dredd is Mega-City One. It brings Dredd’s world into reality; the graffiti, the demographic makeup and behaviour of the city’s inhabitants as well as the judges and unsettling conditions that people in Mega-City One live in feel real. The violence of Dredd adds to this reality, and the effects make it seem less like gore and more like art in slow motion thanks to the drug that keeps Mama’s purse fat: Slow-Mo. (more…)

Ink Splatter 06 by Loadus

Major Notes – Nu African Disco Vol 2

Nu African Disco Vol 2Label and release date: Lossol Entertainment (2015)

Major Notes emerged some time ago in the years of UK funky house. Since then, his sound has evolved into something more original and, most importantly, unique.

At the moment, afro house has yet to reach the UK audience the same way UK funky did, but Major isn’t troubled by this and uses the African-driven form of house/bass, as well as elements of UK funky, bass music and afro beats, to spearhead his new EP (Nu African Disco Vol 1 was similar in direction also and his most popular release to date). This makes Nu African Disco Vol 2 a medley of African sounds – and it works tremendously well. (more…)

Ink Splatter 04 by Loadus

Immortal: The Life and Legacy of Thomas Dean

ImmortalPublisher and release date: Susan Dean (2014)

Immortal is the collection of writings by Thomas Dean put together by his family following his death in 2013. Part of the proceeds from the book are donated to the Thomas Dean Memorial Fund, which was set up after Thomas Dean’s passing to help young people fulfil their college aspirations.

The book starts with the powerful, titular poem Immortal and is followed by several poems, essays, short stories and insight from family and friends.

Thomas Dean’s writing in Immortal contains several themes, but religion and loss are prominent. Pieces like Dead as What Made Us, Exodous Story and Jewish Literature are examples of this. Some of his best writing extends beyond those themes, such as in April and Thoughtsonwordswordsonthoughts – which are about love and connection, but not all of Dean’s writing is well executed as many pieces are ambiguous in a way that I thought showed the writer’s writing was still developing. Dean’s essays cover many topics and give the best insight into his mind, whilst the exceptional stories Patriot’s Shame and Insurgency demonstrate his storytelling skills. (more…)

Stump by Jared Smith

The Man in the Tree

His head protrudes like the top of a bust, only he’s trying to free himself before the silent executioners terrorizing the city reach him and his home; the tree.

Every morning he sticks out a little further. He watches us for help, and his head turns as we walk past him, voiceless and in pain. He looks exhausted, afraid and trapped.

We debate whether we should help him or not. Whether we should gather our tools and creep out of our houses at night before the executioners get to him. Whether we should free him, save his home and reward his efforts.

By the time we decide to take action there’s nothing left of him but a stump. We look down at the rings left by his soul and go back home knowing he may have been the last one we could have saved before the overseers create a reason to cut us out too.

Eternal Love Suradej by Chuephanich 2

A Love for Honesty

You tie people together,

and I cherish the release you bring,

but your passion is striking,

sometimes cruel – I can hate you for it

as the truth is a heavy load.

But without it my relationships are skin deep and open to pain.

Maybe you’re better left

alone

. . .

but I wouldn’t want anyone to hide you from me,

for I know how much I love you,

and I know how much of a burden it is to keep you away.

Under the bridge by Marco Zak

A Love for Dishonesty

You are my safety net.

A guilty pleasure I shouldn’t come back to . . .  but I’m attached to you.

I fall back on you when I can’t explain

or reach for you when I need to hide from others and myself.

You conceal my thoughts, my secrets and

you let me get away with my worst actions.

You’ve saved me several times, and you’ll continue to do so.

My dear white lie,

my dear sin,

without you this life would be insurmountable,

for honesty is a weight none of us should have to carry alone.

I love you,

but our relationship is a secret.

One I will always deny exists.

Mannequin 3

Mannequin

My wife asked me to come to the mall, but I wasn’t in the mood for its crowds or life-like mannequins. “Careful,” I said, “last time one of them tried to grab me.” She laughed, left and never came back.

I reported her missing: “She has a green handbag and a scar on her forehead,” I told police. “She’s beautiful.”

They promised to find her. They never did.

Sometimes, I pass the store where she was last seen; one of its mannequins carries a green handbag and has a mark on its forehead. For a piece of plastic, it’s beautiful.

Note on Mannequin

I wrote Mannequin for Off the Shelf’s competition Retail Tales, which was made in partnership with Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield. The word limit was 100 words. It came runner up and appears on the Off the Shelf Festival of Words website.

Ink Splatter 11 by Loadus

Watch & Wait: A Timeless Anthology

Watch & WaitPublisher and release date: Cybermouse Books (2014)

Watch & Wait is an anthology put together to raise awareness of the cancer lymphoma (even the title of the collection is named after what patients do between treatments: watch and wait), and as Illness can be personal but still effect the people closest to us, it’s fitting that many of the stories in it revolve around relationships.

The opening story, Jungle Palace, by Angela Robson, explores people’s potential for brutality with ease and is one of the most memorable stories in the book – despite feeling like a snippet of a larger story. The following tales are less graphic and have different themes but are in no way less enjoyable. Bryony Doran’s Suppose I was to tell you . . . is an excellent look at a different culture through the eyes of a character that is watching from the outside in. Robson’s Wedding Pictures and Jemma Kennedy’s Fig Tree also touch on this theme to good effect. Further in the anthology recurring themes of support, love, isolation and jealousy are explored in stories such as The Enemy Within, Red Stripe Candy and Ghost Baby. Ian McMillan and David Swann also bring humour to the collection with their stories Mr Mason’s Story and Cock of the Block, the latter being immensely entertaining and one of the highlights of the book. (more…)

2014 In Review

WordPress have created a 2014 annual report for us, so take a look enjoy the stats! And we would like to say thank you to everyone who follows us.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ink Splatter 04 by Loadus

Swans – Love Will Save You

After writing for inkposts, Pete Vaughan tells us what he listens to:

“Feeling, big, strong and righteous? Good, good. Bring your strong hand down on the sad and doubtful, and pray you will never change. Or learn to question the ‘truth’ that someone else told you . . . or the ‘belief’ that someone else sold you – for a way of life that they promised you . . . Believe in anything but you, desire anything but belief in you, love anything but you, be scared of anything that is you. Do I want that stuff? Am I scared of change? Of me? No!”

 

Untitled by Alessandro Galantucci

I Think so I Drink, by Pete Vaughan

Smile and the world laughs outside

money talks as the faces lie

you give your love they take it all from you

A friend in need’s your friend, don’t say it isn’t

 

I think so I drink I don’t drown

I drink ‘cause I think I am

I think so I drink oblivion come down

I drink ‘cause I think I am

 

The power they fought for, the freedom you taste

the suffering they brought was their weakness and waste

the world you enjoy is a prison of escape

the wall’s groan hope but you know it’s a fake

 

An easy day I read tomorrow

accept these gifts ignore the sorrow

the walls groan hope but life is truth

who’s your only friend? Don’t say that isn’t true

oblivion come down

 

Short Bio: Pete Vaughan began his transition across this life west of London, England. Loved and lost, once Peel Sessioned; now between just about everything.

Ink Splatter 10 by Loadus

No Matter What

Originally posted on Words By Dreah Louis:

no matter what

Loving myself no matter what is the ultimate goal

Watching dreams unfold

Despite where life has taken me

Remembering I still hold the key

Learning to diminish fears

and wash away tears

Bury images of regret

and press on to respect

Hoping tomorrow will be a reward

and not just a recoil

Self impressions weigh large

Where love is always the factor

No matter what

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