Lost Weekends ~~ by John Nedwill

Lost Weekends ~~ by John Nedwill

If this blog entry is posted when I think it is going to be, then you shall be reading this just as I am recovering from a rather busy weekend. There are some of you who may remember how, in a previous post, I wrote about being a role-player and boardgamer. Well, I am not alone.

One of the ways that role-players and boardgames get to meet others involved in the hobby is by going to conventions – and the UK has a thriving convention scene. There are conventions every month. Indeed, there are times of the year when there seem to be conventions every week! And the biggest one has just taken place at the NEC in Birmingham. I am writing about the UK Games Expo.

The UK Games Expo usually takes place over three days during the first weekend in June. It is the largest gaming convention in the UK. It is probably the largest dedicated gaming convention in Europe (the Essen Games Fair is bigger, but is almost exclusively a traders’ show), and it is a serious rival to GenCon Indy in the USA. For three days, tens of thousands of gamers come from across the UK and Europe. They congregate at the NEC to shop, trade, meet, greet, with gamer-themed shows, go to seminars and – most importantly! – game. There is plenty of that at UK Games Expo: demonstration games, tournaments, organised play sessions and thousands of seats for people to bring along and play their own games.

The convention does not run itself. It relies on a small army of unpaid volunteers to man reception desks, patrol the trade halls, run gaming sessions, set up rooms …  The list goes on. Many of the volunteers are there for the whole weekend, working hard to make sure that the people who have paid to come to the convention have a good time. But, because the volunteers work hard throughout the convention, they rarely get to see what is going on. Still, there is no shortage of people willing to give up their free time for others. The rewards we get (Yes – I’m one of the volunteers) are intangible but worth it. We get to be part of something big. We get the satisfaction of having contributed something to a greater enterprise. We have been the ambassadors for something we are passionate about. We have made a difference.

That’s the thing about volunteering. No matter who we are or what we do, any one of us can make a difference by giving up some of our time to volunteer. Our contribution can be small or large. We can be an organiser or a cog in something bigger. It doesn’t matter, so long as we make a difference.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

Writing is meant to be a lonely thing, isn’t it? After all, the popular image of the writer is that of a solitary figure, closeted away in some garret or study, committing their thoughts to paper. And the actual act of writing is something that is done somewhere quiet, away from people, all the better for the thoughts to flow uninterrupted.

Well, it’s not. Not for me, anyway.

I belong to a number of writing groups. Most of them are virtual affairs, based around message boards, with the members posting online to exchange views and offer each other encouragement. There is always a bit of chatter going on, with the conversations taking place over days or weeks. The nature of the internet means that the members of these online groups are scattered across the world, and they come on at various times of the day. I have made some good friends in these groups.

However, the group that I love best is my local writing group. It is a group of about a dozen members, although we rarely get everybody turning up at the same time. We meet twice a month in the function room of a local pub. The agenda for most meetings is the same: everybody gathers in the bar downstairs for a quick drink, then we go upstairs to start our meeting. We talk about the events of the last fortnight, share our news – good and bad – and then settle down to the evening’s business. Usually, this is a talk from one of the members on a subject of interest, sometimes it is a talk from a local author or a workshop. But this isn’t what is important to us. What is important to us is the companionship.

Writers are not antisocial. We like to talk to other people with the same interests. We like to share our experiences. Most of all, we want to be with people who are like us, who understand what it means to set pen to paper and create stories. And, while online groups are good and have their place, there is nothing quite like getting to know our fellow writers in person – and there is nothing like sitting around a table, talking with friends.

So, if there is a writing group local to you, are you an active member? Do you go along and share your thoughts with other writers? Or, if there isn’t a writing group nearby, have you thought about starting one? You never know who you might meet.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

I’m not writing a novel, and you don’t have to either.

This may sound strange coming from a writer, but it makes sense. You see, these days there is a perception that successful authors only ever write novels; and whatever genre it is you are writing in, your novel should be as long as you can make it. It’s even better if your novel is part of a series. After all, if you look at the shelves of your local bookshop – and if it’s anything like mine! – you see row upon row of thick volumes facing you. And a lot of these books are not stand-alone stories.

However, there is a hidden world of short stories out there. Many famous authors – both past and present – have written short stories or essays, and published them in magazines or collected them in anthologies. A quick browse of the shelves in my local bookshop turns up George Orwell, Charles Stross, Walter M Miller and many others. There are also collections of short stories based around different themes and genres. Stepping out of the world of published books, there is a thriving culture of magazines – electronic and print – where short stories are welcomed and celebrated.

Short stories are everywhere!

I’m not ragging on novels or the people who write them – far from it! I love to settle down with a good book and lose myself within its pages. But I also love to dip into collections of short stories, with their glimpses of imaginary worlds and fantastic situations. You see, not everyone is suited to writing stories of 50,000 words or more. Not every plot can or should be spun out to meet some arbitrary target. Nobody – especially not a writer starting out on their chosen path – should feel pressured to write a novel.

Writing should be a pleasure. Enjoy being creative, no matter what you write.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

A Writer’s Wish List ~~ by John Nedwill

A Writer’s Wish List ~~ by John Nedwill

“Ho ho ho ho, little boy! And what’s your name?”

“John. John Nedwill, Santa, sir.”

“Hmm. Let me just check my list. Ah – there you are! I see there are some black marks against your name – “

“Oh.”

“- But there are also some good marks. Enough to put you on the ‘nice’ half of my list. So, what would you like for Christmas, John?”

“Ooh – I’ve got my list here. Can we go through it?”

“It looks like a long list, and you haven’t been that nice. But, we’ll see what we can do.”

“Alright. First of all, I’d like a new pen – one with a nice, broad nib that makes my handwriting look neat.”

“That’s a worthy thing for a writer. Go on.”

“And then I’d like some ink. Some really black ink.”

“That will be for the pen? Would you prefer cartridges or a bottle?”

“Bottle please. I’l like a notebook as well. One with good paper that the ink won’t bleed through.”

“Of course. But don’t you want a new tablet or a shiny new laptop? Lots of writers want one of those.”

“Never for first drafts. Next … Some whiskey please.”

“With an ‘e’, I note. You can have it, but only if you can prove you’re over twenty-one.”

“Are you kidding? My beard’s almost as bushy and as white as yours. And could I have some inspiration as well?”

“Hmm. I might have some lying around. But you’ll have to wait for it.”

“Last thing on my list – could you get me an agent? Please?”

“Ho ho ho – no! Remember what I said about only being so good?”

“Maybe next year, then?”

“Maybe. Now, off you go John. Merry Christmas!”

“Thank you, Santa! Merry Christmas to you!”

“Now, who’s next?”


OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

The Confession ~~ by John Nedwill

The Confession ~~ by John Nedwill

Alright, I can’t keep this to myself any longer. There is a terrible secret that I have to confess. Please don’t look down on me for this. You see, I wasn’t always a writer. I was – and still am! – a tabletop gamer.

I first became a tabletop game in 1980. You have to understand that I was young and very easily influenced then. My initial exposure was from an advert in the back of a computer games magazine – one of those that had programme listings you typed in by hand. The ad in question was for a company called Games Workshop, offering three games for £20. But these games were not computer games. These games were roleplaying games: games to be played with dice, pencil, paper, and (so the blurb claimed) imagination. As there were three games, three of us banded together and scraped up the requisite cash. Then we bought a postal order, posted it off with the coupon and waited.

About two weeks later a parcel arrived for us. We tore it open and pulled out three boxes: Basic D&D, Runequest and Traveller. Each box contained manuals on how to play the games, complete with type-formatted text and tables. We were, to put it mildly, perplexed. How could these be fun? But, we had spent our pocket money for the next two months and we were determined to find out what was going on with these things.

It soon became clear that these books were not just words and numbers. They were a means of codifying worlds of fantastic beings and strange treasures; guides on how to settle disputes were settled fairly, if not necessarily amicably. They sparked something in us. For a glorious few years, we became Bronze Age heroes, valiant explorers of space and time, and slayers of dragons. Even better – we became creators of worlds.

But, as inevitably happens, we went our separate ways and outgrew our adolescent fantasies. Well, I didn’t. I kept playing. I found new friends who had also been drawn into these shadow worlds of the imagination. Together we honed our skills. We learnt how to create memorable characters and how to build new worlds. We learnt how to create epic adventures. We read books and shamelessly stole ideas from them, proudly flaunting our thefts and not caring if we were found out. But, most of all, we learnt how to tell stories.

I am still a gamer. I still sit around a table with my friends, eating snacks (admittedly low-fat and low-sugar now), drinking beverages (tea rather than fizzy pop) and rolling strange dice (we still compare our collections). But, I have managed to parlay the skills I learnt from gaming into skills for writing.

You see, gaming has taught me how to create rounded and believable characters. It has taught me how to detail locations. It has taught me how to create plots that will stand up to being poked, prodded and generally tested to destruction. But the stories I tell are now meant to be read rather than played out.

So, that’s my dreadful secret about how I became a writer. What’s yours?


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

Summer Holidays ~~ by John Nedwill #OMP Blogger

Summer Holidays ~~ by John Nedwill #OMP Blogger

As I’m writing this entry for the OMP blog, it’s summertime. This is the time of year when, traditionally, people go on their main holiday of the year. For some people, the holiday is something to be planned in meticulous detail, from the destination to the activities for the day. For others, a holiday is more of an ad hoc thing, where they go somewhere on a whim and do whatever takes their fancy.

Then, there are those of us who fall between the two. I’m one of those people who has to block out their holidays in advance. The demands of work mean that I have to negotiate what dates I can go away. However, when I actually get to my destination, I rarely have any plans as to what to do.  Unless I am going somewhere for a specific reason (it happens!), I prefer to take each day as it comes. I rarely make plans for more than a day in advance.

You see, for me, a holiday is a chance to get away and recharge my mental batteries. I like to wander, following my instincts and senses. It gives me a chance to discover things and to do things that I want to do, without having to worry about anything more taxing than where I am going to stop for lunch. It also gives me time to sit and contemplate the world.

My holiday tactics have served me well so far. I have stood on the rocks at Carrick-a-Rede, watching dolphins playing in the bay. I have climbed to the very top of the lantern in Saint Paul’s Cathedral and seen the City of London spread out below me. My wanderings have taken me to the otaku shrine in the Akihabara and the Imperial Gardens to see the cherry blossoms. And, everywhere I have gone, I have taken my notebooks and pens with me, so I can write down the things I have seen and the emotions I have experienced, and I can then use them in my stories. Sometimes I even take pictures (!), but words are the way I express myself best.

So, when you go on your holidays, what are you going to do? What are you going to see? Whatever you do end up doing, just stop for a moment and try to remember it through the lens of your writing.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy