Blog Entries
This Week - 30th January 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: writing

Unbelievably it’s already nearly the end of January. How did that happen?

Monday Muse – Chris has posted up some great muses:
- Which items would you save if your house was on fire?
- And which would you miss if you couldn’t save them?
- Make up a definition for ‘flangiprop’
- Describe your relationship with your phone/social media provider
- and some photos.

Sue has provided us with the blog this week, Forget Your Perfect Offering, looking at how to use – or not to use – song lyrics in our writing.

On the Bragging Stool this week we have Lesley who has not one, not two, but three stories in an anthology: ‘Today’s Specials’ by The Oldham Writing Café. The official launch is on 28th March and it is available to buy on amazon – fantastic, Lesley!
Also we have Jill with her story “The Blind Truth” which is being published in the latest edition of the First Writer ezine – well done, Jill!
It’s week 49 for Sue on adhoc – keep it up, Sue!
And my brag, which I will officially put up on the site later, is that I’ve handed in my novella-in-flash to Bath Flash Fiction. It is the longest piece of finished work I have written, so I’m really happy (and relieved). I would like to thank Sue for putting me onto the idea, but all of you for your encouragement over the last couple of months.

February Challenges and Opportunities are up.

The next informal meeting will be held on Sunday 12th February at 11am CET

The next formal meeting will be held on Sunday February 26th at 4pm with Maggie in the chair.

Apologies if I’ve missed anything. Do let me know and I can make changes.

It’s celebration time in Hong Kong – the new lunar year started on Saturday (rooster) – so I’ll leave you by saying: Kung Hei Fat Choi and may this be a prosperous year for you all. 

Forget Your Perfect Offering Tags: copyright lyrics truth

YouTube video posted for informative purposes only. If it doesn't display for you use this link.


This is the song that began my foray into the pitfalls of using music lyrics in my writing.



I began this blog intending to lift the lid and take a peek at music lyrics and copyright issues in our writing. This first cropped up for me last year when I, in my innocence, used threads of lyrics from Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me in my short memoirish story, Tonight’s the Night, soon to be released (minus the song lyrics) in an anthology by Bath Flash Fiction.


But you know me, I begin with one train of thought and then I begin to wander, and wonder. So I wondered how other authors, well known authors especially, deal with the issue.


The author who comes immediately to mind is Louise Penny, successful crime writer of the Inspector Gamache novels. Her 9th novel in the Gamache series is titled: ‘How the Light Gets In.’ Such a familiar line from the Leonard Cohen song, Anthem.


Knowing that a few snatches of lyrics in my 300 word story would have cost in the region $500, I scratched my head and wondered how much it cost for Ms Penny’s publisher to obtain permission to use lines from Cohen’s lyrics as her title and more lines from the song within the novel itself. Listen. Just like I did in 2013 - just 10 rows from the stage. The thought provoking and inspiring lyrics are provided with this YouTube clip: 

YouTube video posted for informative purposes only - if it doesn't display for you use this link


It turns out our late dear clever poetic Mr. Cohen used lines from a very ancient Arabic poem for these lyrics (or so I understand) and, as the original words were written centuries ago, Ms Penny probably didn’t need to get permission to use them (although I suspect her publisher did anyway.)


Thanks to Cohen, Penny and an Arabic poet, because of the lines: ‘forget your perfect offering, there is, there is, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’, my blog about copyright and music lyrics has gone its own way and turned into the topic of perfection in our writing - in fact perfection in all we do and why we think we need to strive for it.


So why don’t we forget about our perfect offerings, be true to ourselves, and let the light get in - for isn’t that what we really seek through our writing? Through imperfections won't we find the truth?


Music and lyrics will still follow me through my life and remind me of my times and experiences through the decades. But using them in my writing now has that extra level of challenge.


These might be useful links for you:


public domain listing

Five Ways to use Pinterest for Writing
Category: Writing

Five Ways to use Pinterest for Writing


Pinterest is an interesting place if you’re a writer. Users sign up for an account and can upload, save and manage images (and video’s) known as pins. Collections of images  can be organised into a number of ‘boards’ which can be either public or private. It’s relatively new  web based application, launched in 2010, but has grown in popularity with millions and millions of users and is a powerful tool for writers. 


I’ve been using it more and more recently and have developed a number of boards, dedicated to each one of my WiPs (Works in Progress). As a ‘visual’ thinker when it comes down to writing, I’ve found it most useful in the following areas:


  1. Developing Your Character - I’ve dedicated a board dedicated to a collection images that help to define my characters. I’ve come across boards by other pinners who have boards dedicated to particular hair colours for both male and females. So I can pick and choose one face or certain features, be it hair style, eye colour, stance, favourite clothing, and use it for that one particular character.
  2. Setting the Scene - As expat writers it’s hard to go and visit places, even harder if you write fantasy and the settings don’t actually exist! Again, there are a wealth of images which depict a setting, or details within that setting that you can use to deepen your descriptions and helping to set the background for your story.
  3. Research Your Story - for writers of historical fiction there are a multitude of boards developed by hard core collectors with an attention to detail. You can find images relating to almost anything you want. I’ve particularly looked at them for details of uniforms, food of the time and pictures of places back in time. 
  4. Beat Writers Block - there are a number of ‘Monday Muse’ inspirational boards on Pinterest. You can use them to kick start your writing, develop a scene or for developing some prompts when it’s your turn on the planner.
  5. Connect with other Writers - like other web based sites, you can follow other pinners with interests similar to your own. It’s a great way to find out how other writers use Pinterest and where you can find a wealth of information relating to the writing process itself. 


Warning!: Like all other writing tools Pinterest can be extremely distracting and before you know it you’ve visited a number of boards and the hours have just slipped by, so restricting the time you spend on it is probably a good idea. 


I’m known as LouCWriter if any of you want to connect and have a look at my boards, they’re in a bit of a mess and need a little housekeeping but it may give you some ideas.

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