Arrivals and Departures

There are many, many good things arriving on the Bugged website today.  Not just one, but two selections of new work, and a competition.  The first selection is from the latest batch of submissions from writers from all over the UK, and in this one features work by Cathy Bryant, Maggie Doyle, Lynda Nash, Suzanne Phillips and Rodney Wood. You’ll find their writing here Bugged July 29th . And the second is more work from our core writers, and there you’ll find a script by playwright Steph Dale, another story by David Gaffney and a story from the first of our editors to complete her piece, Jo Bell. You can read their work here – Core writers – July 29th

And now for the competition. One of our editors – not the one who’s work appears in this post – has a new novel coming out next week. It’s fantasy adveture story called The Map of Marvels, and tells the story of a boy who goes on a series of fantastic, magical, and sometimes terrying  journeys. And, as many of your overhearings have involved you going on some kind of journey, we’d like you to send us a single sentence describing a journey of some kind. It may be an actual journey you’ve taken, or a dream journey, or one you’d like to take. But the idea is to send us just a single image from that journey, in one sentence. The competiton closes on Tuesday 3rd August and the writer of the one we like the best will be sent a copy of The Map of Marvels. And if you suspect that this competition is just an underhand way of plugging the book – it is.

Finally, we’d like to say thank you to Bugged Writer and photographer Janet Jenkins who’s been inspired by the project not only to write overhearings but to take photographs of them as well. It’s one of her photos that illustrates today’s post. Birdbugged. Thanks again, Janet.

Core blimey

This is the point where some of you will be thinking of giving up. Don’t! The perfect moment to write your piece may never arrive: so start it on the bus, in a queue for your Lottery ticket, in the bath. That’s all very well, you may say – but while I am slaving over a hot keyboard, what have the Bugged core writers been up to? (see Blogroll, right). Well, some of them are lolling about on chaise-longues, eating peeled grapes and not doing their homework. We know this, because we are them.

Others, very wisely, were at their desks by dusk on July 1st and we have been waiting for the right moment to post some examples. Today – ta-dah! we reveal work from Mil Millington, Ian Marchant and David Gaffney – all, as it happens, pieces to make you smile as well as think. It’s in our crazily-named file Core writers – July 25th. In our next post on Thursday, you’ll see the final story in David Gaffney’s sequence, plus a script from Steph Dale – and you’ll hear about a new publication from another writer close to our hearts. To find out more about these writers click here (and if Bugged is news to you, look here to see how it works). If you’re struggling to work an overhearing into a piece of your own writing, these pieces should give you an idea of how it can be done. Bear in mind that you don’t have to quote it directly – so long as it sparks the piece off.

Meanwhile another of our gang, Jenn Ashworth is still collecting material for her own online project at Wirral Stories – and we are delighted to see that Andrew Philip and Lorraine Mariner, both supporters of Bugged, were shortlisted this week for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry. Congratulations.

Good overhearings are coming in – because as you know, you can still collect your overhearings and write from them now, so long as your work comes to us by August 15th. We like:

‘One of them had a glass back, and the other tried to kill you.’

‘That’s six inches by anyone’s reckoning,’

‘I’m all about customer service. I’m 100% about customer service. Customer service means everything to me.’

‘….threatened him with a hammer. And they didn’t even take anything!’

We have well over 100 pieces of brand new writing sitting in our files now, and continue to be overwhelmed by the success of our single idea; but it may be that you are saving the best till last. Don’t get it right – get it written. And come back on Thursday for news of another writerly prize….

Eavesdroppers Anonymous

No: you're being Bugged

Frankly, you’re not helping. We two Buggers-in-Chief are trying to write our own pieces, but we keep getting distracted by the new work coming in from you lot. It’s varied, it’s exciting, it’s a bloody good read. So we have put all our creativity instead into the title of today’s selection. Click, then, on the splendidly named July 21st where you will find words from Benjamin Morris, Roz Goddard, Sam Burns and Colin Henchley.

Your overhearings have been gathered on a hen night in the local, on the bus, on a ‘boring and delayed train journey’, at Shadwell tube station or on a narrowboat for the first time. One of you listened outside the village school, one during a break in Switzerland – and one was inspired ‘partly by overhearings…. partly by the Pomp and Circumstance quilting exhibition’. And we hear from some of you that Bugged got you writing for the first time, or starting up again after a long break. If so, then we’re glad but we just reminded you of what writers do – like children crossing the road, we all just LOOK and LISTEN. Keep writing regularly and don’t be afraid to send us another piece before the deadline on August 15th. (If you just joined us and this makes no sense at all, look here for the basic rules.)

Poet and eavesdropper Marvin Cheeseman took this one...

Some of you have long writing careers under your belt – Roz Goddard, for instance, is a former poet laureate of Birmingham. But as you’ll see, her first Bugged submission is a short story, and others are also writing in forms which are not their ‘first language’. Is your found material forcing you to experiment with new forms and new styles of writing? Is it taking you in new directions? Jolly good.

And some of you are submitting work for the very first time. We know it can be a bit nerve-racking and we thank you. So the key idea of Bugged is working – voila, a real community of writers sharing their nasty little habit and creating something from it. It’s like Eavesdroppers Anonymous. Thanks too to those who are sending a few words with your submission form to say, ‘I’m really enjoying the project’…. ‘Bugged is such FUN as a challenge’….’I had such fun writing these.’ Serious writing can, after all, be very good fun. Keep having it – and keep it coming.

You have till early next week to send the next bout of writings – but we’ll try to get a blog up on Sunday that showcases some of the work from our core writers (see blogroll, right). Playwright Steph Dale has done her homework – so have David Gaffney, Mil Millington and Ian Marchant. We’re just beginning to think about the pieces that might make it into the Bugged book, launching on 14th October in Manchester and 21st in Birmingham. Read on, MacDuff…

The Garden of Bugged Delights

There’s been a wonderful  response to our competition, and many of you have written in telling us what it is that delights you. Among the delights you’ve told is about are: warm pavements, trees, red shoes and the smell of books.  There’s still a little time to send these in, although the competition does close at midday tomorrow (Sunday 18th June). Not long after that, the name of the lucky winner of a copy of The Writer’s Block will be announced.

What delights us of course, is reading the many excellent poems, stories and scripts you’re sending in, and you can read a further selection of these here,  July 17th , where there are poems, a story and flash fiction from Jon Andriessen, Jan Arnold, Bob Hill, Alison J. Littlewood, Andrew Philip, Fran Martel and Bosey Manumba. We’ve also been receiving more pieces from our core writers, and we’ll posting some of these shortly. The only core writers we have to have a stern word with are a certain Jo Bell and David Calcutt, from whom we’ve heard nothing, despite repeated emails and texts demanding they set a good example and send in their pieces.  Rumour has it they haven’t even started writing yet. Shame on them. They really ought to know better.

Poetry! Prose! Prizes! Prozac!*

A month and a day to go to the Bugged deadline, and we hear keyboards clicking all over the country. There’s loads of good writing to enjoy today – it’s really getting tough to decide what to leave out.

Two of our core writers have coughed up – Ian Marchant’s is a prose piece, and David Gaffney got so carried away that he gave us a series of three micro-stories based on different overhearings. We’ll post both of these soon. Jenn Ashworth, who only gave birth last week, is getting on with hers too. Congrats to Jenn not only on the arrival of McTiny, but also on the announcement that her second novel Cold Light will be published by Sceptre next year.

The best of the recent submissions from readers and writers across the UK are bundled into today’s selection, titled (in our usual blockbuster style)  July 14th. We have work from Ray Morgan, Peter Wild, Sarah Gallagher, Norman Hadley and (in extract) Christine Howe. What have you especially enjoyed so far? Let us know in Comments.

We’re loving Bugged. We are stunned by your enthusiasm, your talent, the variety of your work – and also by the difficulty some of you have in following our simple rules. So here it is you naughty Buggers: NO, you can’t submit work and then withdraw it because you wrote ‘bumblebee’ when you meant ‘wasp’. NO, you can’t write 1056 words when the limit is 1000 words (we have Word Count too). YES, it has to be a Word file (ending in .DOC). We really don’t accept .RTF files, Mac Pages files, or anything else. If you haven’t got Word, then you need to convert it before you send it to us. The tiresome business of making a living means we just don’t have time to convert them for you, or to contact you about doing so. Use our Submission Form, and make sure you’ve put your own details in there – name, address etc. This

Small but perfectly formed

way, we can print them all off in the same format on August 16th, install ourselves at Bugged Towers with a big tin of biscuits and a large gin, and argue about which ones go into the book.

After that stern telling off, here’s a spoonful of sugar. We’ve got a copy of The Writer’s Block to give away. It’s a little fat book whose every page has a spark idea to get you writing. ‘Virus’ is one. ‘Write about your greatest childhood fear’ is another. To win it…. well, since Jo is currently reading J B Priestley’s Delight, we want you to tell us what delights you. Tell us via Comments, here on the blog – in no more than ten words. The one that delights us most before Sunday morning will get the book, and be announced on the midweek blog.

[*only for those of us who have to choose between these submissions.]

Poetry, Prose and A Script!


What do you think he’s saying?

Here at BUGGED we’re getting very good at coming up with imaginative, playful and arresting titles for our selections from recent submissions.  This one is called July 10th and includes work by Catherine Almond, Nina Boyd,  Helen Calcutt, Jonathan Hatfull, Liz Loxley, Ken McGrath and Fiona Spencer. As you’ll gather from the above title,  there’s a good variety of poetry, prose and drama in today’s selection, and all the pieces of the usual high quality, so there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy, we hope. In this case we have withdrawn it from the web site because one of the poets wants to publish a piece of work – but we can send it to you by email if you wish, with the item in question removed.

The only difficulty we’re having now is actually making these selections, as there is so much good material coming in, and not everything that deserves to be has been  posted yet. So, as we wrote last time, if you’ve submitted, and your work isn’t here, do be patient, and do keep logging on, because it may well be posted in the future. There’s still plenty of time to go. And if you’re ready to submit, do go to our Submission form and follow the instructions there, and send it off. We’re looking forward to reading it. And reading your work, and discovering just how many talented writers there are across the UK, is for us the most enjoyable part of this project.

Bugged – and on it goes….

We are gobsmacked, delighted and now a little bit scared by the quantity and quality of writing coming in. Our main Bugging day was less than a week ago and we already have 70 submissions. And this is good work that’s coming in, not just any old rubbish*. So this post is just a quick one, to show you some of the work that has come in to date.

Today we bring you poetry and prose from Helen Addy, Andrew Bailey, Lucy Jeynes, Jo Field, Brenda Ray and Ruskin Brown – all in this lovely file with the catchy name of July 7th. We hoped that Bugged would bring you new material for your writings. I think we are doing so: surely, ferret theft and toilets in Norwich are amongst the things you wouldn’t normally consider as subjects. Truly, there is nothing you can’t write about.

If your name is not here, don’t panic. We haven’t been able to read all the work submitted so far, so you might yet appear in the next week or so. We’re expecting a little dip in submissions but we do hope you will prove us wrong. Some are submitting several pieces – which is fine! Don’t forget to submit via our Submission Form, and to attach it rather than paste it into your email.

If you’re dithering over whether to send us something – please do. Bugged is a community of writers creating and sharing. We know how much generosity it takes to offer it for the blog or anthology, especially if you are beginning your writing career. But it is an absolute joy to see the variety of responses we’re getting – some funny, some heartbreaking, some plain weird. All of them are original and clearly based on a real overhearing. Keep’em coming – we want 100 before our next post on Saturday.

Coming soon… our first response from one of our ten core writers, and news of book launches from others who are taking part. Keep Bugging!

*If you think your own writing does fall under the heading of ‘any old rubbish’ then ignore that nasty little self-doubting voice and submit anyway. Honestly; all writers doubt their own talent. Get on with it.