50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in December 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in December 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for November from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 340 anniversaries for December in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017, but not the events. The full version should be available in about a month.)

—–

500 years ago (24 Dec 1515)
Thomas Wolsey was appointed Lord Chancellor of England.

250 years ago (8 Dec 1765)
Birth of Eli Whitney, American inventor of the cotton gin.

200 years ago (3 Dec 1815)
Death of John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the USA and the first archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland.

200 years ago (10 Dec 1815)
Birth of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, British mathematician. Best known for her work with Charles Babbage. Considered the world’s first computer programmer. Daughter of the poet Lord Byron.

150 years ago (6 Dec 1865)
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially adopted, abolishing slavery in the USA.

150 years ago (8 Dec 1865)
Birth of Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer. Considered the most important Scandinavian symphonic composer.

150 years ago (10 Dec 1865)
Death of Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians (1831–65). Succeeded by his son Leopold II.

150 years ago (25 Dec 1865)
Birth of Evangeline Booth, British-born Salvation Army leader. Its first female general.

150 years ago (30 Dec 1865)
Birth of Rudyard Kipling, British short story writer, novelist, poet, and children’s author. Best known for The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King, Gunga Din, If–, and more. Winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature.

125 years ago (29 Dec 1890)
The Wounded Knee Massacre (also called the Battle of Wounded Knee), South Dakota, USA. Troops from the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment shot and killed about 300 members of the Lakota tribe.

100 years ago (8 Dec 1915)
The war poem In Flanders Fields, by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, was first published in Punch magazine in the UK.

100 years ago (9 Dec 1915)
Birth of Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, German-born Austrian/British soprano.

100 years ago (12 Dec 1915)
Birth of Frank Sinatra, American singer and film actor. One of the best-selling artists of all time. A founding member of the Rat Pack.

100 years ago (19 Dec 1915)
Birth of Édith Piaf, French singer and actress. One of France’s greatest international stars. Best known for the songs Non, je ne regrette rien and La Vie en rose.

80 years ago (12 Dec 1935)
The Lebensborn project was established in Germany to counteract falling birth rates and promote Nazi eugenics.

75 years ago (1 Dec 1940)
Birth of Richard Pryor, award-winning American stand-up comedian and film actor. (Died 2005.)

75 years ago (12 & 15 Dec 1940)
World War II – the Sheffield Blitz, UK. The city of Sheffield, famous for its steel industry, was devastated by German bombs. More than 660 people were killed, 1,500 injured, and 40,000 made homeless.

75 years ago (21 Dec 1940)
Birth of Frank Zappa, prolific American rock / experimental / jazz / classical musician, singer, composer and film director. (Died 1993.)

75 years ago (21 Dec 1940)
Death of F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist and short story writer. Considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Best known for his novel The Great Gatsby.

75 years ago (22 Dec 1940)
Death of Nathanael West, American satirical novelist and screenwriter. Best known for his novels Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust.

75 years ago (30 Dec 1940)
The Arroyo Seco Parkway (also known as the Pasadena Freeway) was officially opened in California, USA. It is considered the first true freeway in the USA – though narrow by modern standards.

70 years ago (27 Dec 1945)
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development were formally founded. (They had been created at the Bretton Woods Conference in July 1944.)

70 years ago (28 Dec 1945)
The U.S. Congress formally recognised the Pledge of Allegiance. (It was written in 1892. Before 1945 it was known as the Pledge to the Flag. It was last revised in 1954 when the words ‘under God’ were added.)

60 years ago (1 Dec 1955)
African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, violating the city’s racial segregation laws. This incident led to the Montgomery bus boycott (5th Dec 1955 – 20th Dec 1956) and the birth of the modern American civil rights movement.

60 years ago (4 Dec 1955)
The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO – the largest federation of trade unions in the USA.

60 years ago (4 Dec 1955)
Death of Glenn L. Martin, American aviation pioneer and manufacturer whose aircraft company is now part of Lockheed Martin.

60 years ago (20 Dec 1955)
Cardiff was proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

50 years ago (3 Dec 1965)
The album Rubber Soul by The Beatles was released.

50 years ago (9 Dec 1965)
The animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in the USA. It was based on Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip and continues to be broadcast annually.

50 years ago (16 Dec 1965)
Death of W. Somerset Maugham, prolific British novelist, short story writer and playwright. One of the most popular writers of his era. Best known for his novels Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes and Ale and The Razor’s Edge.

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
A maximum speed limit of 70 mph was introduced on previously unrestricted roads in Britain. (The limit was introduced on a trial basis but was made permanent in July 1967.)

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
The U.S. première of the film Dr. Zhivago. (UK: 26th April 1966.)

50 years ago (22 Dec 1965)
Death of Richard Dimbleby, pioneering British journalist and radio/television broadcaster. The BBC’s first war correspondent. One of the greatest figures in British broadcasting history. Father of the television presenters David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby.

50 years ago (27 Dec 1965)
Sea Gem oil rig disaster, North Sea. Britain’s first-ever oil rig capsized due to metal fatigue after being moved to a new site. 13 crew were killed.

50 years ago (30 Dec 1965)
Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines.

40 years ago (11 Dec 1975)
Third Cod War: one of the most serious incidents of the Cod Wars occurred when an Icelandic ship opened fire on 3 unarmed British tugboats. No one was hurt.

40 years ago (29 Dec 1975)
LaGuardia Airport bombing, New York City, USA. 11 people were killed and 74 injured when a bomb exploded near the TWA baggage reclaim terminal. The perpetrators and motive are currently unknown.

30 years ago (26 or 27 Dec 1985)
Death of Dian Fossey, American zoologist. The world’s leading authority on mountain gorillas. (Murdered in Rwanda, case unsolved – poachers?)

25 years ago (1 Dec 1990)
Construction workers on the Channel Tunnel broke through the last wall of rock separating the two halves, and Britain and France were linked for the first time in thousands of years.

25 years ago (2 Dec 1990)
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was elected Chancellor of Germany. (He had been acting-Chancellor since reunification on 3rd Oct.)

25 years ago (2 Dec 1990)
Death of Aaron Copland, American composer.

25 years ago (22 Dec 1990)
Lech Walesa, leader of the once-outlawed Solidarity trade union movement, became President of Poland.

25 years ago (25 Dec 1990)
The first successful trial run of the system that would become the World Wide Web was completed at CERN in Switzerland.

20 years ago (4 Dec 1995)
Bosnian War: the first NATO troops landed in Sarajevo to begin setting up a peace mission. Peacekeeping operations began on 20th.

20 years ago (7 Dec 1995)
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft reached Jupiter after a 6-year journey. It released a probe into the planet’s atmosphere, which sent back data on its structure and composition before being destroyed by the pressure.

20 years ago (8 Dec 1995)
Head teacher Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death outside his west London school while trying to protect a student who was being assaulted by a gang of youths.

20 years ago (13 Dec 1995)
Brixton riot, south London, UK. Hundreds of youths rioted on the streets of Brixton following the death of a black man in police custody.

20 years ago (14 Dec 1995)
The Bosnian War ended with the ratification of the Dayton Accords in Paris, France. (The war had begun in April 1992.)

10 years ago (11 Dec 2005)
Buncefield Oil Depot fire, Hertfordshire, UK. An oil storage tank exploded when an unconfined vapour cloud ignited, causing nearby tanks to explode. 43 people were injured. The explosion was heard in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

10 years ago (19 Dec 2005)
The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the UK. The first civil partnership under the act was formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland that day. The first in Scotland was on 20th December, and the first in England and Wales were on 21st December.


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The Date-A-Base Book 2016 sorted by date

Monday, 8 June 2015

cover16_3dBy popular request…

The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is now available in an alternative format where the entries are sorted by date (i.e. all the 1st Jan entries come first, then all the 2nd Jan entries, etc.)

 

ideas4writers lifetime members can download it right now from the members’ home page.

For everyone else: we’ll send you both versions (chronological and sorted by date) when you buy the ebook edition.

The printed version is only available in chronological order.

Full details here: www.ideas4writers.co.uk/2016

(We’re currently working on the 2017 edition. We’ll announce it here as soon as it’s ready – approximately 1 month to go.)

What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for June

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your brain – what can you do with these? Some of them are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you came home and found strangers living in your house?

2. your boss was far more intelligent than you gave him/her credit for?

3. you went to sleep as usual one night but when you woke up the next morning you found it was actually 3 years later and you’d been in a coma?

4. the sky was filled with UFOs but you couldn’t see them because they were cloaked in invisibility shields and invisible to radar?

5. you thought you’d been given the easiest task but in fact it was the hardest?

6. your name was added to the wrong list?

7. every day you took one step further than you did the previous day?

8. you attempted to spend an entire day (or week/month/year) on a bicycle – not getting off for even a second?

9. your attempt at breaking a record was a disastrous/hilarious failure?

10. all doors opened outwards?

11. it was impossible for humans to travel at speeds higher than 25 mph without special breathing apparatus?

12. all crimes were punished by compulsory organ donation?

13. the part of the human brain that likes music and rhythm had never developed, so we found such things meaningless or annoying?

14. you decided to tell 100 lies per day and keep going until someone challenged something you said?

15. you were disqualified for being too good?

16. you were the only one who was prepared to play by the rules?

17. you were punished for sticking to the rules?

18. you (or something you created) became known as ‘iconic’?

19. you (or something you created) became known as ‘the opposite of iconic’?

20. you kidnapped someone?

21. you were taken hostage?

22. you forgot to send it in?

23. you gave it to someone else to post but they forgot (either deliberately or accidentally)?

24. the only form of advertising that was allowed was advertising on TV?

25. all TV advertising was restricted to a single channel?

26. you could pay an extra fee and never see any TV advertising at all?

27. you always seemed to be one step behind?

28. there were no trees?

29. it was impossible to correct a mistake?

30. you trained for years for a single day’s event, but then couldn’t perform?

– – – – – – –

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Writing software recommendation: Workflowy

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Regular readers will know I love lists. But what I love even more are:

  • organised lists
    • hierarchical lists (like this)
  • outlines (in the form of hierarchical lists of course)

The sort of list that you can:

  • easily move around
  • insert bullet points at will
  • promote or demote entries from chapter headings to sub-headings and back again, for example
  • split entries into new headings or sub-categories of their own
  • and so on.

(But it has to be extremely easy and quick to do all of those things.)

You can do so much with lists like these, from making a shopping list to outlining an article or story or novel to creating the business plan for a multi-billion dollar industry.

I’ve just started planning a rather complex novel, and this is where a decent outliner should come into its own. But the tools I had available just weren’t doing it for me. I tried using them and quickly ditched them and moved on to the next … and the next … until I ran out of options.

Microsoft Word has a built-in outliner, and while it’s usable it’s not brilliant (for complex novels at least). Also, I haven’t got Word on my netbook, only my desktop computer that I hardly use any more.

OpenOffice Writer, which I use on my netbook, sort of has one but it’s a massive pain to use – and totally unsuitable for planning a novel.

Until recently I used Treepad Lite for organising things, but it’s been a love-hate relationship. It does the job but not elegantly, nor is it fast. I started planning my novel on it but quickly abandoned it.

At this point I considered buying Scrivener so I could use the cork board/index cards feature, but that isn’t really how I like to work – I like lists! (It’s close, but not quite close enough.)

I do a lot of writing on my iPad now – including this very blog post. So I wanted something cross-platform: it needed to work on my Windows desktop computer, my Windows netbook, and my iPad – and ideally also on my Android smartphone so I can work on my novel while I’m out and about.

So I dug around in Apple’s App Store and eventually found Workflowy. It’s perfect, it’s dead simple, it’s brilliant. I wish I’d found it years ago. There’s an iPad app, an Android app and a browser version so you can use it in Windows. And none of them costs anything (which is always my favourite price!)

(There is of course a paid-for version – there always is, and that’s fair enough as they have to stay in business and continue creating great software – but none of the paid-for features are essential as far as I can tell. I seem to be getting on perfectly well without them. It might be useful to collaborate with other writers at some point, though – and that is a paid option.)

The only very slight drawback is that you can only add 250 items (bullet points) to your lists each month (unless you pay to upgrade). But if you recommend Workflowy to your friends (see below) you get an extra 250 items per month for each one who signs up.

If you’re a list-maker/outliner/planner like me, rather than someone who prefers the “start writing and let’s see where it goes” approach, it’s well worth having a look at Workflowy. My novel is now coming along splendidly, so I give it my highest personal recommendation. It’s something I definitely use (a lot) and have come to love and rely on in a very short time – and that’s not something I say very often.

There’s a short video on their website that shows you how it works. And that’s all the training you need.

If you use the following link (because you’re my friend) you can immediately start off with 500 items per month as your basic allowance rather than the usual 250. (It will increase my allowance too, so thank you in advance if you decide to give it a try.)

https://workflowy.com/invite/2d8b4933.emlx

More writing tools

Each month from now on I’ll be looking at no cost/low cost tools (and probably books too) that make our writing lives easier. If you have any recommendations please let me know: dave@ideas4writers.co.uk. I’m sure there must be lots of other great tools out there that I’m simply not aware of.

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in November 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Monday, 11 May 2015

We’re continuing our new and improved ideas4writers blog.

There are no major changes this week, but next week we’ll pick one of the entries below and do a full-scale breakdown of it, just like we did in Ditch Your Day Job! (free ebook).

We should be able to fill at least a couple of pages with ideas for articles you could write about that single entry. If you’d like to vote for a particular entry please email dave@ideas4writers.co.uk, otherwise we’ll just pick one at random.

So, here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in November 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for November from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 350 anniversaries for November in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017, but not the events. The full version should be available at the end of June.)

—–

500 years ago (22 Nov 1515)
Birth of Mary of Guise (also known as Mary of Lorraine). Queen consort of James V of Scotland (1538–42). Regent of Scotland (1554–60). Mother of Mary, Queen of Scots.

250 years ago (1 Nov 1765)
The Stamp Act (a British tax on the colonies of North America) went into effect. Its purpose was to help pay for troops stationed in North America following Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War. (The tax was hugely unpopular with colonists and the Act was repealed in March 1766. It was one of the key grievances that led to the American Revolution.)

250 years ago (14 Nov 1765)
Birth of Robert Fulton, American engineer and inventor who developed the first commercially successful steamboat.

200 years ago (1 Nov 1815)
Birth of Crawford Long, pioneering American physician. The first to use ether as an anaesthetic during surgery.

200 years ago (2 Nov 1815)
Birth of George Boole, British mathematician who invented Boolean algebra (also called Boolean logic), which forms the basis of modern computer circuits and programming.

200 years ago (24 Nov 1815)
Birth of Grace Darling, British heroine who famously rescued survivors of a shipwreck off Northumberland in 1838. She and her father used a rowing boat as the sea was too rough for the lifeboat.

150 years ago (2 Nov 1865)
Birth of Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States.

150 years ago (10 Nov 1865)
Death of Henry Wirz, Swiss-born American soldier. Confederate Army captain in the U.S. Civil War. Superintendent of a prison-of-war camp in Andersonville, Georgia – for which he was later convicted of excessive cruelty. The only person in the USA to have been executed for war crimes. (Hanged.)

150 years ago (12 Nov 1865)
Death of Elizabeth Gaskell, (Mrs. Gaskell), British novelist and short story writer who also wrote the first biography of Charlotte Brontë.

150 years ago (17 Nov 1865)
Death of James McCune Smith, American physician and abolitionist. The first African American to hold a medical degree. The first African American to run a pharmacy in the USA. A prominent campaigner against slavery.

150 years ago (26 Nov 1865)
Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published.

100 years ago (11 Nov 1915)
Birth of William Proxmire, American politician, Senator from Wisconsin. Best known for his crusade against officials who waste public money, and his Golden Fleece Awards which were given to those whom he felt were the most guilty. Also noted for his personal fitness regime.

100 years ago (12 Nov 1915)
Birth of Roland Barthes, French literary theorist, semiotician, philosopher, essayist and social/literary critic.

100 years ago (14 Nov 1915)
Death of Booker T. Washington, American educator, reformer, writer and presidential adviser. Born into slavery. The main spokesman for the African American community in the decade before his death. First president of Tuskegee University, Alabama.

100 years ago (25 Nov 1915)
Birth of Augusto Pinochet, President/dictator of Chile (1974–90).

80 years ago (5 Nov 1935)
The board game Monopoly was launched by Parker Brothers.

80 years ago (14 Nov 1935)
Holocaust: the Nazis began implementing the Nuremburg Laws, stripping German Jews of their German citizenship. The laws were extended to cover gypsies and negroes on 26th November.

80 years ago (15 Nov 1935)
The Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel L. Quezon became President.

75 years ago (4 Nov 1940)
Death of Manuel Azaña, President of Spain (1936–39).

75 years ago (5 Nov 1940)
Franklin D. Roosevelt became the only U.S. President to win a third term in office.

75 years ago (7 Nov 1940)
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington, USA collapsed. It is one of the most famous engineering failures in history.

75 years ago (9 Nov 1940)
Death of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister (1937–40).

75 years ago (13 Nov 1940)
The première of Walt Disney’s animated movie Fantasia, in New York City, USA.

75 years ago (14 Nov 1940)
World War II: German Luftwaffe bombers virtually destroyed the city of Coventry, England, including the medieval cathedral.

75 years ago (15 Nov 1940)
Holocaust: all Jews in Warsaw, Poland were transferred to the Warsaw Ghetto. (On 16th the Ghetto was sealed off from the outside world, with about 400,000 Jews confined within its 4 square kilometres. On 19th any Jewish property found outside the Ghetto was confiscated by the Nazis.)

75 years ago (20 Nov 1940)
World War II: Hungary joined the Axis powers, swiftly followed by Romania and Slovakia.

75 years ago (27 Nov 1940)
Birth of Bruce Lee, American-born film actor. Known for his martial arts movies including Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. (Died 1973.)

50 years ago (6 Nov 1965)
Freedom Flights between Cuba and the USA began. The USA began airlifting Cuban refugees to Miami, Florida. The flights ended in 1973, by which time 300,000 Cubans had been relocated. (Little Havana in Miami was established as a result of this.)

50 years ago (8 Nov 1965)
The first episode of the soap opera Days of Our Lives was broadcast on NBC TV in the USA.

50 years ago (9 Nov 1965)
The death penalty was abolished in the United Kingdom.

50 years ago (11 Nov 1965)
Rhodesia issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain. The move was widely condemned, and the United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Rhodesia on 20th November.

50 years ago (26 Nov 1965)
France became the world’s third space power when it successfully launched its satellite Astérix into orbit from Algeria.

40 years ago (3 Nov 1975)
Britain’s first North Sea oil pipeline was officially opened.

40 years ago (6 Nov 1975)
British punk rock group the Sex Pistols gave their first public performance, at St Martin’s College of Art in London. The performance was cut short and a fight broke out.

40 years ago (11 Nov 1975)
Angola gained its independence from Portugal and immediately began a civil war which continued (with some interludes) until April 2002.

40 years ago (16 Nov 1975 – Jun 1976)
The Third Cod War between Iceland and Great Britain. Icelandic victory. Iceland retained its recently introduced 200-mile exclusion zone, severely damaging the British fishing industry which was already in decline.

40 years ago (20 Nov 1975)
Death of General Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator (1939–75). Juan Carlos I became King 2 days later.

30 years ago (15 Nov 1985)
The Anglo–Irish Agreement was signed in Dublin by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish President Garret Fitzerald. It gave the Irish Government a consultative role in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

30 years ago (18 Nov 1985)
The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson was first published. (It ended in December 1995.)

30 years ago (19 Nov 1985)
US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time at a superpower summit in Geneva, Switzerland.

25 years ago (7 Nov 1990)
Mary Robinson became the first female President of Ireland.

25 years ago (7 Nov 1990)
Death of Lawrence Durrell, Indian-born British novelist, poet, playwright and travel writer. Known for his series of novels The Alexandria Quartet.

25 years ago (12 Nov 1990)
Crown Prince Akihito, eldest son of Emperor Hirohito, was formally enthroned as Emperor of Japan.

25 years ago (21 Nov 1990)
The Cold War ended as leaders of NATO and Warsaw Pact states signed the Charter of Paris and a treaty on conventional forces in Europe.

25 years ago (23 Nov 1990)
Death of Roald Dahl, British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, and more).

25 years ago (28 Nov 1990)
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher formally resigned following her announcement on 22nd November. John Major succeeded her.

20 years ago (28 Nov 1995)
The 55 mph federal speed limit was abolished in the USA (effective from 8th December). Individual states became free to set their own maximum speed limits – typically 65 or 70 mph, but 75 mph in a few states. (The 55 mph limit was introduced during the 1974 Middle East oil embargo.)

10 years ago (22 Nov 2005)
Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.

10 years ago (24 Nov 2005)
The Licensing Act 2003 came into effect in England and Wales. It introduced flexibility to pub opening hours, with the potential for 24-hour opening.

10 years ago (27 Nov 2005)
The world’s first partial face transplant was carried out in France. The patient, Isabelle Dinoire, had been mauled by a dog.


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What If…? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for May

Monday, 4 May 2015

Welcome to the new and improved ideas4writers blog!

You’ll notice some definite improvements this month. The first improvement is that we’ve expanded the monthly list of What Ifs from ten per month to one per day – so here are 31 for May.

If you need more, please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. the vast majority of people suffered from suicidal tendencies?

2. there was a good reason why UFOs crashed on Earth?

3. a failed writer shook hands with as many successful writers as he could meet, crushing their bones so they couldn’t write any more?

4. everyone drove their cars like dodgems/bumper cars/Mario Kart?

5. every word in the dictionary was misspelled?

6. the meaning of every word in the dictionary was incorrect?

7. someone published simple instructions that guaranteed endless wealth – and you were the only one who did/didn’t follow them?

8. having been told it’s better to give than to receive, you gave all your money and assets to charity and were made bankrupt?

9. the idea of heating/cooking food had never taken off?

10. electricity had never caught on?

11. your favourite sports team was cursed?

12. we found a brand new resource on Earth that we could exploit?

13. you didn’t like any TV show?

14. you couldn’t read?

15. you couldn’t write?

16. fiction was outlawed because it was “lies”?

17. everyone knew everything?

18. no one knew anything?

19. there was no such thing as news; everything was covered up or declared a secret by the government?

20. the occult was outlawed – and that included things like TV listings and planning schedules because they foretold the future?

21. guardian angels were as solid and visible as living people?

22. you found out that you had only been born because your parents wanted to harvest your organs for spare parts?

23. you couldn’t use touch screens?

24. there was a war on; maps were banned and destroyed; GPS was switched off; and no one was allowed to give directions?

25. all public transport was free?

26. the government’s attempt to persuade more people to become doctors worked too well and everyone abandoned their careers to join the medical profession?

27. there was no such thing as ownership?

28. your parents did not allow any books in the house?

29. everyone evaluated their potential partners by their ability to either write poetry or quote it?

30. Britain became a republic?

31. everyone had to take their own ingredients to restaurants, and chefs were expected to cook with them even if they didn’t know what they were and even if some of the ingredients were missing?

– – – – – – –

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and you’ll receive:
Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus our 2017 preview and all future editions)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
Free use of our writing/computing advice line
And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

Website redesign – an update

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Many thanks to those of you who took the trouble to respond to the questions in our last posting.

We’ve since learned that Google’s enforced redesign thing isn’t quite as bad as the media is making out. Apparently Google only pushes us down their search results if you’re searching for us on a phone. If searching using anything with a larger screen the results are (supposedly) unaffected.

We still think it’s worth looking at the design of our site and giving it a revamp. But at least we can now take a little time over it, and get it absolutely right, rather than having to rush out a new site for the sake of it.

After much research over the past week we’ve decided to switch our web design software from Adobe DreamWeaver to Serif WebPlus X8. We already use Serif PagePlus for our book layouts, so it’s a sensible choice – and considerably more affordable than the latest version of DreamWeaver, which now only seems to be available via an expensive annual subscription.

The new software will give us a decent, modern design (but not too different from what we currently have) and it incorporates the mobile-friendly stuff that will keep Google happy. It will also allow us to move this blog in-house rather than hosting it on WordPress – we’ll keep you updated about that. We’ll also be replacing the forum software in our members’ section with a new version, and maybe also adding live chat.

The design changes we’re talking about are all to do with our main website at www.ideas4writers.co.uk, but several people mentioned the design of this blog. The blog’s design will change (hopefully for the better) when we move it in-house later in the year. Some readers were worried that we might stop posting anniversaries and what ifs. We have no plans to do this – they will continue here in the blog. But we are debating whether to continue featuring them on the front page of our main website. What do you think?

We’re still looking at options for the site redesign, so if you have an opinion or can answer the questions we asked in the previous post, please get in touch.

And here’s an additional question: would you like us to add a forum for non-members too?

Next week  … well, can you believe it will be May already? We’ll be kicking off the month with a new batch of What Ifs to stimulate your creative juices.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing work on The Date-A-Base Book 2017, aiming to release it in June. And there’s a new edition of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book coming out straight after that.

We’re redesigning our website – how should it look?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Google says we have to redesign our www.ideas4writers.co.uk website to make it mobile phone compatible. So we thought we’d take the opportunity to give it a thorough makeover, as it’s been several years since the last overhaul. Your thoughts and ideas for the new design would be most welcome.

(Note: we’re talking about the redesign of our main website, not this blog. We’ll sort out the blog another time.)

Here are some things you might like to consider:

Do you find the current site easy to use?

Is it easy to buy things?

What would make it easier?

What would you like to see on the front page?

Do you ever use the anniversary lists or what ifs that are on the front page, or should we remove them?

Would you like to see something else on the front page instead?

Do you like the cartoon-style images on the front page and on the covers of the ideas books, or should we replace them with something more professional?

Should we list every book we sell on the front page to make buying them easier?

For lifetime members only:

Do you ever access the members’ section using a smartphone?

You can post your comments on our blog at ideas4writers.wordpress.com, leave a comment in our Facebook group facebook.com/groups/ideas4writers, email us at mail@ideas4writers.co.uk or post something on Twitter @ideas4writers

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in October 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in October 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for October from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 369 anniversaries for October in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy of the book many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017 but not the events. The full version will be available from June.)

—–

250 years ago (7 – 25 Oct 1765)
The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City. Representatives from the British colonies in North America met to devise a unified protest against the Stamp Act – the first direct tax on Americans.

200 years ago (13 Oct 1815)
Death of Joachim Murat, Marshal of France, King of Naples (1808-15). (Executed.)

150 years ago (10 Oct 1865)
The first successful oil pipeline in the USA began operating, in Pennsylvania. The Van Syckel pipeline was 5 miles long and could deliver almost 2,000 barrels per day to the Miller Farm terminal.

150 years ago (11 Oct 1865)
Morant Bay rebellion, Jamaica. Paul Bogle led 200 – 300 black people into the town, marking a major turning point in Jamaica’s history.

150 years ago (18 Oct 1865)
Death of Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (Lord Palmerston). British Prime Minister (1855-58, 1859-65).

150 years ago (27 Oct 1865)
Birth of Charles Spencelayh, award-winning British artist. A favourite of Queen Mary.

100 years ago (3 Oct 1915)
Pleasant Valley earthquake, Nevada, USA. The strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state. No casualties were reported.

100 years ago (4 Oct 1915)
Dinosaur National Monument was established on the border between Colorado and Utah, USA.

100 years ago (14 Oct 1915)
World War I: Bulgaria joined the Central Powers and declared war on Serbia.

100 years ago (14 Oct 1915)
World War I – the Battle of Loos (France) ended. Result: stalemate. This battle marked the first British use of poison gas (chlorine), though it was ineffective and actually gassed more British troops than Germans.

100 years ago (15/22 Oct 1915)
Birth of Yitzhak Shamir, Prime Minister of Israel (1983-84, 1986-92).

100 years ago (17 Oct 1915)
Birth of Arthur Miller, prize-winning American playwright (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, The Misfits). Husband of Marilyn Monroe.

100 years ago (18 Oct – 3 Nov 1915)
World War I – the Third Battle of the Isonzo, Slovenia. Austria-Hungary repulsed an Italian offensive, but both sides suffered heavy casualties.

100 years ago (21 Oct 1915)
The first transatlantic radio-telephone call was made by AT&T from Virginia, USA to Paris, France. (This was the first time speech had been transmitted across the Atlantic.)

100 years ago (23 Oct 1915)
Death of W. G. Grace, British cricketer. Considered the greatest cricketer of all time.

100 years ago (24 Oct 1915)
Birth of Tito Gobbi, Italian operatic baritone.

100 years ago (27 Oct 1915)
Birth of Harry Saltzman, Canadian film producer. Best known for co-producing the James Bond series of films with Albert R. Broccoli.

100 years ago (30 Oct 1915)
Birth of Fred W. Friendly, American radio/TV producer and executive. President of CBS News. Helped establish the PBS network.

80 years ago (3 Oct 1935 – May 1936)
Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Italian victory.

80 years ago (20 Oct 1935)
The Long March ended. Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong and 8,000 followers arrived in Yan’an after a year-long 6,000-mile march.

75 years ago (1 Oct 1940)
The USA’s first superhighway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, was opened.

75 years ago (4 Oct 1940)
World War II: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a war conference at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

75 years ago (7 Oct 1940)
World War II: Germany invaded Romania.

75 years ago (9 Oct 1940)
Birth of John Lennon, British rock singer, songwriter and musician (The Beatles). (Died 1980.)

75 years ago (14 Oct 1940)
Balham underground station disaster, London, UK. A German bomb caused tunnels to collapse while people were sheltering in the station during an air raid. 68 people were killed and more than 70 injured.

75 years ago (15 Oct 1940)
The U.S. première of the Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator. (UK première: 16th Dec. Released: 7th Mar 1941.)

75 years ago (16 Oct 1940)
Holocaust: the Warsaw Ghetto was established in Poland.

75 years ago (24 Oct 1940)
The Fair Labor Standards Act went into effect in the USA, limiting working hours, establishing a national minimum wage, and prohibiting oppressive child labour.

75 years ago (27 Oct 1940)
Birth of John Gotti, American organised crime boss. Head of the Gambino crime family in New York City. (Died 2002.)

75 years ago (28 Oct 1940)
The British ocean liner RMS Empress of Britain was sunk by a German U-boat off the west coast of Ireland. There were few casualties, and most of the passengers and crew were rescued. It was the largest liner lost during WWII, and the largest ship sunk by a U-boat.

70 years ago (24 Oct 1945)
The United Nations was formally established, replacing the League of Nations.

60 years ago (26 Oct 1955)
Ngo Dinh Diem became the first President of South Vietnam.

60 years ago (26 Oct 1955)
The first edition of the weekly newspaper The Village Voice was published in New York City, USA.

50 years ago (8 Oct 1965)
The Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) in London was officially opened. It was the tallest building in the UK until 1980.

40 years ago (11 Oct 1975)
The first episode of the sketch/comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live was broadcast on NBC TV in the USA (as NBC’s Saturday Night).

40 years ago (22 Oct 1975)
The Soviet Union’s Venera 9 landed on Venus and became the first spacecraft to send back images from the surface of another planet. Its orbiter began surveying Venus on 26th Oct. (Venera 10 also reached Venus on 23rd Oct, landing on 25th.)

30 years ago (1 Oct 1985)
Riots broke out in Toxteth in Liverpool and Peckham in London.

30 years ago (6 Oct 1985)
Broadwater Farm housing estate riot, Tottenham, London. Metropolitan Police constable Keith Blakelock was killed – the first British constable to be killed in a riot since 1833.

30 years ago (17 Oct 1985)
Britain’s House of Lords ruled that doctors could prescribe contraceptives to girls under 16 without parental consent. (Gillick case.)

25 years ago (1 Oct 1990 – Aug 1993)
Rwandan Civil War.

25 years ago (3 Oct 1990)
East and West Germany were officially reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany. This day is now celebrated annually as German Unity Day. Germany’s reunified parliament held its first meeting at the Reichstag in Berlin the following day.

25 years ago (8 Oct 1990)
Britain joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

25 years ago (13 Oct 1990)
Death of Le Duc Tho, Vietnamese communist politician and diplomat. Joint winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize (declined).

25 years ago (14 Oct 1990)
Death of Leonard Bernstein, American conductor, composer and pianist. Noted for his flamboyant conducting style and prodigious talent. One of the first U.S. conductors to receive worldwide acclaim. Composed the music for the stage and film musical West Side Story.

25 years ago (15 Oct 1990)
Apartheid: South Africa’s Separate Amenities Act was repealed.

20 years ago (3 Oct 1995)
The O. J. Simpson murder trial ended. The American football star and actor was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

20 years ago (16 Oct 1995)
The Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C., USA.

20 years ago (28 Oct 1995)
Baku Metro fire, Azerbaijan. About 300 people were killed and 265 injured in the world’s deadliest subway fire. It was blamed on an electrical fault caused by outdated equipment, but some commentators say it was sabotage.

10 years ago (8 Oct 2005)
Kashmir earthquake. About 100,000 people were killed, 138,000 injured and 3.5 million made homeless in the earthquake which affected Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, western China and Tajikistan.

10 years ago (18 – 26 Oct 2005)
Hurricane Wilma, the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, caused massive damage worth $29 billion (£18.1 billion) across the Caribbean, Central America and the eastern USA. 63 people were killed.


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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers today for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency)
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You’ll receive:
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What If…? 10 Creative Writing Prompts for April

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of “What If…?” creative writing prompts to inspire you – let’s see what you can do with these!

This selection forms part of what will eventually become Volume 2 of The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you soaked your short story in water and it expanded into a full length novel?

2. you received a ransom note saying your child had been kidnapped?

3. your story became an official cure for constipation because it literally scared the **** out of people?

4. America did not speak the same language as the UK?

5. betting was only allowed on amateur sporting events?

6. weather forecasting was impossible?

7. banks, and all the functions they carry out, were illegal?

8. humans were way down the food chain?

9. all creatures on earth shared the same tissue types and there was only one blood type, so transplanting organs from one type of creature to another (including humans) was a simple process?

10. a radical government ruled that any building over 100 years old was outdated, had no place in the modern world, and should be demolished – with no exceptions?

– – – – – – –

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and you’ll receive:
Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus our 2017 preview and all future editions!)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
Free use of our writing/computing advice line
And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002


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