The Law of Unintended Consequences

In a recent post, Warp and Weft, I was flirting with the idea of adding tension and depth to your narrative by contrasting the style of your writing with the subject matter, suggesting for example that you might try dealing with dark material in a light-hearted...

Revealing My Sources….

If you want to keep up-to-date with industry news from within the world of publishing, including snippets of information about which authors and genres are selling well, which editors are on the move and where they are going, or how independent bookshops are faring,...

Relationships (thank you Adam Phillips…)

If you’ve got a situation in your head, a plot that is growing satisfactorily out of it and one or two strong characters who are gradually taking shape, but you are still in the process of teasing out the central relationships, you could do much worse than get...

Getting Started

In a recent post I was chuntering on about how to build the back story of one of your characters — what has happened to them prior to your narrative beginning – and using that as a means to help kickstart your novel or short story.  Brian Keenan (if you...

Warp and Weft

Among the many things which come together to create a good piece of writing (confidence, originality, authenticity, grammar) is something which is often neglected, and that is texture.  It’s one of the additional extras which mark out flair from mere competence...

Where do I begin?

By the time you are picking up your pen, or opening a new word document, presumably you have some idea of the story you are hoping to tell, (or at least an interesting a situation for your imagination to work upon) and there in front of you is the blank page or the...

Authenticity – the Charles Dickens way

In a preface to one of his books — I can’t, at this moment, put my finger on which one — the great Charles Dickens once said, “I have so far verified what is done and suffered in these pages as though I have certainly done and suffered it...

Missing

In the real world, like many writers I’m a reserved and rather shy sort of person. I hate confrontation and when I was a child I was always the first one out of the room when an argument was brewing. To my consternation, I think I sometimes allow this reticence...

Small Presses and Little Magazines of the UK and Ireland

Small Presses and Little Magazines of the UK and Ireland used to be compiled by Peter Finch, who was based at the Oriel bookshop in Cardiff.  It was a fantastic resource — Finch described it as “an address list” but when I googled it, as far as I...

Creative Ambiguity

As a reader, the kind of writing I like best  travels in two directions at the same time: in a linear way, moving along, telling a story, but at the same time travelling down, going deeper, revealing the mysteries of somebody’s personality too. To incorporate...

Rubbing your tummy while patting your head…

The more layers a narrative has, the more satisfying it is — we’re talking scone with clotted cream and jam here, as opposed to, say, ryvita. If you only do one thing at a time, it will take you twice as long to tell your story and the result will be...

The Truth of the Matter

I’ve just sent the first draft of my current novel to my agent, who is fantastic at reading things forensically and has sent it bouncing back with masses of notes and stuff for me to ponder.  The book is set in France and without going into too much detail,...

In thought and deed (never mind what we have left undone)

I had my creative writing group round last night.  I’ve been teaching them informally for about ten years now — we’ve grown and grieved and changed together during that time and the pieces people read out yesterday were moving and amusing, as they...