Using Your Influence

Writers work on their readers in many ways, their wonders to perform. You can convey information directly, by telling the reader that something is so; you can allude to it symbolically and get them to work it out for themselves, but sometimes it can be quite fun, and...

An Off Piste Polemic

There’s a lovely line in As You like It, where Rosalind says, I am a woman — when I think, I must speak, and I’m finding myself uncharacteristically exercised by something I read in the Observer over the weekend, so although it is straying from my...
Duvet Day

Duvet Day

Throwing a sickie. Streaming cold – my present to everyone for Christmas. Normal service will resume. In the meantime, here’s a wintry door to throw your literary weight against…  

Writing With All Five Senses

When you are working on a story, you tend to rely on two of your five senses: sight predominately, as you seek to create visual impressions of the people and locations you are describing, but also sound — you will have an ear out for your own narrative voice...

Creative Writing — Working Undercover

In writing (as in life?) the most interesting things are usually what lie just beneath the surface.  It’s the stuff you glimpse, that you have to work for in order to reach.  Anything that’s handed to you on a plate can feel as if it’s not...
How to Make Fictional Oaks Grow From Little Acorns

How to Make Fictional Oaks Grow From Little Acorns

We’ve had sleet today and there’s snow forecast, so it’s definitely a good time to hunker down in the warm and do some writing. How’s this for an idea?  Describe a character; flesh out as much detail as you can — appearance, back story,...

Fairy Dust in Fiction

It’s a hoary old chestnut that truth is stranger than fiction, but it seems to me that creative writing would be a dull prospect if miraculous and extraordinary things didn’t happen sometimes in stories. Perhaps that’s why the Magic Realism of...

Don’t Shelve the Opportunity for a Good Read

Two days without blogging. Hmm. Definitely puts me in the could do better category, but I’ve got the cyber equivalent of a note from home because I’ve been spending my time unpacking my books, which is a kind of literary activity all of its own. ...

It Ain’t What You Say…

…it’s the way that you say it, as the song says, and in this instance, the song is right.  To prove this to yourself, write a passage of dialogue between two people.  Keep the speech as neutral as you can and then inflect it with meaning by...

How to Show not Tell

Novice writers are always being given helpful advice about showing, not telling, which means trying to show something happening (>dynamism), rather than telling the reader that it has taken place (>dullness).  If you find this difficult to do, why not try...

Juxtaposition

I was on the Tube this morning and sitting opposite me was a young girl wearing a hijab and reading a trashy mag called Reveal. She made a striking picture, muffled in black, with the title of the magazine blaring out from her lap. The contradiction she presented...