Tag Archives: Uncategorized

CCWC, Collages and the Peirene Press

Maggie Hamand who runs the Complete Creative Writing Courses, and the Treehouse Press, have collected and edited twenty-one stories from students on Maggie’s courses. The stories will be published under the title COLLAGES in September and I’m thrilled that a … Continue reading

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Second novel, and Cornelia Parker

I’ve just delivered my second novel to my agent for submission to publishers … and I’m about to plunge back into my third. It’s an exciting full-of-possibilities time and I wish the novel well out there in the real world. … Continue reading

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Dying Matters

It’s Dying Matters Awareness Week and, as Iris Murdoch said (she’s quoted on the Awareness Week page): Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved. I think – although everything changes in the writing of a novel – but at … Continue reading

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Jacob Ross (and TLC)’s three-part master class, and campanology

Jacob Ross is running a three-part master class in writing the short story, the novel and genre fiction for the wonderful TLC (without whose wise criticism I doubt Speaking of Love would ever have found a publisher). The short story part … Continue reading

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Breaking writing rules, and an extraordinary National Trust house

On Tuesday, at the last CCWC Advanced Writing Course of the spring term (where, by the way, is spring?) we broke the rules and found that, in breaking them, a freedom and spontaneous playfulness broke into our writing. If, for … Continue reading

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Love, from the hert, for Valentine’s day

Charles Duc d’Orleans (1394-1465) wrote this love poem for his wife, in 1415, after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt:   Go forth, my hert, with my lady; Loke that we spare no business To serve her with such lowliness, … Continue reading

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The making of character

Sometime last week I heard part of an interview with John le Carre about the making of character. This is what he said: You can’t actually make up a character out of other people, you simply can’t. You grab the … Continue reading

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Free indirect style, and the CCWC

I’ve struggled to understand free indirect style, let alone how to use it in fiction. But in James Wood’s brilliant How Fiction Works all is made wondrously clear through his lucid prose. As he writes, on page 11: Thanks to free … Continue reading

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Modern Etiquette …

… at the turn of the century before last. Published by Frederick Warne & Co., (also publishers of Beatrix Potter’s work) in 1870 and reprinted many times since, Modern Etiquette is invaluable for a glimpse of the codes of behaviour people … Continue reading

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Second novels

Stephen Fry wrote (I found it here, thank you Lydia Netzer, although I couldn’t find it directly from him): The problem with a second novel is that it takes almost no time to write compared with a first novel. If I … Continue reading

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Searching for the Secret River

I’ve just finished reading Kate Grenville‘s Searching for the Secret River: it’s brilliant, and a must-read for anyone who writes historical fiction (my second, about-to-be-redrafted, novel is one of those). Searching for the Secret River is a kind and wise book … Continue reading

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Personal best

It’s the stories behind the gold medals at London 2012 that have intrigued and heartened me because they apply not only to sport, but to anything we each choose to do or to be or to become. In writing, it … Continue reading

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Beyond the Border …

… is the name of a magical storytelling festival held at St Donat’s Castle in south Wales every other year. It takes its name from Dylan Thomas’s Poem in October. Here are the second, fourth, fifth and seventh verses: My … Continue reading

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The London Literature Festival …

… looks absolutely wonderful. It runs between 3 -12 July and Noo Saro-Wiwa and Mark Haddon I’d love to hear, but there’s so much, including a debate about last year’s riots in London, writing classes and much much more. And the thing … Continue reading

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And now for the third novel …

… which I’ve just begun. Its working title is FOR THE LOVE OF LIFE. That’s to say I’ve begun thinking about it, dreaming on it, planning it and writing a chapter or two (mostly because the writers’ group I belong to … Continue reading

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On this centenary of the tragic sinking of RMS Titanic

My great-grandmother, Noël Rothes, set sail from Southampton on RMS Titanic on 10 April 1912. She was one of 2,224 passengers and crew bound for New York. She was also, very luckily for her, one of 712 who were saved. … Continue reading

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No news … is good news?

My agent sent my second novel out to publishers on the 3rd of February and has given them until the 29th (that leap year day) to respond. So, perhaps an editor will ask me, or more to the point my … Continue reading

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A new novel for a new year

And so, in the days between Christmas and the dawn of 2012, I reread my second novel and revised it (yes, again, it is truly necessary and all part of the work of a writer) and then, on Sunday, 8 … Continue reading

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I don’t teach creative writing …

… I teach patience and stubbornness. So said Richard Bausch, who writes as well as teaching writing. Without patience and stubbornness a writer of fiction would die (fictionally speaking). We need patience while we dream up our characters and discover … Continue reading

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Rewriting WRITTEN in WATER, Part 2

I thought perhaps my wonderful editor might have sent me her report on the final draft of WRITTEN in WATER by the beginning of this week, but because she is a careful thoughtful editor it won’t be with me until … Continue reading

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