Previous month:
July 2010
Next month:
September 2010

August 2010

Is it the same hammer?

Over on this thread on WriteWords, children's author Leila Rasheed asked us all do people go back to their draft and change the plot of specific scenes while keeping the function of the scene. I think the difference between the function and the plot of a scene is an important one.... it reminds me of the story about the hammer: a man has a hammer; it's the same hammer that belonged to his great-great-great grandfather. In those years, the head of the hammer has been changed many times, and so has the handle, as they wear out. Is it still... Read more →


A very Itchy birthday

Today's the third birthday of This Itch of Writing, and a good moment to thank everyone who's joined in over the years. I really didn't know, when I started this blog, whether I would find I had anything to say, or anything I wanted to say, let alone whether anyone would want to listen or respond. So it's been a delight to find that I have, and people do. Indeed, it hasn't just been fun: I've thrashed out ideas on here which ended up in my PhD, and your comments have enlarged not just my ideas about writing, but my... Read more →


Writing for radio 8: a streak of evening sun

So now the dust has settled, and my story 'Calling', broadcast on Radio 4, has vanished into the ether (except for me, since I've got a lovely CD of all three Lost in the Lanes stories), and my writing brain's moved on to other projects. But there's no denying that even if I'm commissioned again, it's definitely one of the landmarks that will be visible for a long time, when I look back over my shoulder. So what does the landmark consist of? Some of these are my perceptions, some I gathered from friends who listened. My work read by... Read more →


Two or three ways of thinking about a sieve

I've always read poetry, but it was workshopping other students' poetry at Glamorgan, under the aegis of the likes of Sheenagh Pugh, Gillian Clarke and Tony Curtis, that taught me a bit about how poetry works: most particularly contemporary poetry, where it's so much less obvious what the poet is doing and how they're doing it. The rest of what I know about how poetry works I chiefly learnt from Ruth Padel's 52 Ways of Looking At A Poem. Now I go to readings, and work on poems and poetic techniques as part of developing my prose, and get my... Read more →


How a subordinate adverbial clause of purpose might just help you to sing

A while ago, I was thinking about how the order in which you arrange the phrases of a sentence makes a difference to its effect. And then on the WriteWords forum someone queried whether a sentence like this was good writing: My hand reached out, seeking Adam's rough warmth but finding only the cool sleek linen of the sheets. The grounds for the query were that "finding" implies that the sentence is going to go on with something like "My hand reached out but, finding only the cool sleek linen of the sheets, gave up in despair". Only it doesn't.... Read more →


Writing for radio 7: how I wrote 'Calling'

Now that 'Calling' has been broadcast, and the flurry of flattering Facebook comments and tweets and emails had died down, I meant to do one last post in this Writing for Radio series: how it feels to have your story read on the radio. But then a friend who writes magazine fiction for a living started a discussion of where stories come from, and I realised that actually I haven't been able to talk properly about where 'Calling' came from, because it would have given away the story. So this post is one big plot spoiler, and if you'd like... Read more →


My radio story and other - er - stories...

I was foolish enough to think that when I'd got my new novel off to my agent for her opinion, life would get a bit simpler. In fact, of course, it's got more complicated, as there's a huge swathe of stuff that I put aside to get the novel done, from doing my tax return to booking a holiday, by way of returning my London Library books and even reading a book or six purely for fun. The tax return, in particular, is not only tedious to do, it also gives me a weird sensation that last year is passing... Read more →