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June 2011
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August 2011

July 2011

Prologues, and other stories

One of the things about doing Book Doctoring, as I'm doing at the Getting Published conference in October, is that you get to see a lot of beginnings of novels. I'm starting to think that a great many aspiring writers believe that a book isn't properly dressed without a prologue. And, to be frank, most of the prologues I see aren't earning their keep. It's not that they're never the right thing (I have one in A Secret Alchemy, and a sort-of one in The Mathematics of Love), only that usually whatever they're supposed to be doing would be better... Read more →

The Thirty Thousand Doldrums

At the Frome Festival Writers' Question Time (click on Programmes > Frome Festival > Frome Festival 2011 Live Recordings) one question which came up was about keeping going: how do you deal with getting stuck? We all chipped in with our experience, from Debby Holt's Plotting Walk, to Matt Graham's printout of his mortgage payments stuck above the monitor. At one point I mentioned the notorious Thirty Thousand Doldrums: how for some reason, at least to judge by straw polls among my writer friends, round about the 25-30,000 words seems to be the sticking point for many writers. The odd... Read more →

Writers Question Time at Frome, and other stories

Just a quick post - because I'm not here, I'm still in Devon - to say that the two events I took part in at the Frome Festival were recorded by Frome's very own Internet readio station, Frome FM, and can be listened to here. Click on Programmes, and they both appear in the list of New Stuff. (If you're reading this after they've dropped off, just click on Programme > Frome Festival > Frome Festival 2011 Live Recordings) . Scroll down the list of programmes a little, then click on the one you want. I will blog at some... Read more →

Post(card) from Devon

So I'm not really blogging, because I'm buried in Devon at the entirely wonderful Retreats for You. So here, instead, is a little taste of my walk this afternoon (after 2000 words, in front of log fire, before delicious supper NOT cooked by me). Read more →

The Inner Calvinist and the Petrol Pump

I've blogged about procrastination before in terms of the immediate moment, but what's causing it? Why do we fail to get on with the thing we love doing: writing? We've got a lot of our lives arranged around it, and our hopes and self esteem built on it, and if you earn your living as a writer that book you're trying to write underpins everything that pays the rest of the rent. So why is Write so often, actually, Not Write? At least commissioned work has disaster looming if you don't do it, and short work is visibly finite. But... Read more →