An education in writing
Crazy First Draft

All the blog posts I mentioned at York 2012, and a big Thank You

I'm just back from the Festival of Writing at York, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, my post from the same point last year is here, and from 2010 is here. Apart from the usual frustration at having been too busy running my own workshops and doing 1-to-1 book doctoring to sit in on any workshops for myself, it was as much frantic, rewarding, alcohol-and-caffeine-fuelled fun as ever. The ducks were a bit quieter - maybe because it's September, not March - but other than that I'm going to need just as long to recover this time. And if you were at York too, you might like this post of mine, Bewitched, Boggled and... now what?, about coping with the fallout/inspiration of such a weekend.

But one thing I did realise is how large a part of my teaching, talking, thinking about my own writing, thinking about others' writing, networking and general writerliness This Itch of Writing has become. So first I want to say 

Thank You*

to everyone reading this blog, whether or not you were at York, and whether or not you're a beginner writer, a hardened author, an industry pro or just a thoughtful reader - and thoughtful readers, of course, are the most important of the lot; without you no author or agent or publisher or bookseller would have anything to do or bread on the table. It's y'all, the readers of This Itch, who help to make the blog what it is, by going on reading and commenting and saying things that make me think, so that I want to go on blogging.

And in that spirit (and knowing how damn big the archive has got) here are links to as many of the posts that I mentioned in York as I can think of. And if you're reading this and can't see the one you really want to read, mention it in the comments and I'll try to dig it up.

The posts I mentioned most of all:

Psychic Distance (newly revised and expanded on 13th Sept)

Showing and Telling

How to Tell (inform) and still Show (evoke)

The Common Scaffold

Twelve Tools (Not Rules) of Writing

Historical Fiction

Yours to remember, mine to forget (includes the Rose Tremain quote)

The Value of Forgetting

The Real Sixth Sense

Clustering (an example)

Crossing Genres - the perils and pleasures

Taming Your Novel:

The Novel Planning Grid

NaNoWriMo and reasons for Fast First Drafts

Past and Present Tense


Seventeen Questions to Ask Your Novel

and one topic I didn't have time to discuss: The Thirty Thousand Doldrums

The Writer's Voices

What is voice and why does it matter so much?

Narrators and Point of View Series

Speech Tags

Style and Voice - the difference

Miscellaneous posts I mentioned in 1-to-1s, in the foyer, over lunch, in the bar, at breakfast... 

Over-writing: what it is and what to do about it

How to make a quiet, put-upon heroine appealing

How to handle backstory, flashbacks and Stuff from before the novel starts

M L Stedman's The Light Between Oceans is here, Jenny Barden's Mistress of the Sea is here.

Historical Writers Association Forum is here, and the Historical Novel Society is here.

General Resources



* And an extra Thank You to anyone who bought a book, and flattered me by actually wanting it signed.