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February 2014

January 2014

The Anti-Writing Demon and the Must-Write Demon

These are my names for the two creatures who bedevil (well, they are demons) so many of us, so often. The Anti-Writing Demon conceives his job to be stopping you writing. At the beginning of your writing life he may succeed simply by telling you that your writing is silly, and you’re not entitled to spend the time on it, especially when you’ll only look a fool by exposing your soft underbelly of thought and feeling to the world. Why he’s appointed himself to this job is a question for the psychoanalysts, but what his job is, is simple: to... Read more →

SOMETIMES... 20 things about writing that don't get said often enough

Sometimes less is less and more is more. Sometimes telling a story demands Telling, not Showing. Sometimes only an external, "third-person" narrator will do. Sometimes only far-out psychic distance will do. Sometimes point-of-view needs changing frequently. Sometimes a jump-cut between scenes destroys all the narrative tension. Sometimes present tense is less immediate and more stilted. Sometimes first person is more distanced and less evocative. Sometimes third person can go more deeply into a character. Sometimes only an adjective or three, and an adverb or three, will do. Sometimes long sentences are more fast-moving, more direct, more dramatic than short sentences... Read more →

How do you decide when to share your draft?

I've blogged before about how to give feedback, and how you decide when it's time to stop revising. I've even suggested 16 Questions to ask a critique and a critiquer. But how do you decide when to share your draft? Some show their partner every day's work: the writerly equivalent of the cinema's dailies. Some don't show a soul their first or even their tenth draft. Most of us are somewhere in between, but the what and when and who are still worth thinking about:. Are you thinking of sharing a crazy first draft? The plus is that you might... Read more →

19 Questions to Ask (and ask again) about Voice

First of all a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the readers of This Itch of Writing. May your resolutions be resolved, your writerly shadow never grow less, and your infinitives split precisely how you want them to be. And since New Year has a way of prompting thoughts about the work-in-progress, or the work-not-yet-in-progress, here are some of mine, for that happy little window when the last family person has gone but the first work colleague hasn't yet arrived, and you can actually get some writing done. *** One of the challenges of a big writing project is finding... Read more →