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Who do you think you are?

It is fair to say that even the relative anonymity of tweeting and blogging still promote the person above the work. I blame Enid Blyton and her children’s tea parties – her fantasy of what a children’s writer should be. For myself I don’t really care who wrote Shakespeare’s work – all I need to know about […]

The writing business

Of course writing is a business and a fairly tough one. In many ways being a writer resembles being an actor, a musician or perhaps a painter: few manage to make a living out of it and most need a second or third string to their bow. I suppose my second string is teaching but […]

Mangling the Language

Today I’ve been thinking about sentences and how to mangle them. In my experience the majority of sentence mangling occurs when writers aren’t sure about what they are doing. I teach from time to time and come across quite a lot of mangling one way or another. Sometimes a student might write a fight scene but hasn’t visualised […]

I’ve just flicked back to read my earlier posts on this blog and have discovered just how cyclical my life is. It may not be governed by the moon, by seasons or by school terms, at least not entirely, but my emotions are as predictable as all three. The New Year always brings determination to work harder, smarter […]

Creative Thinking

I am fascinated by the creative process, particularly when I’m not engaged in it. The more I think about it and try to pin it down the weirder it seems. Do you picture a scene before you write it and then describe what you see or do you bring the scene into being by the act of […]

Reasons to be Cheerful (Part1)

I feel the need to find, Worzel Gummidge like, my Pollyanna head and list some reasons to be cheerful. 1. As an author you can lie in bed with your eyes shut claiming (sometimes legitimately) that you are not dozing but plotting… 2. Cafe Coffee and croissants post JK Rowling are a morally justifiable, if not a […]

Getting to the point

So where do you get your ideas from? I know we all dread the question and, even though I know I’m going to be asked it, I still haven’t come up with a sensible answer. Philip Pullman (note name dropping ) told me and two hundred other people that he bought them at ‘Ideas R Us.’ I want […]

Flaming Stories

I love this http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ and it seems to me that it exposes the essential fearfulness of some of us writers. Don’t get me wrong I am right up there with the biggest cowards. It is my fear that fuels my fiction: fear of the dark and the weird things in it, fear of sharp objects, fire and flood, […]

Sailing through and Ploughing On

There are several things I like about lecturing : I earn a little extra cash ( and I mean a little), I get away from my desk, my dog and my laundry basket and it makes me think. Last week a student confessed to being a farmer not a sailor. I must have looked particularly blank as […]