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It’s like

I am always intrigued by the language writers use to talk about writing. Perplexed, but intrigued. On-line, cyber space is full of talk of the writer’s tool box. All aspects of writing are tools. Not being a dab hand at DIY I routinely use a hammer to crack a nut and a similar approach to writing might be […]

Dark Clouds with a silver lining

I never write much in the summer which is why all my books take place in bad weather. My protagonists are always fighting the damp and the cold as I am when I’m working. They never get to lie about in the sun because when it’s sunny I am too busy seizing the day and replenishing my vitamin […]

Writer’s Block

First of all I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in butcher’s block – I used to have one in my kitchen and plumber’s block – the kind that costs a fortune to unblock in my experience. I even believe in builder’s block the process whereby nothing can happen because the electrician can’t start before the plasterer, […]

Yeah Write

I have spent the last week talking about work, but not actually doing any; I’ve been swanning around being ‘a writer.’ I quite like this as it makes me feel self important and wise and because I can temporarily forget the fact that I am currently stalled on the actual putting words on the page front.. Anyway, in […]

You don’t Say

I have just recently been arguing on line with some writers who think that the only possible speech tag is ‘said.’ I am at that age where I am easily irritated and I am allergic to writing rules of this sort. I am a natural heretic when it comes to style rules and immediately feel obliged to […]

A bout

I am a bout writer; I don’t mean I write about anything in particular, more that I am a lay about for much of the time. I shuffle uncomfortably and look shifty when students or people at parties tell me that real writers write every day. I don’t write about anything at all for months on end. […]


The other day I found myself pontificating about hinged and unhinged thinking. As it happened I was at a party, drink in hand, spouting general gibberish as I am too inclined to do, but unusually and inadvertently I might have said something that is almost true. I need to be unhinged to write or at least to […]

The Leaden mean

What is it about middles? I don’t mean the bit of flab that sits where one’s waist ought to be, but the middle of a novel (where in truth there is often a bit of extra padding where the plot should be.) Normally I like middles – I mean the middle of a sandwich is always the […]

Planning by clockwork

How do you picture a year? A week? I’m very conventional in my imaging I think a week goes up hill, the hardest part being the steep scarp slope of Sunday night when homework has to be done and clothes prepared for the week ahead. Monday morning is pretty steep and then from midday Wednesday it is downhill […]

Worldbuilding for Beginners

In the beginning there was Tolkein and he really did world building: language, geography, history, the lot. I think he is probably the model for the kind of writer who devises a complete world before putting pen to paper, the kind of writer who has notebooks full of background material. I get the impression that JK Rowling did much […]