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Digging for Gold

I came up with a writing joke this week, which made me feel both happy and vindicated (I'll explain why in a minute.)

What part of writing would I be teaching if I put up this slide? 

dire log.JPG

A clue - it's a really very poor piece of timber, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, why did this make me so cheery? 

It's because I was planning the teaching I've got coming up over the summer. And I was going to base much of it on the tried and tested methods I've used before. 

But something wasn't feeling... Read more

The Privileges of Writing

One of the great privileges of being a writer is how much people are willing to share with you. 

Whether it's discussing a subject they know about, or details of their lives, I've always been surprised how forthcoming they can be. 

Take this example - 

I was sitting in a pub this last week, as I do, staring into space, as I do alot, thinking about something, as I do alot alot, when an older couple politely wandered over for a chat. 

I sensed they had something to share, and the lady produced an iPhone, deftly manipulated it with all... Read more

Skipping Rope Paradigm Shift

One of the breathtaking moments of life can come with a paradigm shift. 

We use it in writing all the time - the bad guy through and through, who turns out to be a hero (think poor old Snape in Harry Potter), or vice versa (The Usual Suspects), or anything similar. 

I had a milder, but still lovely paradigm shift this week courtesy of an unusual inspiration - 

roPE blog.JPG

No, it's not some torture implement I keep handy, before you ask. 

I was doing a bit of throwing out and discovered a skipping rope. Given my... Read more

Observations

A writer's life is all about watching and listening, thinking and feeling. 

I love being an observer of life, but that comes with a drawback. It can get distracting. 

Witness this date I couldn't help but notice in one of my local pubs this week. 

I was trying to get on with some proper work (writing an exercise on dialogue for my teaching this summer), but found the couple next to me far more diverting. 

I won't include a picture this time, for obvious reasons, but thought I'd set out my observations as a list of the good and the... Read more

A New Year Exercise

The turning of a year is often a time for reflection.

So I thought I'd air a brief musing to help - 

I'm fortunate enough to have been invited to do some more teaching of writing in 2017. And one of the courses is going to be on advanced characterisation. 

Here's a simple exercise I plan to include, which works well for writers getting to know their imaginary friends, and for... 

Take your character and consider this - 

What do they hope for from themselves in the coming year?

What do they actually expect?

And what do they most fear... Read more