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An Essential but Underrated Art

Here's a puzzle. 

I'm often asked to do one to one coaching with writers to hone their novels into shape for publication. 

And this doesn't happen often, thankfully, but it does sometimes occur. 

I do my bit, carefully reading through their opening chapter and thinking about what might be needed to improve it.

Then sit down with the writer in question, take them through my ideas...

And they look at me, and tell me I've got it completely wrong, and I don't know what I'm talking about. 

Now, it's perfectly true I may indeed have got it wrong, and even more possible that I don't know what I'm talking about. 

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A Magnificent Moment

There is a moment that anyone who teaches any subject will probably prize above just about any other.

It's not a student passing an exam, or getting a good mark for an essay, or anything like that. 

Yes, they're important. But this is much more so. 

It's fundamental and profound. Transformational, in fact. The very essence of what the art of teaching is about. 

It's the moment of understanding. 

I had the privilege of teaching all week at the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School - this is the first letter in my A to Z of Novel Writing course, and my lovely group. 

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The Lopsided Writer

Something small, but potentially catastrophic (if you're of a certain melodramatic mindset) happened this week. 

The arm of my glasses broke. 

Is that it? I can hear you asking. What's the fool talking about now? But bear with me -

We've been together since the mid 1990s, as you can probably tell from the style (or lack thereof).

I don't wear them anywhere now, apart from at home, writing - understandably - but they are special to me. 

They're the glasses that helped to write my first book, create my first talk about my books, my first writing teaching, first school careers talk, and so much more. 

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