Writing novels can take you into strange territory. I see the beginning of a novel not only as the start of a journey into my own imagination, but as the start of an adventure into the outside world as well. I’ve learnt that in order to give a novel enough credibility to see it published you can’t guess at the contributions a policeman, coroner, school teacher, or governor would make as characters in a story. You have to go out there and find out exactly what their input to a story would be.
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Because I am researching for the second edition of Becoming A Successful Illustrator I feel I have a finger on the pulse of contemporary illustration. Despite having several books and journals to my name and a sustained career in this area I think it’s simplistic to make absolute announcements about what illustration is as though it were a unified entity to be objectively understood. It’s not. There is no such thing as a typical illustrator either, nor a typical work methodology.
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“Show don’t tell” is an old piece of advice which a lot of tutors use to get their students writing with power and effectiveness. It’s perhaps most important in writing poetry but it’s a useful idea to have in mind when you are writing prose fiction or script. Of course, many famous published writers break the rule, if it can be called a rule, but then the first rule of any art or craft is to be able to follow the rules before you start breaking them. The most commonly quoted example of the “Show don’t tell” advice is what Chekhov wrote to his brother in 1888: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
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These drawings are not about one single moment, but a combination of ideas and experiences, bringing together the most interesting aspects from different sketches to create the final piece.
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For both prose writers and scriptwriters, the question of how to write good dialogue is an important one. Can we listen in on conversations by strangers, and get an ear for the natural ebb and flow of speech? Is it better to study films which are heavy in conversation? Or are novels a good place to see the everyday use of dialogue?
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The news of the passing of one of Finland’s greatest composers was slow to filter out into the world, and even slower for people to get a grasp of the fact that this man, who has been called “A Giant of Beauty”, had actually died. He was 87 years of age and had become one of the leading lights in Scandinavian and Baltic contemporary music over the years. He was a luminary in what is slowly becoming known as the Baltic Spiritualist, or Baltic Minimalist, group.
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