Complexity in Creative Politics
How far should our writing be political, social, polemical? That’s a tough question for all creative writers whatever their genre. If we’re writing about people, places, events we can’t really avoid any of these even if they are not among our prime intentions.Read More
Facing up to what you really don’t want to try
For decades I was terrified of poetry. It all seemed so incredibly technical and difficult. I didn’t see the point; I wanted to tell a story. So when I did my MA I made myself face up to this and do the poetry module, even though the scriptwriting one beckoned as I’d already had five radio plays broadcast. What’s the point of doing a course if you don’t learn something new? I struggled. It hurt. I came to realise that this was something I had to actively learn.Read More
Reading Proust By Kindle
Last week I bumped into myself near Oxford Circus. Well, not me exactly but a slightly older and much cooler version of my teenage self: strap-hanging in the rush hour with one finger tucked into the first few pages of Proust and with his thumb in the Appendix.Read More
How reliable should your narrator be?
The unreliable narrator can be a very useful concept for the creative writer. Not only for dramatic purposes, but for comedic purposes too. After all, is there a quicker way to engage someone than to make them laugh?Read More
John Berger (1926 -2017) – a lasting influence.
Whatever our specialisms, as writers, visual artists and musicians, we should all be indebted to John Berger for his strong and thought-provoking ideas. I particularly like the way he called himself a listener and a storyteller.Read More
Sandals with socks?
Writing practise is the only way to become assured about your voice, I think. The more you write – and, as important – the more you think about writing – the clearer your voice will shine through, from your thoughts, from your heart, from your soul.Read More
Where should the author place themselves in the text, part 2.
With these blog pieces I hope I have offered some clues as to how the writer can benefit from the choice of person and the position they take in the text. Although ultimately, of course, it is the reader that we hope will benefit…Read More
Making the most of your narrative
The program correctly predicted the top two bestselling titles of all time, suggesting they had features that it would benefit writers to know about. If the analysis of the program is at times difficult to – ahem – decode it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips that us writers can learn from the bestsellers. In this blog I’ll focus upon how we can make the most of our narrative, and The Bestseller Code has some interesting tips on the subject.Read More
Rhythm and rhyme
I’m always amazed when students who have probably mostly grown up with the rhythms of pop music in their ears, say they can’t detect strict rhythms in the poems they read, or reproduce those rhythms in the poems they write. But perhaps if we don’t get used to rhythms through hearing and reciting a lot of nursery rhymes from day one, then it’s harder to recognise and reproduce strict metre when we come to write metric poetry later in life. Without continuous practice from birth onwards we may well lose our sense of perfect pitch and our sense of rhythm.Read More
How travel influences my writing
During my student days I hitch-hiked round Europe, getting as far as Istanbul and meeting interesting people, getting in and out of sticky situations, and becoming more and more hooked on other cultures, climates, scenery, wildlife. It’s only now I’m in my sixties that I’ve had the time and money to pursue my addiction – the gathering of exotic material for my writing.Read More