Explore #WeAreOCA
Skip Navigation
Browsing Category:

writing


Different Incarnations – how writers can have several identities

I started out as a radio writer, doing plays for Afternoon Theatre and a short series called Just Before Midnight, one of which I re-wrote for the stage. I also penned short stories for both radio and magazines under my maiden name, Elizabeth Kay. Writers sometimes feel that things have got a bit stale, so after a while I did an MA, learnt about my least favourite form and became a poet for a bit. Due to the need to make some money (and persuaded by my agent) I started writing rather more racy stuff under a pseudonym.

Read More

The novel took over: Writing for Surprise

Has your writing ever surprised you? Have you ever looked at the sentence you’ve just written and been moved to laugh, cry, or seek out a professional that you can talk to about it? The art of surprise is something that writers have learned to harness, whether it be the twist in the whodunnit or the turn in the sonnet, and it’s a part of the writing process that should not be underestimated, and we all know the powerful effect a good surprise can have on us as a reader. 

Read More

The writer’s role in climate emergency

It’s all too easy to feel impotent when it comes to saving the planet. We can recycle, take the bike to work, have our meat-free Mondays – and even go on a march. As writers we can use biodegradable pens, recycled paper and search engines that put their profits towards planting trees. But deep down, we fear our individual efforts are a drop in the plastic-choked, over-fished, polluted ocean. But I’m here to try to inject a little optimism. Because individual writers, and artists of any kind, can do something huge. They can change the way we think. The arts make us empathic to the plight of others and they can make us change what we do, every day.

Read More

Writing on music: How to improve your writing

Every assignment on the Music Degree requires some form of written work; whether through listening and learning logs, critical reflections, or essays. Cultivating an academic writing style is often a long, difficult process and it wasn’t until I had finished my PhD that I believed my prose was of an acceptable standard. In assessing work at OCA, I have encountered a number of common problems with student submissions; in this blog post, I will deal with issues of verbosity and lack of clarity. I frequently read essays where far too many words have been used; where sentences are so overlong that they become confusing. Fortunately, these issues are easy to fix! 

Read More

Dusty manuscripts and half-burnt newspapers

‘Sounding like yourself isn’t always the effect you want to go for.’

Read More

Changing your writing space – if you’re lucky enough to have one.

When I started out, I wrote on the kitchen table. The amount of time spent clearing a space, and then tidying everything away, ate into my writing time. Not to mention wiping off the marmalade that transferred itself to every available piece of paper. I graduated from the kitchen to a shared office with my husband, which wasn’t ideal as he was a lot untidier than me. Eventually, after moving house (and husbands) I finally had an office of my own, and I began to think about what makes the ideal writing space.

Read More

Writerly life advice: Writing retreats for beginners

A writing retreat is one way of giving yourself time and space to write, and committing to writing more seriously. It’s also an increasingly popular thing to do, perhaps because our working lives leave us little time to be creative, so taking enforced time out in a place where the laundry and the washing up are not going to be causing distraction can be a good way to really put the hours in on a particular project. With that in mind, I have a few pointers to help you to choose a good writing retreat, and to help you make the most of it once you’re there.

Read More

The Writer’s Workshop – What to Expect

This post, in a lot of ways, relates to my previous writing about how to get your poetry out there, because it’s yet another way of sharing your work as a fledgling writer, and something of a rite of passage for many writers of various genres.

Read More

Writing about art, possibly for the first time.

Last week I attended a day course at the Whitechapel Gallery called ‘Writing about Art’ it was led by author of the little red book of near enough the same name – Gilda Williams. It was a loaded day full of useful tips and advice and importantly diminished our pre-conceived ideas of what good art writing should look like.

Read More

Quiet and loud narrative voices

One of the choices a writer has when telling a story is with their narrative voice. Although the voice can manifest itself in different ways during the course of a story, the premise remains central. The narrative voice has to grip onto the attention of the reader and maintain it throughout the story. But this is not an easy task to achieve.

Read More