Either/Or/Or I am guessing you are one of three sorts of writer. Does this sound like you? You have hundreds of ideas. You have dozens of opening sentences. You have lots and lots of half-stories. You have a few stories that have even reached what you once hoped was the end, but which turned out merely […]
Today, some good news – a short story of mine, ‘Impatience,’ has been longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. It’s the impatient version of my novel, Patience, which will come out in August 2019. The story is very similar, in both, but also – I hope – radically different. Readers who are curious about […]
Audio and video, good lord.
You may have heard that common piece of advice from Creative Writing workshops ‘Show, don’t tell’, and you have have wondered what it meant. Or you may know. Here is an example of telling – Sara was born in May 1996. Ten years later her mother published her first novel. It was called Jumping Jumping. There […]
Welcome back. You have three characters you’ve been writing about – the child, the grown-up and the person in disguise. Perhaps you based them on people you know. Or maybe you made them up from scratch but have been getting to know them better just through writing about them. In this Lesson I’m going to […]
Exceptions In all these Lessons, I’m going to make some very strong statements about what stories need and how they work. There are exceptions. I know this. There are always exceptions. And you can spend your time trying to think of those exceptions. ‘But what about…?’ Or, you can take my statements on trust. You […]
Welcome to the Starting to Write Course. Thank you for at least taking a look at it. The aim of this Course is to get you writing and reading with energy, to help you avoid some painful mistakes, and to show you how you can rapidly improve your short stories. I always tell my students […]
‘Defeat, and the vulnerability of admitting defeat is perhaps necessary to the tone of non-fiction.’
Some words on life-writing, time-envy, and getting the tone of your memoir right.
Let’s start, and stick pretty close to, the reading I asked you to do – Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory; the opening chapters. Why did I choose this? No, let’s evade that for a moment – Why did I choose to talk about Sentences today? Last year, my lecture was on Sensibility […]
I don’t think you’re going to like this. It’s probably going to hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, there’s a problem. As part of your coursework, you’ll have read Flannery O’Connor’s essay ‘Writing Short Stories’. She begins by saying this: ‘I have heard people say that the short story was one of the most difficult […]