"To write anything worth reading you have to put everything you have into every sentence. There can be no lazy thinking, no clichés, no borrowed tropes, no third-hand experience; there can be no hiding.” Miranda Darling
Posts tagged "creative writing"
Look to nature

Look to nature

Writing fiction – especially during the early, inspiration-seeking moments – requires establishing your personal preconditions for creativity, and preparing to inhabit different states of being. Each element of the writing process has its own energy and it helps to recognise what stage you are at, and what you need to draw inspiration from to move...
One person trying to be three or four

One person trying to be three or four

Not many of my days are the same but the range they cycle through remains consistently varied. Let’s take a random sample, say, yesterday, and see what happened in 24 hours of my writing life… Weather: 15 degrees and torrential rain. Bondi Beach, Edge of the World. It hasn’t stopped raining for four days, the sort of water-sheets you only get...
Mudlarking for mannerisms

Mudlarking for mannerisms

It’s I Spy meets solitaire: a solo diversion that helps to pass the time in doctors’ waiting rooms and tedious meetings. I’ve done it in train carriages and post office queues; sitting on an undersized plastic chair before the curtain rises on a school nativity play. I thought everyone did. But I’ve come to understand...
Ten commandments for happy writing

Ten commandments for happy writing

Eve Ainsworth’s debut adult novel Duckling tells the story of a young woman called Lucy (a.k.a. Duckling) who keeps herself to herself on a towering housing estate. Lucy’s daily routines are interrupted when a new neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – but doesn’t come back. Suddenly...
It started with a chair

It started with a chair

I’d been swimming in the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath and was walking home along the lane, stomping colour back into my toes, when I bumped into a lifeguard friend who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks. When she isn’t at the pond, she’s usually making giant sculptures, weaving willow into stunning shapes. But...
Ink blots in the trunk

Ink blots in the trunk

Every aspiring writer is familiar with the concept of the ‘trunk novel’. This is the novel that doesn’t make it to the bookshelf, but instead gets tucked into a bottom desk drawer or old USB drive after refusing to do what its writer wants it to do. Often it’s the writer’s first attempt at a...
Ten things about writing

Ten things about writing

Any writer is prey to the temptation to hand out writing advice at the least provocation, but I try to refrain most of the time. There is sufficient writing and publishing advice on the internet to equal even the cat photos and pornography. But here are ten things I believe about writing: things I tell...
Author's lunch

Author’s lunch

Inviting an author to lunch is one of the publishing world’s great rituals. Authors receive an invitation four or five times a year. Since there are many authors in one publishing house, that means a lot of lunches. Editors feed their authors like fat misanthropic cats they’re hoping to butter up and make purr. The...
My opposite hand

My opposite hand

From the day I learned to write until I was 52 years old, I wrote with my right hand. Then, in April of 2018, due to intense repetitive-stress soreness in my right hand and wrist, I began teaching myself to write with my left. I’ll never be the same. I write my first drafts longhand...
Playing God

Playing God

Nikita Lalwani’s latest novel You People poses the tantalising question: in a world where the law is against you, how far would you be willing to lie for a chance to live? Set in London pizzeria where half the kitchen staff are undocumented immigrants, it is a witty and humane snapshot of undervalued lives and...
Spirits and stimulations

Spirits and stimulations

Rosanna Amaka’s The Book of Echoes is a searing debut novel about hope, redemption and the scars of history, narrated by the spirit of an enslaved African who journeys to 1980s Brixton and a sun-baked village in Nigeria, drawing together and transforming the lives of two youngsters who are struggling to hold onto their dreams....
On finding your voice

On finding your voice

When I first started actively pursuing a writing career, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to write: spare and beautiful books set in rural Ireland, miniature domestic tragedies with universal truths at their heart. Possibly there’d be a PWDP (Priest With Dark Past), or a WRAUA (Woman Returning After Unexplained...