The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman

The Writer’s Retreat is an irregular feature I started back in October 2013, sending writers off to an imaginary scenario of isolation and standing back to see how bonkers they go when cut off from the outside world. My very first resident was poet and novelist Anna Freeman, and with her debut novel The Fair Fight hittingContinue reading “The Writer’s Retreat with Anna Freeman”

The Lure of the Unfinished Ending.

I’m having an unintentional Matthew McConaughey season at the moment (see previous post TV addiction — Food for the Creative Mind), and last night I watched Killer Joe, a dark film where McConaughey plays a deeply sleazy character with such conviction you’d be forgiven for thinking his dubious torso-stripping action/rom/com phase ever existed.  His breakContinue reading “The Lure of the Unfinished Ending.”

This is not a true story

I’ve recently found myself wondering about the real truth behind stories that claim to depict actual events, and if/why it matters.  Anyone who watches a lot of films and TV will have to contend with this question sooner or later, and the series Fargo is a perfect example.  Every episode begins with the words This isContinue reading “This is not a true story”

What it means to be an amateur

Sometimes, if you’re listening and being open to the world around you, messages and lessons will be delivered just when you need them most.  For example, a couple of weeks ago I read an interview with singer-songwriter Banks, where she said, ‘I don’t know what chords I play, but that’s liberating.  I don’t have boundaries.’Continue reading “What it means to be an amateur”

Café Culture for Creatives

I was sitting in a well-known coffee chain this week (the one that sells red velvet cake), drinking an americano and trying to write, but the inevitable happened and I was distracted by the conversations going on around me.  This is an occupational hazard for anyone with a caffeine addiction and fascination for other people’sContinue reading “Café Culture for Creatives”

‘The Writing Process’ Blog Tour

Ever since I started the journey to becoming an independent writer, I’ve been reading about various marketing strategies and ways to be a part of the digital writing age (writing a blog is a really good start, apparently).  I’d heard about blog tours without really knowing what they were about or how to get involvedContinue reading “‘The Writing Process’ Blog Tour”

Google Histories and Survival Strategies

This week I had a whole day — yes, a whole day — to spend on research for the next book.  I did some walking around town, mooning around the garden, lounging on the sofa making notes on my main character, but what took up the bulk of my time was looking up information onContinue reading “Google Histories and Survival Strategies”

Imagining a Brave New World

I am currently at that very exciting but very daunting stage of planning a new novel.  I’m using the word ‘new’ in the loosest sense, because it’s actually going to be based on a novel I wrote about five years ago.  It was rejected by publishers at the time and of course with the benefitContinue reading “Imagining a Brave New World”

The Glitter of the Grade

It’s that time of year again.  The shops are full, the fairy lights are going up, and my students are handing in their submissions before going home for the holidays.  For the next couple of weeks writing may be low on the list of priorities, but when we come back in January, thoughts often turnContinue reading “The Glitter of the Grade”

When The Cupboards Are Full…

There is an element of feast or famine to the writer’s life that can make even the most resilient lose faith.  Particularly for novelists, there will be many years of writing with blind hope keeping them going and determination that not only will they finish the masterpiece, it will also be published and read byContinue reading “When The Cupboards Are Full…”