The Self-Conscious Writer (Review of The Blind Assassin)

Ah, I love the holidays. I’ve been putting off reading The Blind Assassin for ages, simply because I despaired at how long it would take me to read, never mind the extra weight it would add to my bag. A combination of relaxing holiday time, a six-hour train journey to France and a bad back […]

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Make Me Believe

At this time of year, I’m inclined to throw off my cynicism. There aren’t many times you can walk through a crowded train station and have a huge group of stressed passengers, simply smiling at each other as they listen to a band or a choir singing some carols. Giant flashing reindeer may not be […]

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Let Me Clear My Throat

On finding the elusive ‘voice’ we all strive to find in our own writing and to hear in the things we read, and how blogging and non-fiction writing can be the route to hearing the version of yourself that you didn’t know existed. Read the article here.

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100 Books of Me Part II

This second set of books started about a year ago. Now into my course, the shift is obvious. Almost exclusively first novels, my notes are geared towards what I can get out of it from a writing perspective, rather than as a reader. Which is the great thing about books. Maybe your interest is psychology, […]

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Editing Backwards

I find myself in the glorious position of having completed the second draft of my novel. It feels infinitely more satisfying than the first. Then, I knew there was a mountain of work still to be done, endless shuffling about of scenes and ideas, and there was a long road ahead. Already, this one feels […]

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Encouraging Thunder

  Blogging sometimes feels like throwing a pebble into a tunnel/cave (insert metaphor of something large and dark). You tap away, have a flurry of excitement each time you put something up. Dutifully read by friends and family of course, but you’re never entirely sure that it’s reaching anyone else. However, it would appear that the […]

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How to be Both

What are the conditions needed to be truly moved by something? I like to think it’s intensely personal, like falling in love. The intricate web of circumstance, location, what you had for dinner that day, your mood, how difficult it was to get where you were going. All of these elements can combine to produce […]

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The View from the Other Side

I’m trying to write a book with a dual narrative. It seemed like a good idea at the time. When I found myself wading in a sea of post-its, spending three hours on a Thursday afternoon shuffling them around to try and figure out how to intersperse the two stories I’d written independently of each other, […]

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Writing the Unwriteable

So what’s your book about then? It’s the obvious question, once you’ve fessed up to what you spend a large chunk of your time doing. There are several options here. You can keep it vague, although you run the risk of sounding pretentious: It’s about gender identity. You can make it very specific, more about […]

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How Does a Completed First Draft Feel?

It is done. The very last words of the first draft, complete. What a…well, I’m not sure really. In the first case, it’s not actually the first time I’ve got to the ‘end’ of it, so to speak. I did that a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve read back through the whole thing and […]

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