authors · editing · Favourite writers · rereading · work-in-progress · writing life

How To Be Storyish

Storyish is my new favourite word. I heard it last night, when I attended a panel event, hosted by Goldsboro Books, celebrating Agatha Christie. The speakers were Ragnar Jonasson (crime writer and translator of many Christie books into Icelandic), John Curran (Christie’s biographer), James Prichard (Christie’s great-grandson and manager of her estate), and Sophie Hannah,… Continue reading How To Be Storyish

editing · work-in-progress

Where Are the Words?

Imagine measuring the year in terms of sales. You’d start with your brand-new hardback and its trade paperback editions for export or airside, the retailer specific exclusives, and the high-priced ebook. You’d add on the paperback of last year’s hardback, here and abroad. Then you’d include the relaunched backlist, all with a pound added on… Continue reading Where Are the Words?

authors · editing · Favourite writers · work-in-progress

Opening Up and Closing Down Your Writing

It’s been a good summer for reading. Three books have particularly captivated me, all American as it happens: Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Each has brought me great pleasure and offered insights into my own work. Commonwealth is the story of two families blended… Continue reading Opening Up and Closing Down Your Writing

authors · editing · Independent publishing · work-in-progress · writing life

Standing On Top of Your Manuscript

In my editing life, I’ve been using track changes a lot. I’m all for it. It’s efficient – no waiting for manuscripts to thump through the letterbox (or having to collect them, mysteriously shredded, from the post office); no expense of high-level security postage, lest it gets mislaid en route. It’s great for culling repetitions… Continue reading Standing On Top of Your Manuscript

editing · work-in-progress · writing life

On Letting Ideas Have Their Way

So, I’ve started some new writing. You might remember I hold to Joan Aiken’s adage to ‘be mean with your ideas’. But I’m not sure I’m in control after all. I had one idea – a phrase, really; a question – that arose from nowhere but conjured both the world of Minna and Jeff in… Continue reading On Letting Ideas Have Their Way

authors · editing · Favourite writers · Uncategorized

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

After ‘How much do you earn?’ the question most asked of writers is, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Anne Tyler has written 21 novels, so she’s bound to know, isn’t she? ‘I wish I could claim I had ever had an inspiration for a novel!’ Oh. Right. ‘I spend about a year between… Continue reading Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

authors · editing · Favourite writers · Uncategorized

Authors On and Off the Page

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about authors’ and readers’ relationships – partly because of conversations I’ve been having, and because I’m anticipating a very special reissue which has taken me back to one of the most important author friendships of my life – with the late, great Jan Mark. We corresponded for many years… Continue reading Authors On and Off the Page