After a gap of many months, I’ve been able to spend some time on my new book these past few weeks and at last feel as if I’ve returned to it in earnest. I thought about keeping a diary of its progress but instead I’m going to record key breakthroughs. Maybe they’ll chime with your… Continue reading Five Things About My New Book
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
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?
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
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
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
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?