I’m currently writing a collection of short fiction exploring our relationship with animals. When I tell people this, they often ask me if it’s a book for children, and it’s true that many classics of children’s literature feature animals: Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908), E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952) and Richard Adams’ Watership Down (1972) all spring to mind, and if you search online for animal stories, many of the results are stories for children. But thinking about and appreciating the lives of animals shouldn’t be something we associate only with children.
The Cut-Up technique- in which words, or fragments of ideas are combined in random combinations- has a long artistic tradition. It is popularly associated…
The idea is that you can ‘use the site to read and/or write stories that take advantage of the possibilities of the digital medium by building in a lot of randomisation, so that a given story is different each time you load it.’
It’s only since I’ve been regularly reviewing books every month for a magazine that I’ve started to think about how I read, as well as how I write
Although all the artists have fascinating things to say, as a creative writer I prick up my ears when writers are talking, to see if I can pick up any tips, or just have that moment where you think…yes, that’s so true!
Since March is Women’s History Month it seems like a good time to celebrate the work of women writers from an earlier age. Fortuitously, as joint editor of NAWE’s Higher Education Journal, Writing in Practice No 5, I read an article by Sally O’Reilly analysing her approach to writing a historical novel, Dark Aemelia, (Myriad Editions, 2015) about Shakespeare and his relationship with Aemilia Lanyer, a contemporary poet, and a possible identity for the Dark Lady of his sonnets.
Amos Oz, who died in December 2018, has always been an important writer for me, not only because of his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock, but also because of his multi-part solutions to writing, whether it be with reference to subject matter, context, genre or viewpoint.
In a modular story, jumps across the time frame are presumably happening for a reason- to flesh out one character through a new perspective, or to offer contrasting accounts, perhaps in a cat and mouse style story. This demands that the reader conceptually organise what is going on. The way to use time in a modular story will be apparent depending on why you have chosen the modular form!
But one area is often missed. It’s an area of uncertainty I’ve noticed a few students enquire about- and that’s how to handle the time frame. Particularly the transitions between scenes.
A friend once introduced me to some people at a party as a poet, and straight away someone loudly responded with that’s not a job!
My old school. Well they’ve still got the 11+ but never mind, I’ll go along all the same, do a talk and maybe a workshop. They still sing the Harrow School Song as their school song: the tramp of the 22 men in a single sex girls’ school. Well maybe they are transitioning. After all this is LGBT history month.
What does a poem stand for? What is a poem? What is a poem for? What should a poem be? What should it feel like? What should a poem do? How should it do that? How does a poem relate to the world? Why do you want to write it? What is writing like? Is poetry political? Is all poetry political? How can poetry change the world? How will your poetry change poetry?