When I started out, I wrote on the kitchen table. The amount of time spent clearing a space, and then tidying everything away, ate into my writing time. Not to mention wiping off the marmalade that transferred itself to every available piece of paper. I graduated from the kitchen to a shared office with my husband, which wasn’t ideal as he was a lot untidier than me. Eventually, after moving house (and husbands) I finally had an office of my own, and I began to think about what makes the ideal writing space.
A writing retreat is one way of giving yourself time and space to write, and committing to writing more seriously. It’s also an increasingly popular thing to do, perhaps because our working lives leave us little time to be creative, so taking enforced time out in a place where the laundry and the washing up are not going to be causing distraction can be a good way to really put the hours in on a particular project. With that in mind, I have a few pointers to help you to choose a good writing retreat, and to help you make the most of it once you’re there.
This post, in a lot of ways, relates to my previous writing about how to get your poetry out there, because it’s yet another way of sharing your work as a fledgling writer, and something of a rite of passage for many writers of various genres.
Last week I attended a day course at the Whitechapel Gallery called ‘Writing about Art’ it was led by author of the little red book of near enough the same name – Gilda Williams. It was a loaded day full of useful tips and advice and importantly diminished our pre-conceived ideas of what good art writing should look like.
One of the choices a writer has when telling a story is with their narrative voice. Although the voice can manifest itself in different ways during the course of a story, the premise remains central. The narrative voice has to grip onto the attention of the reader and maintain it throughout the story. But this is not an easy task to achieve.
In the second part of this blog I will be discussing how the ‘voice’ of the prose can be put across using the third person. You might think that the third person has such a sense of distance from the character that putting across a ‘voice’ in the text will be hard – even impossible. Not so! It just takes some craft.
I’m not quite sure why this is an issue that has only been coming up recently with students of mine. Perhaps it is because some are now later on in their assignments, and are challenging themselves with new, technical ways to tell a story. But more and more of my students who now write in the third person have been wondering about Point of View.
In part one of this blog I discussed how planning for the story, including the environment it would be written in, set me on…
Whatever our specialisms, as writers, visual artists and musicians, we should all be indebted to John Berger for his strong and thought-provoking ideas. I particularly like the way he called himself a listener and a storyteller.
A short story is a slice of life, so it needs a narrow geographical location and a small number of characters. It takes work…
Last week’s Wikipedia blackout and journalist Johann Hari’s decision not to return to ‘The Independent’ put plagiarism in the news. But plagiarism, imitation, forgery, flattery, call it what you will, the discipline of writing in the voice of another writer is a good way to find your own voice.
Jacky Fleming’s illustrations and cartoons have regularly featured in The Guardian, Big Issue, New Statesman & Society and Independent on Sunday amongst many other…