Writing in the dark

Do it, just do it. After the not-knowing, but vowing my trust that it would come, ideas for Next Book are pouring out. But all higgledy-piggledy (Happy Year of the Pig, by the way). How to tame, how to order. I don’t know, but keep on writing. It doesn’t matter. Get the words on paper, fix them later.

I now have three different starts for this novel. Have already diverted a fourth to be used further on. One challenge is to know the back story, but provide it later. Get into the story, the voice, the action. Get the characters talking to each other: Lo! They become people! And anyway it will all get moved around when I am much further in — so interesting to find out what is going to happen next!

Meanwhile heartening news, agent A has read all of A Body of Knowledge, and we meet this week! She misses the characters, we are plotting our path together, and I’ll be able to tell her of characters to come…

 

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Hemingway’s House and Rewriting

Writing and where you do it
Jaq Hazell’s been there done that, and created My Life as a Bench as well!

JAQ HAZELL

Writing and particularly finishing a novel is never easy (not for me, anyway) and I’m always interested in any clues from the greats about how they did it, and that’s one of the reasons I love a literary pilgrimage.

In the UK, I’ve visited many houses with literary connections, such as: Jane Austen’s house near Alton, Dickens’ Portsmouth birthplace, Kipling’s mansion, the Brontes’ parsonage in Haworth, Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, Thomas Hardy’s Max Gate, Agatha Christie’s Devonshire hideaway and Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse.

IMG_6049Last summer I ventured further afield, and after the full-on, money-draining, sensory overload that is Disney, Orlando, headed south on a road trip to Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West. This was the home he shared with his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer. It’s a beautiful French Colonial style mansion full of six-toed cats (descended from Hemingway’s own polydactyl cat, Snow White). The house was a wedding gift from Pauline’s uncle…

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Born a Writer?

Excellent advice and tips from Charlotte both on judging a writing competition and on protecting your own writing life. Thank you, Charlotte!

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

I often judge writing contests, both non-fiction and poetry. Recently, I judged the North Carolina Poetry Society’s annual contest in the haiku category. Although it was blind judging, and the winners’ names still haven’t been revealed, I’m sure the winners worked hard to perfect their haiku. Passionate writers work hard at producing quality writing.

It always irks me when some authors, many of whom  teach, make the comment that one is a born a writer. When we were of school age, we learned spelling and composition and basic writing skills. In adulthood, we write letters and memos in the course of our day.  But we are not born writers. I’ve never read about a writing gene. And, even if we interpret that statement loosely to mean that we are born with skills such as observation–part of being a writer–then we need to qualify it by stating that our writing skills…

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Your Responses: Why You Write Poetry

Why haiku? So glad Charlotte asked. And I’ve added this summer season’s haiku to the ‘so still’ page.

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

This post is in response to my question to readers and followers on why they write poetry. I hope you enjoy it and that it gives you insights and inspiration.

And, to those poets who took the time to respond, many thanks.

Susan Lee Kerr

 When a haiku moment arrives, that is a heightened or deepened awareness, I need to catch it, a kind of mindfulness-in-action. And I want to convey it, to share that moment. Then the crafting into words, the catching and conveying itself, is an inner finding, deeply renewing, regrounding, calming. I used to write other poetry too, but now it’s haiku only. And prose — have just published The Extraordinary Dr Epstein, the true life of a remarkable 19th century immigrant, told as a novel… he’s my great grandfather, physician, farmhand, ship’s surgeon, founder of South Dakota University. From my long time as a…

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Creative Writing Short Session

Many thanks for this Lynn, delighted the Matrix book helped you. Hope it’s a brilliant session — share how it went!

Hop Aboard

I am about to give my first ever Creative Writing Session, as part of the staff development day at work. I have been using the wonderful Creative Writing: the Quick Matrix: Selected exercises & ideas for teachers by Susan Lee Kerr to help me prepare. Even though I have been at the chalk face for 30 years,  I am still apprehensive about starting a new training session.

Ms Kerr has produced a wonderful book which is full of great tips on how to set the classroom up, limit the amount of extra work you do, deal with students and get started on your creative writing course. Reading through chapter one has proved very instructive. I like her ideas on how to structure the course – they are very informative and helpful.

Following her advice, I am going to start with a brief introduction of myself as a writer.Then do…

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What I Learned from Famous Writers at London Book Fair

Good stuff right from the coal-face of writing, from Jaq Hazell.

JAQ HAZELL

IMG_4276 (1)London Book Fair always buzzes with big names and LBF16 was no exception. Meg Rosoff, Deborah Levy and Judith Kerr were all interviewed at the English PEN Literary Salon (a designated area away from the publishers’ stands). Sadly, I missed all of the above but I did manage to catch appearances from other successful writers: Jeffrey, Peter and Jeanette. But can you learn anything useful by listening to a half-hour slot from an established name?

First up, I happened to be sitting in the PEN Literary Salon area (meeting a friend) when who should show up behind a wall of press photographers than Jeffrey Archer in a novelty tie (it may have had books on it, but I wasn’t close enough to see).

Archer is brash (often dismissive of press and underlings) and irrepressible. He talked about book promotion rather than writing, and declared himself a “storyteller” rather than a…

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