Writers are creatures of comfort, rituals and rhythms that we are loathe to break. There’s a fair logic behind many of these: getting stuck with writers’ block is a nightmarish hell, akin to having all your sinuses block up simultaneously while also being creatively constipated. These little tricks are our last defence against the dark. Continue reading
Will it be published? Probably not, novellas are often considered too short. Will it make you the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? Hard to say, if you’re extremely lucky, then perhaps. Though you might as well start playing the lottery if that’s your goal. What a novella will do is probably give you a sense of accomplishment. And hey, you can still refer to it as a “book”, so what if it’s a small one?
The division between STEM and Art is often explained by something inherent, something natural, not nurtured. That some people have logical brains that can compute large amounts of data, and some people have artistic brains that output illogical, beautiful creations into the world. Some people are right-handed, some left; some people are scientists, some are artists. That it has nothing to do with want and everything to do with natural talent.
This idea is poisonous, not least in the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the human experience, but also in that it’s so wrong it stops us thriving in our chosen careers. Continue reading
Writing outlines is all good. Writing each day is even better. Finishing your writing is where it gets really hard.
There’s excitement when you start writing something new, and it doesn’t even have to be a novel! It could that pesky essay, or a poem or a short story. This also goes for all sorts of art: music, painting, sculpture, dance. Continue reading
I must’ve been about eight when I planned my first ‘lesson’.
Lesson objectives were laboriously detailed in a little notebook. I would tinker around on whiteboards with mind-maps. The register was meticulously checked, even when the only ‘students’ in attendance were my stuffed animals (and thus the actual process of calling the register was rendered somewhat redundant). I was young, bright, and in love with learning – and more importantly, in love with teaching. Continue reading
We must move beyond simple claims that writing ‘gives voice’, or is a form of ‘expression’. Language is both before and after the fact: it comes as retrospection and speculation. And its politicization runs deeper than mere content, the surface upon which many young writers roam and remain. We must look at the container that holds the water. Continue reading
Screenwriting is a discipline most of us are unacquainted with before going to university. You may have a sound knowledge of film or television, know your Vertigos from your Borgens or your Mudbounds, and never have encountered a single screenplay. This is normal. Starting-out in screenwriting only requires ideas, and the drive and imagination to visualise them. Continue reading
The hardest part of getting your work published in literary magazines is not the submission process or finding the magazines, or even finding the inspiration: it is the motivation to start, and beyond that the motivation to keep going once the rejections start to pile up in your inbox. The same inbox that you cannot bring yourself to make a special email folder for because of the thick income of template ‘unfortunately, the piece is not for us’ from editors. Continue reading
Not for the first time, it started with the creation of a world.
In that world you have dragons, flying cities, moving mountains and talking cats. You raise your eyebrows at the word “wizard” and instead create a unique magic system like the industry has never seen before. Your knights are men of honour, integrity and emotion. Yet all three of your points of view are male. Continue reading
I haven’t written anything in months, and I think that puts me in the perfect position to hand out writing advice, and to dictate the do’s and don’ts of the craft. I’d like to talk about a phrase that gets passed around a lot in writers’ circles and is often mistakenly taken literally:
Write every day.