March 2016

Are writers sadists?

“I think writing about unhappiness is probably the source of my popularity, if I have any-after all, most people are unhappy, don’t you think?” So said Philip Larkin. I’d agree with that. No-one wants to read a happy story about lucky people having a lovely time. We want our heroes to go through torment and then some. Is it because we are all sadists? Or is it because we just want to know there is someone out there having a worse time than us? Actually it’s neither. The reason we want to read about unhappiness is because this drives plot….

How quickly can you write?

How quickly can you write?

I hesitate to say I’ve read everything there is to read about the process of writing a book, because there will always be more to say. Is it better to plan in detail or should you just go for it and fix everything afterwards? Should you list everything there is to know about your characters before you start, or should you get to know them as you write, following the same sort of process as your readers? Each time I am convinced anew that I “should” do it this way. But as I embark on a fourth draft of my…

So many books, so little time

I find myself regarding the ever growing pile of “books to read” and castigating myself for being such a slow reader. ‘What have you read recently? Really? You just slob in front of the telly.’ Well there is a lot of great stuff to watch at the moment, it’s true. Add in all the DVDs I got for Christmas (Ink, Primed, Lord Peter Wimsey complete box set) all the series I’ve become hooked on (The Returned, The Bridge, Spiral, Orphan Black) everything saved on the planner (Vera, Shetland, Canal Journeys – yes I know, but watching Timothy West mishandling 50…

Just a few good reads of 2015

I have to admit to being a bit of a nerd when it comes to books. I like lists of books. I like to hear what other people have read. I’m always interested in other people’s thoughts about their own reading habits. After all, if you want to be a writer, you have to read. A lot. My problem is remembering what I’ve read and where I read it. You know, that excellent bit of characterisation, that fantastic plot structure.. but where was it again? Worse if you use the library or if someone raids your bookcase and doesn’t return…