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When Writing Won’t Come – A Pig of a Post

So you want to start writing, but you don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you have started, and now you’re having a pig of time? You feel stuck, blocked and can’t come up with another word. Staring at the blank page or screen won’t do it, neither will reading about writing. (Although of course you should read what I write …

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Tips on How to Use Adjectives Effectively in Fiction

 Adjectives are like swear words. The more you use them the less impact they have. Is there a rule of thumb for how often we should use adjectives in a piece of writing? The unhelpful answer is: not really. But let’s think about swearing again. Here’s a piece of purple prose with the adjectives removed and replaced with: “swearword.” (You …

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Find Your Own Writing Process

I’m a member of a few writing groups – all online though in the past I’ve been in some off-line ones too. One topic of conversation that crops up over and over is the writing process. I find the writing process fascinating, and I also find our obsession with it fascinating. In particular, I’ve been thinking lately about that elusive …

The Friday Review: The Economist Style Guide

A book on writing by The Economist magazine may not seem the obvious choice for someone who mainly writes fiction. And yes, I am pretty sure The Economist Style Guide is primarily aimed at writers of articles. Nevertheless, I found it useful. Now in its 10th edition, the book was first published in 1986. Each new edition is updated to …

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The Friday Review: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Although The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has similarities to the books about the writing process that I’ve reviewed so far, it also has significant differences. For Cameron, as well as Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg writing is process of becoming conscious. None of them tell you how to create the perfect plot that will propel you to fame and …

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Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: A Review

At first, Bird by Bird seems a strange title for a book about writing. And, well, yes it is. Possibly if it was about to be published for the first time today its publisher would have demanded a new title, something more search-engine friendly. Thankfully, in 1994, when Anne Lamott’s book first arrived on the shelves of booksellers, the internet …

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Review of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

When my children were younger one of their favourite questions to ask was, “What’s your favourite…?” Colour, animal, type of chocolate, singer, television series that I never watched but they did – it didn’t matter what it was, they wanted to know my favourite. And I’d sit there, saying, “Um… I don’t know. I don’t really have a favourite.” “But …

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How to Edit Your Fiction: Reworking a First Draft

Are You Afraid to Redraft? First, if you feel nervous or resistant to changing your draft, know that’s normal. But it doesn’t mean you should give in to that resistance or fear! Having been in writing groups, and having taught Creative, I’ve seen first drafts from many people.  And guess what? We all tend to make the same sorts of …