Writing by the Rules (Or Not)

Is it only our greatest writers who are allowed to break the rules of writing? And what exactly are these rules? Mantras such as ‘Show not Tell’ ‘Point of View’ ‘Omniscient Narrator’ or ‘Close Third Person’ seem to abound in 21st century writing guides. I doubt whether the great Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, Jane Austen, or Ernest Hemingway had ever heard […]

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The Joys and Perils of the Writing Life

The Joys and Perils of the Writing Life So here I am, as Abraham said to the Lord when offering up his son for sacrifice. “Here I Am” is the title of a wonderful new book by Jonathan Safran Foer, a monumental work close to 1000 pages, exploring themes of cultural identity, fidelity and betrayal, the ephemeral nature of love, families functional and dysfunctional, and what makes them so. As for me myself and I, this post is in the nature of an apology to you, my readers, for my untoward absence. SInce I last posted back in April, life has overtaken me. There’s been illness, convalescence, slow recovery, as well as the joys of grandchildrens’ birthdays. and celebrations of their achievements, some sojourns in beautiful Darwin, home of my daughters and grandsons, and the minutiae of everyday life. On the writing side, I’ve been hard  at work on my new novel, ‘A Difficult Daughter’, and preparing my first novel. ‘Capriccio’, for publication. This entailed a major rewrite, mostly in appeasement to Faber and Faber, publishers of the works of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, and the Hughes Estate. Like Jonathan Bate, I fell foul of the Estate when requesting permission to quote thirteen lines of Hughes’s poetry, fully expecting dispensation for such a small amount of material. The lines I quoted were used to introduce chapters, each of which was given the title of one of the ‘Capriccio’ poems […]

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How to Bring Your Writing to the Next Level

10 HINTS FOR SELF-EDITING (re-blogged from ‘Write to Done’) The old cliché “practice makes perfect” applies to the editing process. Many best- selling authors note that the art of writing is really the art of re-writing! Polishing what you write can make all the difference. Take diamonds. In the raw, only experts can spot them. But once they are cut and polished, they sparkle and shine.This is what good editing can do to your writing.But there is a problem. The old cliché “practice makes perfect” applies to the editing process. Many best-            selling authors note that the art of writing is really the art of re-writing! The good news is that self-editing is a skill that can be developed. Sound good? Let’s get to it. 1.Get Some Distance from Your Writing In many cases, the reason you find it hard to go back over your work is that it   makes you feel bad. It may be that you don’t feel satisfied with your work and   worry about how it will be received. You may also been just plain bored with it! Whatever the negative emotion, a way to face it is to imagine that you are sitting  down to edit someone else’s work. That can help give you the distance to see your  writing from a fresh perspective. And take comfort from the fact that many  successful authors hate their first drafts too! “For me and most of the […]

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Why Writing Groups Work

The following words, could well apply to the Randwick Writers Group, which I convene fortnightly. All members of this group have improved their writing by leaps and bounds (excuse the cliché), one has been accepted for publication this year, and two have had interest from literary agents. Through rigorous feedback, following our guidelines (praise first, then constructive critique, finishing with global) we four are constantly motivated to keep writing.

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