Browsing All Posts filed under »Writing«

That strange engine of creation

January 16, 2014


With the bidey-in working away for a few weeks, I have a rare, extended period of solitude at home and had hoped to use the swathes of uninterrupted time to storm ahead on editing the novel. And I am doing so; it’s knitting together better this time round, but progress is slow. Partly this is […]

Resolution, it’s a mug’s game

January 2, 2014


At the beginning of the last couple of years I’ve done a sort of  “creative goals” post, and the one thing I’ve learned from the exercise is that, for the self-propelled creative type at least, planning is largely futile. Too often opportunities come your way that you couldn’t have foreseen and, if you have neither […]

Away games

September 26, 2013


Nearly a year ago, I had a conversation in a hotel bar in Toronto with Graham Joyce about his experiences playing in goal for the England Writers international football team, a collection of novelists, poets, playwrights and publishing types who play matches against teams from other countries. Brilliant fun, he said. On the back his mention […]


June 21, 2013


Friday, 6pm, Munros on Great Western Road. Trying to balance the fizzing fatigue of stopping after a long period of intense work with sunshine and cold, sour half of Redwillow’s Wreckless pale ale. And, at the same time, straining at the leash. Most writers are not full time writers. We work to live and we scribble […]

Spirit : Iain Banks

June 10, 2013


Yesterday the news broke of the death of Iain Banks. The day was a procession of obituaries, the evening dedicated to malts and memories. The bidie-in and I sat side by side with a glass each of Talisker and shared both our own personal stories and those scrolling up our Twitter feeds. And that was […]

Young Man’s Game?

April 18, 2013


Over on his blog, Keith Brooke has been considering the announcement of the annual Granta Best Young Novelists under 40 and, prompted by a Twitter conversation on the subject, asking: what’s the big deal with 40 anyway?  And it’s a decent enough question. Why should all the attention be given to the kind of novelist […]

Not quite daily bread

March 18, 2013


Just caught up with the first instalment of the new Paul Hollywood series on BBC2. I’ve been baking my own bread for about six months and, I think, getting steadily better at it. Lunches in the respective offices in our house often comprise homemade soup (courtesy of the bidey-in) and my homemade bread. And they […]

Moving on…

March 2, 2013


So yesterday was a good day. That’s an understatement. Days like that are the rewards for working hard, and reworking harder, and then doing it again. And again. And, as soon as the moment has passed, it’s time to get on with the work again. But before I get down to it my Saturday morning session […]

Charlie says…hands off!

November 23, 2012


One of the risks of being the kind of writer who has more ideas than they can focus on at any one time (and that pretty much is *all* writers, right?) is that sooner or later one of your really good back burner ideas will get picked up and used by someone else. Their treatment […]

Cutting room

November 21, 2012


Heading out in a moment or two for my lunchtime session of “making a long book noticeably shorter”, it strikes me how much I’m enjoying the process. In early drafts my tendency is to sprinkle the words around to make sure I get the atmosphere across or provide a bit of scaffolding for a scene. […]


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