fiction

The wind whistling past your ears: dealing with the post-novel blues

It has gone. The piece of work which has occupied over the past couple of years, a novel, has left my desk to make its way in the blustery, chilly outside world. Almost certainly it will be back, nagging for attention of some kind, but right now I’m in that odd, conflicted state of mind […]

My 10 Writer’s Resolutions for 2015

On a home-alone New Year’s Eve, I find myself sternly noting resolutions to myself  for the creative year ahead (the personal resolutions can wait). Of course, they may not work for everyone…   Enjoy yourself at work. Even when it is deadly serious, writing should have a bit of skittishness and fun to it.   […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules #7: Fear

It will catch any serious writer in the end: that familiar dread of the blank or page or screen as it stares back at you, daring you to give it  some words which, the blank page just knows, will be disappointing, or surprisingly weak, or in some way inferior to everything you have written before. […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules #6: Confidence

It is an undeniable (and frankly rather unattractive) aspect of a writer’s character that it needs to be finely balanced between  arrogance and insecurity. Confidence is needed to write in the first place; a degree of self-doubt is necessary for what is written not to be preeningly complacent and indulgent. From Anthony Trollope to Caitlin […]

Top Nine Writer’s Rules: #5 Block

Look at the first of these two rules, and you’ll see that nothing divides authorly opinion like writer’s block. Most of these insights are either self-pitying or briskly unsympathetic  –  successful writers seem to believe in tough love when dispensing advice – but there is one piece of caring practical advice. Surprisingly, that comes from […]

The quiet dignity of Mr Franzen

The famous novelist is making his promotional video. Shortly, his face will be on the front of Time magazine, his book praised to the heavens and at No 1 in the American bestseller list. “This might be a good place to register my profound discomfort at having to make a video like this,” he says, […]