Writing Lessons 5

Apologies for a silent Monday, but family life intruded into work life. The next issue that writers often seem to have is the most basic one: which tools to use. There is a belief that there is a magic series of tools to use, just as there is a magic set of instructions for new … Continue reading

Writing Lessons 4

  So far this week I have written about how to get writing. I have suggested ways to invent characters, how to get ideas down and how to set them out. Today I’m going back to first principles for all those of you who don’t have the faintest idea how to start.  The first, absolute … Continue reading

Writing Lessons 3

Right, this is the third piece on my short run of ideas about getting started as a writer. If you haven’t looked, please go and check the first two items from this week. So how did you get on with trying out different scenes to throw your guy into? I’m going to give you some … Continue reading

Writing Lessons 2

This follows on from the post yesterday, so if you haven’t read that, it could be a good idea to take a quick look. Right. Now, hopefully you will have a sheet of paper with a fair description of someone you know, someone you have met, or someone you have made up. The first thing … Continue reading

Writing Lessons 1

I get a fairly regular number of emails and tweets from people who really want to write, but just cannot quite work out what to write. Only this morning I had a rather desperate-sounding message from a guy who has all the tools, but as he said in his note, ‘I have tried and struggled … Continue reading

The Whole Thing Just Gelled!

Today, I finally realised that this latest story has finally gelled. Gelled? I’ve been working on this book for months. I’ve been writing it for the last few weeks. How on earth can it have taken so long for the story to have formed itself in my mind? It’s a curious thing, writing. Some books … Continue reading

Crediton Literary Festival

Last week I wrote about a great little festival in the Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire. And now here’s another one.  Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining with the Exeter Writers’ Association at the second Crediton Festival. Last year it was a small affair, with a number of the Exeter Writers standing and giving … Continue reading

An Argument of Blood and A Black Matter for the King, by Matthew Willis & JA Ironside

There is little which is quite so exciting for me as discovering a fresh, new talent in historical writing. In Willis and Ironside I feel I’ve found two writers who can carry me back to the past and can show me a time when, amid the brutality and irrationality of politics, there were still great … Continue reading

Alibis in the Archives at Gladstone’s Library

There are times when writing seems a doddle, and other times when all you want to do is sit down and write, but these other things get in the way … I was very grateful to be invited to the annual Alibis in the Archive event, part of Gladfest at the Gladstone Library. For one … Continue reading

Pinkerton’s Great Detective – The Amazing Life and Times of James McParland, by Beau Riffenburgh, published by Penguin Group.

  I found this book while researching the early 20th Century. It was not the book I was expecting. In the 1800s, there was a furious series of battles, more or less, between Miners in different coal and steel areas, and the companies that owned the mines, the railways, and smelting works. It was a … Continue reading