Creative writing courses, writers’ festivals, workshops, seminars, books, and blogs; been there, done them all – not once, not twice – repeatedly. Why? Certainly in the beginning I had a knowledge and skill deficit (and I pay tribute to Oxford University Department of Continuing Education in How I got this far) but now? Now, it’s fear; fear that I will miss the one pearl of wisdom that will make or break my novel, neglect the one crucial action that will make agents sit up and take notice. Which is why reading this Guardian piece was so very refreshing – because it’s almost anti-advice: To hell with grammar (but only if you know the grammar first)! Avoid the obvious; leave space for the reader to fill with “imaginative muscle”. Use silence in dialogue; “everything unsaid leads eventually to what is said”.
Unbloat your plot and “whisper something beautiful”.