Blog Archives

Best left unsaid?

A skilful writer can leave much unsaid – because she trusts her reader. Continue reading

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On writing only what you know

The best way to end up with something dead on the page? Write only what you know. Continue reading

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Raising the stakes

I’ve become a teeny-weeny bit wary of writing exercises because they can so easily become yet another excuse not to actually write. But there are exceptions! Continue reading

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In praise of … Ulysses

Shout out for Ulysses, the new techie love of my life and “the ultimate writing app for Mac”. Ulysses is like a blank sheet of paper in a typewriter; no clutter, few options – but lots of behind-the-scenes functionality, a … Continue reading

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The awful attraction of war

I’ve had this quote on a virtual sticky note on my MacBook for several months and I want to tidy it away. It’s taken from a piece in the London Review of Books several years back on Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy … Continue reading

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What readers want from historical fiction

My job is to tell a bloody good story set in a world that conveys “a sense of historical truth”. Continue reading

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Hilary Mantel on the “deception” of empowering female characters in history

Characters should operate within the ethical framework of their day – even if this shocks readers. Continue reading

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So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists

Unbloat your plot and “whisper something beautiful”. Continue reading

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Ten rules for writing fiction 2

Writing novels means the crafty, patient, selfless construction of effects. Continue reading

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Ten rules for writing fiction 1

The first 12 years are the worse. Continue reading

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