Try doodling an outline. It doesn't always have to be structured and numbered. Outline everything. Get into the habit of outlining from the start. It will save time in the long run.
I have a ton of books I want to read. When I was a teenager, I would obsessively read everything by a favourite author. Nowadays I recognise it’s just not possible to read everything. There is not enough time. Knowing this, what is it that we want for our readers? Our readers are strangers, yet [...]
Last night at the Original Writers Group we talked about that difficult subject of finding a story. I asked who carried notebooks and was surprised at how many writers didn’t. Ideas can come at any time, anywhere. They are inspired by the world around us. Usually, they happen at the most inconvenient time, like when [...]
Truth is grey, not black and white. What we believe to be true can change over time. There is an inscription above a door at the German Naval Officers School in Kiel that reads: Say not ‘this is the truth’ but ‘so it seems to me to be as I now see things I think [...]
In 1842 Charles Dickens, in correspondence with Edgar Allan Poe, noted that when the author William Godwin wrote ‘Caleb Williams’ that he wrote backwards. He started by 'first involving his hero in a web of difficulties and then casting about for some mode of accounting for what had been done.' (The Philosophy of Composition 1846) [...]
Tim Dowling stood at the lectern. There was an easy manner about him as if he was enjoying this moment, talking to a hundred strangers at the Guardian Masterclass. Tim writes a humorous column for the Guardian which he describes as ‘observational writing, a lifestyle sub-genre otherwise known as ‘wonky trolley’ columns, and by ‘wonky [...]
The word 'pretend' has a bad press. We worry about doctors who aren’t doctors, builders who can’t build, teachers who aren’t qualified to teach. But the word ‘pretend’ comes from the Latin “praetendo” meaning to stretch forth, reach out, extend. Pretending allows us to believe we can do something new and different. Pretending allows us [...]