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 [...]
Have we lost the art of writing letters? On Saturday 25th September 2017 The Daily Telegraph published some letters that Sylvia Plath wrote to her husband, Ted Hughes. The power of her writing crosses the years. The intimate words take us under her skin. Is this the forgotten art of writing love letters? In a letter [...]
In today’s Guardian, the scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee writes about his love of writing and tells us the question he asks before he starts to write. My single rule for writing about science is that you cannot know the answer if you don’t know the question. Before I write anything, I ask myself ‘What is the [...]
Last week I discovered The Most Dangerous Writing App. This writing app is such a simple idea. Type intensively for five minutes or the words disappear. Five minutes is the default. You can change that time for 3, 5, 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes. This is a challenge. You can’t overthink. If you stop [...]
Childhood stories are about friendships, laughter, bravado, tears and pain. Ask yourself a few questions to spark those memories. As a child: your favourite toy was ... your favourite book was ... your favourite sport was ... your best friend was ... your favourite sweets were ...