Janathon Day 7 – the demotivation Dalek strikes Motivation was a problem today. This couldn’t get me out of the door, even though I wasn’t going to let myself eat it until I got home – it’s a Hotel Chocolat 5-second Chilli and it was delicious although, if I’m being totally honest, I think the […]

Posted by on Jan 17, 2009 in editing, short story competition | One Comment

Getting over your writing self Most of the time it seems to me that being a writer is mainly a process of getting over yourself. It’s about getting your ego out of the way, and getting on with the job, or as Borges put it, knowing that “A writer should have another lifetime to see […]

Posted by on Jun 24, 2008 in advice for writers, editing | 6 Comments

What advice would you give to writers? That’s what somebody asked me on Sunday, and I’ve been thinking about it since then. 1. Don’t listen to advice – that’s the first thing I’d say. If I’d been given any advice before I launched into what people now call my writing ‘career’ (which makes me laugh: […]

Posted by on Feb 1, 2008 in editing, rewrites | One Comment

Approaching rewrites in the right way Over the last couple of years I’ve discovered that January is rewrite month. There are a several reasons for this: it’s when most of us decide to finally, finally, send out that novel that’s been sitting around for ages, and it’s when that indie publisher decides to go for […]

That word you keep using – I don’t think it means what you think it means … Apologies to Princess Bride fans, but I couldn’t think of a better way to start this post! This sign is displayed in a Costa Coffee toilet, and whatever they think it says, it actually states that the staff […]

Posted by on Aug 10, 2007 in editing, revising | 8 Comments

When it’s rubbish … What do you do? One of the most difficult things to decide is when a story is rubbish and when it just hasn’t arrived on the right desk yet. If you listen to the myths, you’ll hear that many an award-winning story was almost relegated to the back of the drawer, […]

Posted by on Mar 6, 2007 in coaching, editing, good writing, revising | 8 Comments

Rushing to judgement When I finish working with a coaching student, or teaching a class, I’m quite often asked, what is the one piece of advice I wish writers would remember? ‘Don’t give up’ springs to mind, but much more important, to my mind, is ‘don’t rush to judgement’. It’s the judging, more often than […]

So much to say The problem with only blogging twice a week is I have to save things up! 1 – Take this from Publisher’s Weekly back in September – Last week’s announcement of the Sobol Awards—in which online submissions from unpublished fiction writers compete (for an $85 fee) for thousands of dollars in prizes […]

Posted by on Dec 14, 2006 in bling, editing, rejection | One Comment

Bling writing I’ve rejected a couple of examples of this recently, as an editor, and I think it’s both a growing trend and a sign of immaturity in the writer’s psyche. I’d define bling writing as the process of throwing brilliant effects at a story until it scintillates like a disco ball. Some writers are […]

Posted by on Dec 7, 2006 in editing | No Comments

Reading as an editor One of the toughest things I have to do with students is tell them that, had I been reading as an editor, I wouldn’t have got past the third paragraph of their story. It’s a horrible thing to say, isn’t it? But without knowing how an editor works and thinks, too […]