Posted by on Aug 31, 2006 in Uncategorised | No Comments

Naguib Mahfouz Naguib Mahfouz died yesterday, aged 94. He was a prolific and talented writer whose Cairo Trilogy – “Palace Walk,” “Palace of Desire” and “Sugar Street” – is a masterpiece of wit, irony and domestic tragedy. In 1994 he was attacked by an extremist who objected to the liberal sentiments in some of his […]

Posted by on Aug 30, 2006 in Uncategorised | No Comments

What about exercise? Well yes, this is one place where I can’t argue. I know I write better if I take regular exercise and if you’re in the phase of long-haul writing (a novel or non-fiction book, or even a thesis) it is very easy to get depressed about the process and to find you’ve […]

Posted by on Aug 29, 2006 in Uncategorised | No Comments

Concentration and writing If you pick up any guide to effective study, or self-help book that professes to teach creativity you’ll find the same message. Humans can’t concentrate for more than 25 minutes at a time, therefore, we should not read, write, revise or otherwise engage in strenuous mental effort for more than about half […]

Posted by on Aug 25, 2006 in Uncategorised | 5 Comments

I am really a woman! Yes, that’s me. Spending five minutes communing with nature in Vita Sackville-West’s garden at Sissinghurst. I’ve posted it because somebody thinks I’m a bloke! An anonymous poster insists that (a) I’m a man masquerading as a woman and (b) my writing proves it. Sorry mate, I am, and always have […]

Posted by on Aug 24, 2006 in Uncategorised | 3 Comments

Little brag… … but a big magazine The September issue of Skive is out now – and it features my story, Hemingway’s Kitten! Click for Skive

Posted by on Aug 23, 2006 in Uncategorised | One Comment

Keeping in touch with the market … As Linda commented, it can be tough to keep in touch with an ever-growing and very expensive literary world, and time-consuming to read through all the ‘zines that spring up (and sink down) over the course of a year. How does a writer keep one finger on the […]

Posted by on Aug 22, 2006 in Uncategorised | One Comment

Brag-space One of the real joys about having friends who are also writers, is that you can brag on their behalf without feeling any of the boastfulness you’d feel about your own trumpeting. And when you have a friend as talented as Bunny Goodjohn, it may take a while even to catch up with her […]

Posted by on Aug 21, 2006 in Uncategorised | 3 Comments

If you want to be a writer … You have to play the number’s game. This means that you have to learn to look at the world of writing through the eyes of editors and publishers. The average literary journal (non-paying but providing copies to published writers) gets between 2,000 and 4,000 submissions a year. […]

Posted by on Aug 18, 2006 in Uncategorised | One Comment

The Slush Pile reader’s story Viet Dinh (no, not that Viet Dinh; not the one who helped write the Patriot Act!) got his first degree from Johns Hopkins University and his MFA from the University of Houston, his stories appear in many superb literary journals; and my favourite of his that’s available online is Lucky; […]

Posted by on Aug 17, 2006 in Uncategorised | No Comments

On the subject of rejection Sometimes it’s a good thing. Sometimes, like yesterday’s post, the sting is almost removed by a caring editor who makes you smile even as you shrug off yet another failure. And sometimes it’s good for other reasons. I recently sent sample chapters of my novel to a well-regarded UK literary […]