Date Archives May 2012

How to write a book review

Just saw a nice post on Read.Learn.Write which goes into the methodology of writing book reviews, using my novel On the Holloway Road as a model. I’ve never really thought about a method for writing reviews before – I tend to just give my response to the book in whatever form seems natural. That’s probably because the reviews started as my own way of keeping track of what I was reading and analysing it to improve my understanding, and although other people now read them, the style is still quite… Read More

How writers generate ideas

One of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I give a talk is “How do you generate ideas?” The honest answer is: I don’t.
Oh, I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. I’ve sat at the computer all morning and willed myself to generate an idea. Sometimes, after a few hours of mental torture, if a deadline is looming, I’ve managed to squeeze out something, just one idea at least. The trouble is, I know even as I’m typing it out that it’s not very good.

The best ideas, you see, come in a completely different way.

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The Sense of an Ending, explained

First, some background: last year I wrote a review of The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. I had a lot of comments from people who didn’t understand the ending, and since then I’ve been inundated with people searching for things like “Sense of an Ending explained”. I felt bad, because my original review didn’t really answer that question. So this post directly addresses the ending of the book and attempts to clear up any confusion. If you haven’t read the book and don’t want to know the end,… Read More