Posts in The writing process

A Steam of Consciousness

As I was writing recently, a slip of the pen turned a stream of consciousness into a steam of consciousness. I quickly inserted the missing “r”, but then it made me think that steam is actually a better metaphor than stream. Consciousness is not like a stream that flows predictably along a set course from its source to its destination…. Read More

How to Write About Suicide and Self-Harm

The UK Society of Authors recently published a new factsheet on writing about suicide and self-harm, and I wanted to highlight it and draw attention to its main lessons. Stories are powerful, and writers consequently bear a heavy responsibility for getting it right and not doing harm, especially when it comes to writing about topics like suicide and self-harm. About… Read More

See What I Did There?

Has anyone else noticed an annoying trend in contemporary writing? OK, there are probably several that spring to mind (“I was sat?”), but the one I’m thinking about today is “See what I did there?” You’re likely to encounter this phrase any time the writer has used a rather obvious pun, but it could appear after any piece of wordplay…. Read More

Parkinson’s Law and the Pull of a Deadline

It was like a nightmare. I was entering a $100,000 essay contest, and it was deadline day, with plenty of work still to do. Then I noticed with horror that the deadline was not midnight, as I’d thought, but midday. My first draft was written, but it still needed a lot of work. I’d planned to spend all day polishing… Read More

A Story From a “What If?” Moment

One evening in Crete, a couple of years ago, I saw something that made a lasting impression on me. A small boy, maybe eight or nine years old, sitting in front of a large green rubbish bin, with an accordion in his hands and a mournful-looking dog by his side. He wasn’t playing the accordion, but just holding it and gazing… Read More

Latest UK book stats

Came across some interesting stats on UK book sales in the latest issue of The Author magazine from the Society of Authors, and thought I’d share a few of them with you: Sales of physical books fell 5% in 2013, while sales of digital products rose 19% Digital now accounts for 33% of fiction sales and 7% of non-fiction/reference (and 15%… Read More