Writing Process

Radio drama, redrafting and unpeeling the layers of your ideas

September 6, 2013

I’ve had the melodic tones of plainsong drifting through my writing space this week.  It has set the tone for the redraft of my new radio drama, The Cloistered Soul.  More than that, it has transported me back to the enclosed order I visited earlier this year to get an insight into the life lived […]

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Lifting the barriers to writing: the writers’ log

June 17, 2013

On and off, over the years, I’ve thought about keeping a journal to reflect on my writing process.  I think the motivation for this lay partly in the excuse to buy another notebook: something with a pretty cover or smooth, cream paper which would contain all my brilliant insights into creativity.   Tweet

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What stops you writing?

June 1, 2013

My friend Bec Evans is researching the habits of writers.   She’s not interested in whether their beverage of choice might be Earl Grey or espresso (though personally, perhaps because I’m nosy, I always find those details fascinating!  You can find out my preferences for such things in a Quirky Q&A on the Newbooks site here).  […]

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August 6, 2012

I’m back home from a summer break in Scotland, part of which I spent in Eshieshields, a small estate in Annandale hidden amongst lush woodland and populated by red squirrels and hares.  My friends Em and Dougs live there in a tied cottage, raising their children, tending the land, keeping chickens and practising their art […]

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The glint from the corner of the eye

June 26, 2012

One of the pleasures of working for the Arvon Foundation is being visited regularly by the extraordinary and talented writers we book as tutors and guests.  Our guest reader last week was the poet Paul Farley.  As his latest collection The Dark Film attests, his work covers a breadth of cultural reference points – childhood […]

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Connectedness and seeing the shape of the whole

June 12, 2012

Yesterday was my birthday, a good day if ever there was one to go and see a film.  In my town there’s a wonderful independent cinema, which serves homemade cake and Fairtrade tea and coffee.  Sometimes the film is incidental – it’s more about the cake and coffee and being out with friends than it […]

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Lucky Seven: The Long Path to Desire

March 29, 2012

I was was tagged by Rebecca Emin for a Lucky Seven Excerpt. The rules are simple: 1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript 2. Go to line 7 3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating 4. Tag 7 other authors (Done on Facebook) So here’s the extract from my […]

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Scaffolds, jelly moulds and the architecture of plot

January 4, 2012

  After the stimulus, the quiet of post-publication. And after the Christmas break, the return to work.  The start of the year has sent me scurrying back to my desk in the piggery, digging out old notes, diagrams and plot plans and picking up the thread of what feels like a long-abandoned next novel. Tweet

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To publication and beyond…

November 6, 2011

The past month has been a blur, to say the least.  The week Sisterwives launched, I spoke at four events.  So many discussions, and questions. Such responses: queries and curiosity, and warm congratulations.  I felt so stimulated and gratified by it all. And then there was a holiday. Time for sunshine and lazy indulgence, and […]

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October 5, 2011

When Rebecca grips her chin and angles it to the left Amarantha sees everything slantwise then, in the glass: Rebecca’s face with its veil of freckles.  Thin brows the same red as her hair, with edges that fade to nothing.  Witch eyes, the children in school say, because of the green, but there’s sometimes a […]

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