July 31, 2017 @ 12:31 PM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer
Step 6 (continued): Talking it through...

Apart from silent work at the editing desk and reading the pages out loud to yourself, it can often be of help to talk the work through with somebody else whom you trust to give a fair and sympathetic opinion.

Nobody wants flattery: but ridicule or condescension can be fatal to a new-born manuscript.

Some authors, indeed, keep the work entirely to themselves until it is finished. Others (with broader shoulders than mine) belong to writers’ groups who meet regularly to share work in progress, to receive or offer comment and criticism.

Being much more of a loner, I nevertheless ask my wife in the early stages of a book to read the .........


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July 22, 2017 @ 11:42 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As A Writer
Step 6 (continued): Drafting. And Re-Drafting

Most afternoons my habit is to go over the work I’ve written that morning, doing the first of many editing passes.

I’ll chop and change as seems necessary. It’s surprising how the sentences, that seemed so sprightly in the dawn, can often droop in the late sunshine.

Of course, they can also seem much better again a few days later – and thus I find it important to print out each version of my changes on the reverse of used sheets of paper. Another option is to write them in pencil on an earlier draft. It doesn't really matter so long as you have a record of them.

It often happens, when I come to the second or third .........

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July 14, 2017 @ 6:30 AM


Seven Sensible Steps to Success As A Writer

#37 Re-vision

Like any other work of the creative imagination, a book must have its own inner form and coherence, layers of interpretation and sustained metaphor, if it is to speak truthfully to the reader.

I find it important to go over the work constantly. The words checked for meaning and repetition. The development and cadences of the paragraphs looked at with a critical eye for harmony and substance – exactly as one approaches music, or an artist examines a painting.

One very useful tool in this respect is to read the text out loud to help pick up inconsistencies, errors or gaps in the narrative that may need to be filled with a little more information.

Or too much ......

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July 11, 2017 @ 12:38 PM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As a Writer
Step 6. Writing. And Rewriting.

To continue the gardening metaphor, a flourishing manuscript needs to be carefully cultivated. The words have to be weeded. The sentences pruned like a fruit tree.

Sometimes whole thickets of dead paragraphs need to be rooted out altogether, and the withered words, that once seemed to blossom on the page, burned on the bonfire of the rewrite desk.

Once the dead words are attacked, like the winter rose bed, with a pair of very sharp secateurs, the first growth that is your draft will almost certainly bloom wonderfully.

Never be too precious about your manuscript. So long as the words have been sown in good soil, they’ll always grow again.

When I .........


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July 3, 2017 @ 12:11 AM

Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 5 (Continued) Tips for all writers…

The discipline of writing a target number of words – and the trick of stopping when you know how to go on – is useful not just for authors of books.

It can be applied just as successfully to many other fields of a writing life … the school essay, a report for work, dealing with a pile of correspondence…

If there is a deadline for delivery, set an achievable target of so much to be completed each day – with enough time left over for editing and revision.

When you’ve reached the daily target and know what the next words will be, put down your pen. Click ‘Save’ and close the page. Shut .........


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