Yearly Archives: 2013

Too short for a novel. Too long for a novella. Shall I send my protagonist to a godless assembly? and other questions.

Someone who knows what she is talking about told me that I’d be wasting my time approaching agents with a novel of only 60,000 words. Unless I’m Julian Barnes or Heinrich von Kleist. Perhaps it isn’t ‘fully realised’ ? That’s the posh way of saying skimpy and trivial. What’s to be done? I hate long ... Read More

Third time lucky? I have twice written a new blog today and twice it has vanished after I pressed ‘Publish’ so I am just doing this as a test. If it works I will continue and try to reproduce what I wrote before – about  the godless asembly and about my novle that is too short.


What do you do when you think you’ve finished, but it’s really only a draft?

Now I look at it again…I’ve found  infelicities: sentences that go on and on and cliches and  ‘-ngs’ and ‘-isations’ that I somehow failed to see before. And inconsistencies that have demanded a lot of working out on bits of paper: dates of events, ages of people, things happening in the wrong order, wrong flowers ... Read More

What have I learned from a first class creative writing course?

Mourning the end of University of East Anglia/Guardian six months course on the novel, I want to record what I think I have learned. Please send me comments or additions from your own experience. Have had to unlearn some bad habits – I think attributable to my academic background and my forays into short story ... Read More

When is a novel finished?

The University of East Anglia course with Adam Foulds is over. I’ve sent in my final, assessed submission and short essay, and I’ve written the last words of the last chapter. And I’ve added in new episodes, descriptions, explanations and improved the wording etc etc etc as result of my tutor’s and classmates’ critiques. But ... Read More

Remember Macbeth?

I can’t be the only one who has Macbeth memories and I’m sure they’ve played a part in developing me and my writing. If any of them ring bells with you, do let me know. (It may, as they say, be a generational thing.) 1. Dressed as a witch on our school’s carnival float. Did ... Read More

Too much to tell

You’ll probably recognise the problem: if you delay writing to  your friends with your news, the news builds up and the challenge  of producing a catch-up becomes very daunting. In January I began a University of East Anglia/Guardian part-time course at UEA’s London campus. Two things drew me: the tutor is Adam Foulds whose novel ... Read More