Showing posts from April, 2016

A Writing Weekend in Cirencester

Well, truth be told, not much actual writing was done, as last weekend was another of Malaga workshops fabulous courses. This time it was at the Royal Agricultural University  at Cirencester,  an idyllic setting in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside. The college itself dates back to 1845 and is the oldest agricultural college in the English speaking world.   Its long history was evident in the mellow stone buildings and old oak beams, and everywhere had an austerely welcoming feel to it. The rooms were rather lovely and the Tithe barn bar quite stunning and we had it all to ourselves on the Friday night, when much wine and good conversation was enjoyed.

The course tutor was Kate Walker  and, as always, she had a wealth of  knowledge and experience to impart. We were working on beginnings, middles and ends, which was great for me, as I usually hit a sticking point somewhere around the middle of my books. So a lot of attention was given to plotting and pace and Kate handed out s…

Easy as A B C ?

Anybody who's a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond will know Peggy the Cookie Lady, who prior to the annual cookie fundraising sales, drums her Brownies in their ABCs - Always Be Closing!  When Ray pinches her selling spot, the best in town, she soon shows him she's not a woman to cross!

However scary her character, Peggy's ABC mantra is a very useful one for a writer  - if you change the words to Always Be Completing.  I've heard many an aspiring author talk about their drawers full of first chapters or partials and I can never quite understand this strategy.  Writing is a learning curve, an ongoing process, and how is a writer supposed to develop if they never get past the first chapter or two?  Every novel has a beginning, middle and end and, while they might get brilliant at honing that vital first chapter, or even the first three, what about the rest of the book?

Having completed five unpublished novels to date, I would always recommend finishing a story once you'…