Account Login

Blog Archives

Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough; that’s only half the battle. I think one of the main challenges is how we turn that concept into a concrete piece of writing.

There’s that famous idea that a piece of writing, particularly I think a poem, has to be more than one thing leant up against each other; so it can’t just be about a central thought or concept or discovery, there has to be at least one other thing.

What that ‘other thing’ is can be up for grabs; so it might be a very strict form that’s going to force the writing to go into places it might not otherwise have wanted to; it might be a second idea you’re trying to conflate with the first; or it might be that language from another semantic field, another realm, another sphere, is going to collide with your initial thought to create something dynamic and new on the page.

That other great cliché of a writing workshop is to ‘make it new’; it’s a handy phrase but one that’s a little light on instructions of how to actually achieve this.

My related exercise will hopefully be a good starting point. It seems to me the point of any art, beyond something merely aesthetic, is to offer a temporary rupture to the mundane difficulty of being alive, to make us look at something in a different way, to make us consider something afresh, and thus perhaps lead us towards a new way of conceptualising our own existence.

That might seem a high task to set yourself on a blustery afternoon at your kitchen table, but I think it’s good to aim high.

Find out more

How to radically rewrite

Word processing has been a gift to writers. No more typing out pages and pages of manuscript, no…

Find out more

Asking… what if?

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as…

Find out more

The importance of reading

Reading is food for the mind. Eat — read —well, every day. Read a varied diet. Some books…

Find out more

Stop Writing! – A tip from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

This tip was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. Creativity flourishes on stimulation, exercise, hard work, but it…

Find out more

Word mapping

I’m interested in what happens when we alter or challenge the ‘conventional’ way of writing poetry – by…

Find out more

Don’t talk down to younger readers

Don’t think that all children want to hear about is fluffy bunnies, naughty elves and lessons to be…

Find out more

What is a scene?

Novelists are always told to show, not tell. They are also told to ‘write in scenes’ which means…

Find out more

Character-Driven Narrative

People tend to think about plot as though it’s something separate from character, with characters moving forward from…

Find out more

Write the Family

I’m sure most writers are familiar with the writing adage ‘write what you know’, and writing about your…

Find out more

Developing and explaining new ideas

1. You don’t have to be entirely original. There are plenty of very good, best-selling stories out there…

Find out more

Writing Science Fiction – The New Thing

1. Remember as you shape your story, that you are writing science fiction. Understand what science fiction is…

Find out more