I have been writing for years and enjoy it very much. I took some time off a few years ago to finish the novel and write some short stories and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. Since then it’s never gone away.
As well as writing I have cultivated as much of a life around books and writing as I can.
Over the last few years I have had my book edited by Cornerstones, I’ve attended the Festival of Writing in York (a curious affair) and I attend events around London. And whilst I do enjoy this ‘life of a writer’, I am aware of the danger of my passion becoming a hobby. Instead it falls somewhere between a habit and a compulsion, and somehow remains enjoyable. Afterwards anyway, like a work out.
Over the last few years I have taken a number of courses including ‘Short Story Writing’ at City University (taught by novelist Katy Darby), ‘Revising your novel’ with Nicola Perry and ‘Reading and Writing’ at The Idler Academy with Susannah Hislop.
I also have half a shelf of writing books of which half have been read. When not reading them I am working on another novel. And yes, I live in North London, which frankly should be enough to land the book deal….
Writers I like.
New writers like James Benmore and Jonathan Trignell’s (His ‘Boy A’ is a fantastic book.) Old writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald or Richard Yates. Who else? Ian McEwan (often but not always). Kate Atkinson great plots, good characters. I love a good short story and I read them widely and wildly from Raymond Carver to Angela Carter (yes, the sparse to the baroque). Bernard MacLaverty is a great Northern Irish writer… with not a word wasted.
Martin Amis is just a blast. But not always. You are in good hands with Jonathan Coe or William Boyd (he wrote ‘A good man in Africa’ in 11 weeks….. so just get on with it…)
P.G Wodehouse was a genius and I have just discovered his fellow Dulwich College classmate, Raymond Chandler. Whip crack dialogue, crackling plots, real economy and verve. Lovely stuff.
The list goes on and on and on. That’s what’s great about the library – it never really runs out.
Last word on Story – as far as I am concerned your first responsibility is to write a compelling, believable, engaging story. The pretty sentences (and I love a good sentence), the fine phrases, they come second after the story. (A damn close second mind). But of course, in writing, everything’s inextricably linked. Nothing stands alone…..
Thanks for visiting.