When is a writer not a writer?

  Words matter. That’s one lesson you learn after spending three weeks deciding if it’s ‘that’ or ‘this’ in a sentence. That kind of fluency is, I think, largely instinctive. I’m not sure you can really teach someone how to hear what makes a sentence sound right and what strikes a discordant note. You can…

Do the crime, do the time

I’ve definitely lost something at CrimeFest in Bristol. Was it a book? No, I’ve come back with the usual seven hundred. Was it my memory stick, onto which I’m supposed to be editing my WIP? No, they’d have to prise that from my cold dead hands (plus it didn’t get a lot of use). A…

Scaling the second-edit summit

Writing a novel is a long and epic journey. It might start with an idea knocking on your door, like all the visitors arriving in The Hobbit. Characters taking up residence in your head. It could be something very small, a word, a scrap of colour, a picture. Whatever it is, it sets you off…

It’s oh so quiet

Inkstains Claire is away. Well, I’m at my parents’ house in Ireland, where they’ve lived since before I was born (long time). I once spent a whole summer writing in exercise books in the conservatory (all awful). The first night I was here I felt unsettled in some way but didn’t realise why. Then it…