A Word from the Professionals

. I find it very interesting reading what other writers have to say about writing. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t, sometimes it’s helpful just to read that someone else does what I do too! But it always makes me reexamine and re-evaluate my own writing.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a few articles I’ve read lately.

First, Philip Pullman on the use of the present tense. It’s an interesting argument, and the passage he quotes from Jane Eyre is one of my favourites.

Then Seamus Heaney on the reaction to his latest collection, and waiting for inspiration. I especially found it interesting how the critics how pointed out a theme in his latest book that he wasn’t aware of. Sometimes, I will write a story, and a reader will say ‘I really liked the theme, or use of something or other. And I’ll be surprised, because I wasn’t aware that something or other was creeping into my work, and I wasn’t consciously using it. However, I will, of course, take full credit for it….

And finally John Le Carre. This last link is a video. I tried to find a link to a written text of the whole interview, but all the transcripts of the interview I could find concentrated on his politics and his spy knowledge, not what he had to say about writing. One thing he said was that he made up his plots as he went along – that he discovered the truth with his characters. This I found fascinating. His plots are highly complex and very layered and discovering he didn’t plan them was very comforting to me, as I find I cannot and should not plan my plots either.

John le Carre also said writing was a little bit like showing off. I have to agree….although it’s the only showing off a shy man/woman can do.

I hope you found those as interesting as I did.


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