Friday, 6pm, Munros on Great Western Road. Trying to balance the fizzing fatigue of stopping after a long period of intense work with sunshine and cold, sour half of Redwillow’s Wreckless pale ale. And, at the same time, straining at the leash. Most writers are not full time writers. We work to live and we scribble […]

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Spirit : Iain Banks

Yesterday the news broke of the death of Iain Banks. The day was a procession of obituaries, the evening dedicated to malts and memories. The bidie-in and I sat side by side with a glass each of Talisker and shared both our own personal stories and those scrolling up our Twitter feeds. And that was […]

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Young Man’s Game?

Over on his blog, Keith Brooke has been considering the announcement of the annual Granta Best Young Novelists under 40 and, prompted by a Twitter conversation on the subject, asking: what’s the big deal with 40 anyway?  And it’s a decent enough question. Why should all the attention be given to the kind of novelist […]

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Not quite daily bread

Just caught up with the first instalment of the new Paul Hollywood series on BBC2. I’ve been baking my own bread for about six months and, I think, getting steadily better at it. Lunches in the respective offices in our house often comprise homemade soup (courtesy of the bidey-in) and my homemade bread. And they […]

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Moving on…

So yesterday was a good day. That’s an understatement. Days like that are the rewards for working hard, and reworking harder, and then doing it again. And again. And, as soon as the moment has passed, it’s time to get on with the work again. But before I get down to it my Saturday morning session […]

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Charlie says…hands off!

One of the risks of being the kind of writer who has more ideas than they can focus on at any one time (and that pretty much is *all* writers, right?) is that sooner or later one of your really good back burner ideas will get picked up and used by someone else. Their treatment […]

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Cutting room

Heading out in a moment or two for my lunchtime session of “making a long book noticeably shorter”, it strikes me how much I’m enjoying the process. In early drafts my tendency is to sprinkle the words around to make sure I get the atmosphere across or provide a bit of scaffolding for a scene. […]

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I touched upon this a little in my Toronto post, but something that’s been running around my mind recently has been the value of inspiration. With the state of the book industry the way it is you might think writers would be tempted to play it safe and aim for writing the kinds of stories […]

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Silvergold bright and edgechill

My favourite season has always been autumn. On a bright September or October morning, I love the balance between sun warmth and air chill, an excuse to pull on a jumper and enjoy the caress of wool. And I love the clarity of the light, not slow and honeyed like a summer morning, but gimlet […]

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Writer’s Holiday

Everyone knows that writers don’t take holidays. Their brains just aren’t wired that way. They’re always switched on, receptive to ideas and chewing them into the building blocks of stories. The problem for many writers, in fact, is having enough time in their lives to get those stories written down, in words, on screens, and […]

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