About Writing

23rd December 2014 — About Writing

What I write

I write romance fiction - not 'Mills and Boon', as the term is understood today (in earlier days Mills and Boon published P. G. Wodehouse, E. F. Benson, Hugh Walpole, Georgette Heyer); and not 'chick-lit' (a term first used in the title of a 1995 anthology of post-feminist women’s writing: Chick-Lit: Post-Feminist Fiction. The work was serious, the title sardonic). 

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19th December 2014 — About Writing

Some thoughts about research

“Is it possible for an ordinary person to climb over the area railings of no. 7 Eccles Street, either from the path or from the steps, lower himself from the lower part of the railings till his feet are within 2 or 3 feet of the ground and drop unhurt? I saw it done myself but by a man of rather athletic build. I require this information in detail in order to determine the wording of a paragraph.”

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18th December 2014 — About Writing


Whenever I speak to a book group, I’m struck by how little attention they pay to the mechanics of writing, to the architecture and engineering of a novel, the nuts and bolts of sentences and paragraphs. I urge them to think about what makes a good sentence, a good paragraph,…

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15th December 2014 — About Writing

How I began writing fiction

When I started writing fiction, I thought the screenplay would be my natural format. I had worked as a television documentary maker, had read drama scripts for the BBC and had been consulted by the drama department about making a film based on a factual story. I didn’t think at…

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3rd February 2012 — About Writing

Working without the Web

I’ve just come back from a two-week stay in one of my favourite places in France – The Old Bakehouse at Chateau Sentout on a ridge above the Garonne about twenty kilometres south of Bordeaux with a wonderful view out across Les Landes to the wide, western horizon. The…

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29th December 2011 — About Writing

Getting Started

I find it hard to begin a new book. When I look at the one I’ve finished, I wonder how I did it. I forget how I did it. I can’t see how I will do it all over again.  

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