Writing in a Taxi in Mauritania, Virtually

Now I’m earning a regular wage I’ve been able to buy a new phone. Not brand new, but a year old iPhone 8, quite an upgrade from my old 4s which was apt to randomly switch itself off, and overheated if I tried to use apps such as Instagram. Now I have all the latest […]

Story-a-Week #11: An Attempt at Plotting in Advance

If you’re a writer you’ll be familiar with the question, ‘are you a plotter or a pantser?’ A pantser being someone who writes before looking at such structural things as pace, arc, motifs, etc. A plotter being someone who creates a structure then writes a story/novel/whatever to fit. I’m a pantser, I create a nominal […]

Story-a-Week #8: The Art of Losing

Another hard won story which started in the Café Stories workshop on Tuesday. We did the art of writing about place. The setting for a story is more than merely a backdrop for the action, when done right it can tell your reader a great deal about your character, and help move the action on. […]

Story-A-Week #7: On a Dig

I’m a day late with this post for a stew of reasons, the culmination of which being I couldn’t get any purchase on this week’s story until I woke on Monday morning and realised what it was about. Then had to rewrite it. Stephen King is right, I think, writing is akin to excavation. The […]

Story-A-Week #5: Myrtle Davis is Lost

I said in Friday’s post that I had written a complete story in the course of my first Café Stories workshop. I realise now that I only felt it to be complete. I knew it needed work, nothing comes out perfect first time, but not quite as much as it actually does. Distracted by other […]

On Not Being Frank

I’ve heard tell from multiple people – some who knew him, some who teach him – that Frank O’Hara took his typewriter everywhere, and would prop it up on any available surface, in whichever situation, to write a perfect poem. He was famous for doing this at parties: cigarette attached to his bottom lip, he’d […]

News from Wigtown: A Gathering

Now in its fourth year, the Writers’ Gathering is an inspiring day of events aimed at writers in Dumfries & Galloway and beyond. Taking place on Saturday 19 May 2018 in Wigtown, it will be led by some of the liveliest figures in Scotland’s literary scene. This year’s keynote talk will be given by Lynsey Rogers of Scottish Book […]