Researching A Historical Fiction Novel: Tips from the Stockholm Writer’s Festival

Novelist, or historian? The line becomes a bit blurry when you're writing historical fiction. But one piece of advice that really stood out to me at the Stockholm Writer’s Festival came from hist fic author Jenny White. And she said: “Your research should be invisible. It serves to make the setting in your time period…Read more Researching A Historical Fiction Novel: Tips from the Stockholm Writer’s Festival

How to Start Writing Historical Fiction: Etiquette (Part 2)

I wouldn’t walk into a bar and start jumping on the tables. Perhaps in 3,000 years that might be considered normal (if so I’m glad I live now, I’m clumsy at the best of times) but equally, if I was born in the 18th or early 19th century, I wouldn’t have walked into a bar…Read more How to Start Writing Historical Fiction: Etiquette (Part 2)

How to Start Writing Historical Fiction: Language (Part 1)

Good morrow, dear friends. How fare thee this fine day? Alright mate? 'Ows it goin'? Why hello, how do you do? ... Now if those greetings sound weird, it's because they're supposed to. It's weird because I don't speak like that. (Except maybe the second one, after a week back in south east London and…Read more How to Start Writing Historical Fiction: Language (Part 1)

Why Symbolism is Beautiful (And Why You Should Be Using It)

Way back at the beginning of term (I'm in the Transnational Creative Writing Masters Programme at Stockholm University) we had an awesome workshop from Cassie Gonzales. She was talking about character needs and goals, as well as symbolism. Now, symbolism isn't something I'd really thought about putting into my writing before this point. Not intentionally, anyway.…Read more Why Symbolism is Beautiful (And Why You Should Be Using It)

The Terror of Submitting Your First Piece of Fiction

I did something truly insane today. I submitted a piece of work to The New Yorker. It was a piece I've been working on for about two months now, a short story that follows a young girl in the run-up to a natural disaster. I went through about six edits to get to the final…Read more The Terror of Submitting Your First Piece of Fiction

What’s the Difference Between a Writer and a Pretender?

I had a poetry lecture today, which I was dreading. Poetry for me brings back memories of exams in a dusty sports hall with the lingering smell of old socks; looking at pieces of writing that had been butchered with highlights and notes in the margin about form and theme and prose. Imagine my surprise, then,…Read more What’s the Difference Between a Writer and a Pretender?

The 10,000 Word Itch (or What To Do When You Come Up With A New Book Idea Whilst Writing A Different Book)

You're in a relationship. You've been together three months. You're starting to get to know each other, you've had quite a few dates - and things are starting to go really well. And then, BAM. You meet someone else. They're just as attractive as your current partner, but they're exciting and new. You tell yourself not…Read more The 10,000 Word Itch (or What To Do When You Come Up With A New Book Idea Whilst Writing A Different Book)