The round up is back

If you’re reading this in the distant future and all is peaceful – check the dateline. It has been a tumultuous week here in early 2017 and my list of ‘writing/culture’ tweets from publishers, critics and writers has been unusually full of politics. Unsurprising really – since most of my favourite people are opinionated and […]

Lunchtimes at the library

The recent #rememberingmylibrary hashtag has stuck with me, much in the same way that library memories themselves do. Libraries have a church-like aspect – with their own rituals of giving and reciprocation, their own incense. They demand tokenistic sacrifices. They offer sanctuary. As a lonely schoolboy, I retreated to the library. I found my corner and read – often science fiction – though one of my haunts happened to be the psychology section. […]

14 Questions the BBC have used to assess new scripts

Poking through some old files this week, I came across some notes I put together from the 2010 Everyword festival at the Liverpool Everyman. Aimed at scriptwriters, this is great advice for everyone who works with story. The BBC Writers’ Room workshop was given by Paul Hardy. The BBC encourage unsolicited scripts. In fact, twenty-five […]

Three Good Things: despair and consolation

I’m starting an occasional series this week I’m calling Three Good Things. This is by no means an idea I’ve borrowed from a cookery writer. Absolutely not. The idea is this: grab three recent writing or publishing links that resonate with one another either directly or through me – and lay them out here with […]

Words we should ration #1: Skitter

Sometimes a word is just too good not to use. It sounds out with a lovely onomatopoeic resonance and conjures the perfect image in the reader’s imagination. You can’t resist it. And so you don’t. And nor does anyone else. And, before you know it, it’s everywhere – tap-scuttling along skirting boards, clicking with many […]