Writing tips

Great short stories – the sense of place

Four short story writers who put place at the heart of their stories     This week, as we continue the elusive pursuit of the ‘magic recipe’ for short stories, we look at four short story writers whose sense of place transports the reader so firmly into the story’s setting that the setting becomes, in …

Writing tips

Great short stories – the magic recipe? #2

Character:  I’ve put a question mark after the title this week, since I wouldn’t want anyone to believe that I think there’s actually such a thing as a ‘magic recipe’ for writing a short story. It’s a mighty subtle form, and no list of ingredients and mixing instructions will guarantee success. But looking at how …

Writing musings

Writing groups – good company, but do they help you write?

It depends on the group, unsurprisingly. A writing group which meets regularly merely to listen, praise and reassure might be good for your ego but won’t do much for your writing. On the other hand, a group of writers overly-focused on one particular type of writing, or purely on avenues to publication might give you …

Reviews, Writing musings

Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, and why form matters

    This strange, wonderful and ultimately frustrating book from 2018 Man Booker International Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk has got me thinking about the importance of form. First published in 2007 in Polish, and only translated into English last year (and beautifully translated at that, by Jennifer Croft) the book is filled with memorable lines …