Tag Archives: editing

Isn’t it a little coarse to go and bang on the drums just because the doorbell is ringing?

I acted in a student film once and afterwards, at the wrap party in a fusty house at the top of town, I rode an office chair down the hill, flying across the junction at the bottom, ramming the pavement … Continue reading

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Writing isn’t just about having an idea – you have to know what to do with it

I’m sitting at the bar of a coffeeshop in Amsterdam, scribbling away. A man, standing next to me, gestures at my notebook and says: what do you write? I’m actually writing about my notebook, I tell him. Some people who … Continue reading

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The Dance of Avoidance

Go outside, find something – bring it back indoors, put it on your desk, write about it. I’ve done writing classes like this. Responses to this task rupture out of each other – each one, bringing two more, which in … Continue reading

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That tightrope moment in writing when stories either plummet or remain

Any story that’s going to be any good is usually going to change. I’ve been reading Alice Munro again. There was a point when I suddenly became afraid of the day I’d read all her stories and no more were … Continue reading

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Write of things you love

Three years ago, I spent a week in Shropshire and finally began to write of things I loved. These were memories of the farm I grew up on. For years, they’d been fidgeting as I sat down to work on … Continue reading

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Shockproof shit detector: the editor’s perspective

The late 1970s and early 1980s saw a new kind of fiction, best exemplified by the short story collections of Raymond Carver. In 1981 his best-loved collection was published. ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ recorded the … Continue reading

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Playful child and iron teacher: the two halves of the writer

I was nine when a new games mistress arrived at my school. She was a grey-haired woman, although she wasn’t old; I could tell because her eyebrows were black. Her bum was boxlike, giving an impression of very little waist. … Continue reading

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