Writer, reader, traveller, nature lover, storyteller, poet, cat lover

Writing in the bush! © Sherryl Clark

I remember only one story I wrote as a kid. Later, I wrote funny poems about people, long letters to my dad, and then some little stories and poems for my writing class. I know people who’ve taken 50 years to write what’s in their heart, because a school teacher or someone in their family criticized them. For me, it took about 30 years, and publication in an anthology. Starting small. Slowly getting serious.

My oldest writing friends have been hanging out with me, drinking coffee, workshopping and writing for all of those 30 years or more. We started together…

Ekphrasis is not about just describing, it’s about “seeing” in a different way

Photo by Victoria Wendish on Unsplash

The painting, the sculpture, the vase — they’re often in a museum or gallery, and they’re often cordoned off so you can’t get close. You may be surrounded by dozens of others, or able to sit alone on a seat and gaze. But for artworks that stir us in some way, the poets among us feel the urge to write a poem.

An ekphrastic poem is a response to the artwork, but not just how you feel about it. In fact, those often make the worst kinds of poems. Those feelings come from mind and heart and can be mostly…

It’s also often the most fun and the least stressful

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If you’re struggling with your first novel, you probably think I’m crazy to say this. But it’s true. When you write your first novel, you have dreams, ideas and determination. Sure, your determination might falter, but if you really want to write, you’ll overcome the lows and get it finished. Eventually.

We know what’s hard about first novels

Firstly, most people don’t really know what they’re doing, even if they’ve attended fiction writing courses. Because a novel is HUGE. While you struggle to get 200 or 500 words down, those 80,000 words or so seem an eon away. …

An editor’s thoughts on how Scrivener can affect plot cohesion and create confusion in readers

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For a lot of writers, Scrivener is the program they wouldn’t be without. Chapter files, character files, research files, a note board for organizing stuff — then when you’re done, just compile it all and — shazam! Your novel.

Except… as an editor who works almost exclusively on fiction, especially on novels in genres such as thriller and historical, I’m seeing a growing number of manuscripts with specific problems. Chapters and sections and ‘bits’ that don’t connect. Characters who jump into a scene and I have no idea who they are, or even where we are in time or setting…

I'd add Stuart MacBride along with Billingham in terms of characters. His Logan McRae books just kept getting better and better, and now Ash Henderson are just as good. As you say, the minor characters show us so much of the world. MacBride's settings and descriptions of the poorest regions of Aberdeen and Oldcastle are stunning (I often wonder if it ever stops raining!).

Sherryl Clark

Writer, teacher, editor, book lover — www.sherrylclarkwritingcoach.com is where I offer editing and manuscript development services.

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