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Emma Darwin
I write novels and short fiction and I live in South East London.
Interests: fiction, creative non-fiction, novels, short fiction, short stories, historical fiction, academic writing, writing, reading, editing, teaching
Recent Activity
I've blogged before about how useful it can be for prose and fiction writers to think in terms of theatre and drama, and again at The History Girls about why my own Drama degree has been so useful to me. So when I came across this post, on actor James Devereaux's Great Acting Blog, I couldn't help hearing it as a way of thinking about writing. James has collected some of playwright and director's David Mamet's most thought-provoking and important ideas, and I hope he won't mind if I borrow them. Learn to ask: what does the character in the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at This Itch of Writing: the blog
So glad you're enjoying the blog, larry, and thank you for those kind words!
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Lorenzio, you're welcome. Glad the explanation helps you - but don't despair if it takes a while to put into practice in your own work. These things are like a small child learning spelling, I reckon: there's a longish period after they learn to spell a word correctly in isolation, when they're still very likely to mis-spell it in the throes of writing something, when their mind is on the story, not the individual words ... It's a while before the new understanding integrates into the rest of your tool-kit, and just becomes one more thing you do. Indeed, there's often what I call an "ugly duckling stage", when someone feels they've actually become a worse writer, because the new understanding makes them a bit awkward and self-conscious. But it passes.
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You're welcome, Gwen - glad you're finding the blog useful. I'm not sure what you mean by "no[t?] simultaneously. I have blogged about "How to Tell, and still Show" here: http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2011/10/are-you-showing-too-much.html I don't know if that's what you mean?
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So glad the blog goes on being useful, rick lee. Best of luck with the new one, and the serialising!
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Happy New Year Greg. And yes, I know lots of writers who do morning pages, or a journal, or something else which means they check in with their writerly self first thing.
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Happy New Year to you, Melissa! And surely the whole point of goals is that they are achievable. There's very little point in a goal (as opposed, maybe, to an aspiration or a dream, which also have their value), if it's not something you realistically could achieve.
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Swimming in the canals? Or maybe not... And yes to good ideas on the bike: there's something about physical movement, I think, and rhythm... So glad you're finding the useful, and I hope your 2016 has got off to a good start!
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Yes, you've got more hills to choose from up there, than I do here in South East London, though we don't get the ice so often. It is amazing how useful walking is for that kind of letting-go ... you can hardly call it thinking, can you. Although it's also good for hard thinking: I have a friend who has a particular circuit she calls her Plotting Walk.
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You're welcome, Victoria - and Happy New Year to you. Mistakes are so important...
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Happy New Year Lindsay, and you're very welcome. I think we all have things we resist doing - and feedback can so often be really difficult to process. Great news that you feel that mine helped in the end - and best of luck to it!
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;)! Very true. Didn't want to sound as if I was maligning Prosecco... I think daily target can work well, although for some a target of time spent, rather than words written, is more achievable.
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Happy New Year to you, Sophie. And I'm so glad last year's idea was good for you. Best of luck with it all.
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;)
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Yes, that's quite true. Kate Long makes the point in the comments a little further down: that what and where you put a speech tag is as much about the shape and pace and rhythm of the overall sentence and paragraph, as it is about its explanatory function.
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I think trying to think in terms of "author intrusion" is often a red herring (as well as being a horrid term in itself ;) ) ... A novel isn't like a film where the director suddenly pops his head into frame to explain what the characters are up to: fiction is all narrative: it's ALL by the "author", or rather the narrator, and the "fictive dream" is woven by that storyteller's voice, showing, telling, explaining, evoking ... Which might perfectly well include speech tags and so on, or whatever it takes to work on the listener/reader as effectively as possible. The only question for the writer is how explicitly present the narrator is, in their role as storyteller, at any given moment - which is where thinking in terms of psychic distance is so useful.
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Glad it was useful, Ellie!
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;) Yes, I know that feeling...
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Anne, I think it's very true that what starts with being one kind of problem turns out to change something quite different, that you didn't think was what you were working on at all.
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First of all, Happy New Year and grateful thanks to everyone - writers and readers - who reads the blog, and a special lift of the Champagne glass (all right, Prosecco glass - we're on a writer's budget, here) to anyone who comments, spreads the word or links to the blog from elsewhere. Without you all, there wouldn't be a blog, because why would I talk, if I didn't have someone to talk to? I don't really do New Year's Resolutions, because they bring out my Inner Stroppy Toddler. But this is, let's (two-)face it, the Janus time of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2016 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
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Nick, yes, of course; I'd be delighted. Could you just make sure that you credit the blog?
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It doesn’t take me 65 billion years to write a novel (though there are Monday mornings when my characters won’t behave and the bottom’s fallen out of my plot, when it feels like it), but thinking about how stories get written in terms of evolution really is helpful. The first thing to recognise is that evolution is inseparable from time, and that's true of writing too, and reading: there are many kinds of time involved. (And if you're wondering why I'm riffing on evolution, click here.) Survival of the fittest is what's going on in my writing of a crazy... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2015 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Hi Moji - I'm so glad you like this post. I run the blog under a Creative Commons Licence - for more details see the link in the sidebar. That does only cover non-commercial use, but in this instance I'm happy for you to republish thish post provided: a) I'm identified as the copyright holder and the blog is named, b) you link clearly back to this original post, b) the text of the post isn't broken up by anything which is advertising your own or anyone else's products. If you do go ahead on this basis, please post a link here in the comments.
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Dave, yes, it may not be about the information - which I've expanded in my reply upthread to Sophie. But you're right that I haven't made it very obvious in the post, except in saying that there does need to be a reason (other than the writer's need for the reader to know the info), inside the characters' world...
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