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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
Yes, creative and personal tensions - so muddly, things get ... good luck with it!
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Oh, thank you! And for that link, Pippa - that looks just fascinating. I think this whole non-fictionish, life-writing territory is fascinating, even if rather EEEK!!! for the writers at times!
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Thanks, Mary!
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Jenny, I hate to say it, but their letters were edited by the critic Richard Curle, and published by Faber in the 1930s - that's how I came across them: in the London Library. There are copies floating around on Abebooks, if you're still intrigued. He said he'd only left out a few that were of no consquence, just about trivial arrangements - I assume he was telling approximately the truth. And yes, she didn't think much of the Ring and the Book...
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Thanks, John! Glad you like the sound of it.
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Thanks, Roz!
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Thank you, Penny. I do hope you like it when it's published!
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Thank you, Sophie! It was a challenge to work out how to do it, which is why I'm slightly stunned, as well as absolutely thrilled, that it is actually going to be published.
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Sally, I drew very heavily on Period Piece for the novel, having grown up on it! Lovely book. I hope you like This is Not a Book when it comes out!
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Your grandfather sounds like brilliant book material. I think life writing, creative non-fiction, call it what you will, is such a fascinating form, and evolving so fast... Best of luck with it!
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Doug, you're welcome. I'm so glad you find the blog useful.
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Oops! to the two number 14s - thank you for spotting that, and apologies for making you weep! But at least there's always Spem...
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Oh I do hope you like it! And thank you for the congrats, dearest Whisks!
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So glad it's useful, Jan. Good luck for surviving, and for the new thing.
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Oh, Wendy, I hope you get some responses before you're completely bald! Good luck!
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I’m delighted to say that my new book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, will be published by Holland House Books on Darwin Day - 12th February - 2019. I'm hugely grateful to my wonderful agent Joanna Swainson, of Hardman and Swainson, and Robertt Peet of Holland House Books. But as this is The Itch, I wanted to say a little more, because although the book is rooted in the novelist part of me that wrote The Mathematics of Love and A Secret Alchemy, the writer-about-writing, fresh from Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, is also involved. But... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2018 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
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I don't think so.
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Bon Courage to you, Anna
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Xavier, you're very welcome. That MOOC sounds excellent - perhaps not surprising with Iowa's pedigree - and how exciting to realise you've got something that connects up. Very best of luck with it!
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You're welcome, Philippa! Glad it helps.
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Talking of which, you might also find this new post useful, for thinking about differentiating between your two voices: http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2018/01/switching-from-one-to-more-than-one-point-of-view-heres-help.html
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Well, thank you for the original question! So glad the post has helped. With your alternating-first-person, you might find my post about non-linear timelines useful, because you may be telling the story in a linear way, but you're still having to handle the shifts between the two: http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2017/04/whats-a-non-linear-narrative-and-should-my-story-be-one.html As well as voice, you might take note of my suggestion that you make sure the first couple of sentences after the switch are particularly characteristic of that voice, and couldn't possibly be in the other.
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David, you're so right: "Who has most at stake?" or "To whom does this scene matter most?" are very often the pointer to the right choice of PoV: if A is going to propose marriage to B you'd probably want to use A's in the run-up, full of anxiety, building tension as we wonder whether she'll have the guts to go through of it. And then when A has said "Will you marry me?" switching to B's PoV, because now the narrative tension is with B: will she say Yes, or No? http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2011/10/point-of-view-narrators-3-external-narrators.html But your point about also using PoV to withold stuff without the reader feeling cheated is also a good one! Although you have to be careful, I think, to have set the book up (see my Toolkit post on creating the reader you need - http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2015/01/do-what-you-like-and-show-your-reader-how-to-like-it-too.html so that we're used to several points-of-view, probably including that one, so we don't feel the author pulling the levers... Glad you like the posts!
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Thanks, Carole! You're very welcome - I'm delighted that the Itch is being helpful.
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Anna, you're welcome - glad it helps! I think your decision makes lots of sense. But young and uneducated can be fun, because it means you can approach things like metaphors and images, and grammar, in a much freer way. She won't have conventionally well-built sentences, but that doesn't mean she doesn't perceive things perceptively. I remember when I was writing The Mathematics of Love, I had to construct teenaged, under-educated Anna's voice from zero, because my other narrator, Stephen, was much more developed, from earlier stories. And I went about it quite cold-bloodely, including deciding, for example, that Anna didn't use metaphors - which are a sophisticated bit of sleight-of-brain - but she did use similes, "It was like when you...", "It reminded me of..." and then the comparisons she made were sharp and fresh. So her voice was vivid, but in a way that was (I hope) consistent with who she was. More thoughts here: http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2009/11/twisting-the-tale-in-cold-blood.html
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