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Emma Darwin
I write fiction and creative non-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
Tony, yes, very good point. I might add something about that above. It's easy, when you're inside the industry, to kind-of know what the proper prizes are, and what the dodgy ones look like, but it's not so obvious when you're only just finding your feet. Self-pubbers, particularly, are at risk, perhaps.
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This is the ninth and last in a series of posts inspired by my new book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, which was published in February. In each post I'll try to shed light not only on the practicalities of what happens when your book is being published, but also the sometimes surprising ways that each stage of the writing life can affect you and your writing. The whole Being Published series is here. If book prizes have become an ever more visible feature of the literary landscape, that's partly just a result of the industry's ever... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Very true - especially with that much distance.
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Good to know the timing was good, Mary!
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Glad you like it, Susie. And CONGRATULATIONS!
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Katherine, that's interesting. I assume you're self-publishing? There isn't that concept of "in the red" for trad publishing, because an advance isn't a loan.
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Oh, Lesley, how peculiar. I don't think FB has ever blocked a link I've posted in a message - and it hasn't been reported to me. Maybe try later? FB has its tantrums, I find. Hope it works, and your daughter enjoys the post when it does get to her.
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I'm home from the York Festival of Writing and the dust is settling. As ever, it was a wonderful weekend put together by Jericho Writers, full of writers of fiction and non-fiction at every stage, from beginners to multi-best-sellers and - always one of the highlights - a reunion of several dozen of Debi Alper's and my lovely graduates from the online Self-Editing Your Novel course, including one of the keynote speakers, million-selling Cathy Bramley, and one of the exciting debuts of last year, Amanda Berriman. Old friend Ruth Ware was another keynote speaker and I devoured her The Death... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Jane, a very belated You're Welcome!
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1) Enjoy it. Really enjoy it. You are a communicator, a storyteller, a weaver of words, and now you have an audience: don't fix your eyes so much on the past, or the future, that you can't feel that audience, relish it, and reward yourself as you deserve and can afford. You will never again be an unpublished writer. In the interests of truth, some of the nine things that follow are not sweetness and light, but don't let your Inner Pessimist close your eyes to the sun that is shining. 2) Succeeding as a writer is not an exam... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Another excellent suggestion - thanks so much, Linda!
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Oh, good call, Jennifer! Thanks so much - that's such a good suggestion. And I'm so glad the post and the blot are useful!
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Obviously I don't know the context - but I agree, as it stands, it reads to me as if they're two different people, because we read "the young man" as the PoV of someone who doesn't know who he is. If you want to locate us inside Robert's PoV, we need something like this: "The van was waiting, the taillights shining against the firewall of the house. Don´t drive away, Robert Schäfer thought. He drew his head in, turned up his coat-collar, and walked more quickly." or "The van was waiting, the taillights shining against the firewall of the house. Don´t drive away, Robert Schäfer thought - but at least his head was drawn in and his coat-collar turned up. He walked more quickly." Another minor PoV misdirection doesn't help, perhaps: a person doesn't quicken their footsteps - the sound is incidental, and something that someone else hears. The viewpoint character would quicken their pace, or speed up their walking, or something like that. Hope that helps. It sounds like the opening of a nice, tense thriller! Emma
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I would suggest not thinking of them as chunks in the narrative, taking the reader wholesale out of the moment, but - as with the last of my examples, further up - keeping us in "now", showing us "then" through that lens. Sometimes you go almost fully through the lens, with the sense of the "now" consciousness slipping away and what's on the page is pure "then": "Jane started to cry and then Mum scooped her up and carried her out of the house." Sometimes you stay with "now", and show us "then" with Now's understanding: "But she can't remember how old she was, although she must have been heavy: too old to be carried except in an emergency. " If you think of it not as an either/or, but as slipping to and fro between the two, then you just need to decide how completely to slip back - or how much to keep us here.
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Glad it was useful, Derrick.
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These things are important! Glad you enjoyed the post.
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Recently, a blog-reading veteran of our online course in Self-Editing Your Novel - let's call her Caroline - got in touch. Her main character - let's call her Zainab - is shattered by the death of her father and struggling to come to terms with her past choices and actions, as part of working out a new future. Caroline was finding it hard to work out the shape of such a journey, so she sent a very reluctant Zainab to see bereavement counsellor. These scenes weren't for the book, just the most efficient way for Caroline to get her imagination... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Teika, so glad it's hit the spot for you. And, I agree, I think there's a built-in tension for introverts - and yet most writers ARE introverts, because we have to be OK with spending a huge part of our lives alone, inside our own heads. And thanks for spotting that link - it should be this: https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html and I'll change it in the backend.
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So glad it's useful, Catherine.
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Don't worry, Rachel! Happens all the time. If anyone's reading this - this is the link to the post about surviving the submission blues. https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2017/10/your-writing-out-on-submission-welcome-to-hell.html
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This is the eighth in a series of posts inspired by my new book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, which was published in February. In each post I'll try to shed light not only on the practicalities of what happens when your book is being published, but also the sometimes surprising ways that each stage of the writing life can affect you and your writing. The whole Being Published series is here. Longstanding book industry people and literary types will tell you that reviewing isn't what it used to be - which is true, of course, though... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Yes, I think it's not obvious to most of us - but actually we all know it, underneath.
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Hannah, you're welcome - and thank you for the original inspiration!
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A friend has just asked for advice about how to get over the finishing line of a first draft. They're less than 10,000 words from the end of the first draft "for yourself", and until recently they were powering along, longing to reach the end and get stuck into the second draft "for your reader" - and from thence into the third draft "for your agent". And yet day after day they're procrastinating, dodging, fiddling, doing anything rather than actually getting to the end of the story. I've blogged a lot about procrastination, but this is a very particular case,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog