Browsing category writing tips

acting and writing et al.


“I trained as an actor in New York, and one discipline I studied was the Stanislavski technique, the basis of which is to live truthfully in the imaginary circumstances. That is what I try to do when I write. I set up an imaginary world, and try to let the characters live truthfully in that

any number of old ladies


“The artist’s only responsibility is his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one…If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate: The Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.” — William Faulkner

martin amis. literature and violence.


On Thursday, 1 July 2010, Martin Amis will be discussing literature and violence at The Martin Harris Centre with guests Blake Morrison and John Gray. They’ll be mulling over… The psychological and cultural roots of violent acts, and the ways in which writers from Shakespeare to JG Ballard depict and respond to it. Martin Amis

to dream


When I was about twelve I decided there was nothing to it but I had to learn Russian. (I often took on grand ideas during my summer holidays.) Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gorky. If these wonderful writers could be transliterated so beautifully into English, imagine how wonderful they must be in their own language. I still

the art of fiction – no.85


No one does interviews quite like The Paris Review. In a 1984 interview, Thomas Frick asked English novelist and prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction, JG Ballard, how a book took shape for him. Ballard’s reply follows: “That’s a vast topic and, to be honest, one I barely understand. Even in

on madness. a writing exercise.


In one way or another, the protagonists of Wise Blood, Lolita, On the Road, Franny and Zooey, and The Crying of Lot 49 all have their sanity called into question, and various abnormal mental states (religious enthusiasm, drug hallucinations, and so forth) potentially compromise their rational faculties. Discuss the theme of madness in one of

grammar girl: between you and me


When a song with a grammatically incorrect title becomes a smash hit, that’s a catastrophe. English teachers everywhere were surely gnashing their teeth as students sang along with “Between You and I” by Jessica Simpson in 2006. But she can be forgiven; it’s a hypercorrection heard sputtering from the mouths of many educated people. The

writing as acting: john august


Last fall I took a writing workshop with Daniel Wallace, a man who knows a thing or two about bringing books to the big screen. The film rights to Wallace’s novel, “Big Fish”, was purchased by Columbia Pictures. Steven Spielberg sat on the project for a while but it was Tim Burton who eventually directed

shakespeare’s daughters


Last month Rachel Cusk had a brilliant article in the Guardian on women’s writing. She made several good points that illustrate the conundrum many of us find ourselves in. Importantly, she asked whether women’s writing should seek equivalence or distinction from its male counterpart. She’s inclined to agree with Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf

orson welles. the not-overly-cerebral artist.


“I’ve never liked talking about art or literature in general, and I’ve always hated artists who talk about their work rather than doing it.” -Orson Welles The man voted Greatest Director of All Time by the British Film Institute essentially said that he didn’t dare think about deconstruction and criticism of art and literature because