Fear of finishing

Have you ever worried about finishing your manuscript? a student asked me recently. He should have completed his reworking of a first draft in March 2020 and it was now October. He’d started writing at the beginning of 2019. The intervening months of this year had been spent researching, adding text, deleting text, moving text …

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Writing a memoir

Writing a memoir, especially when it involves the famous, friends, family or foes, can be tricky. Do you get legal advice before you start? Do you write it all down and worry about the consequences afterwards? How are publishers going to react to a manuscript that could bring with it suits of defamation? I recently …

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Best practice writing tips 3

While reading Len Deighton’s Spy Sinker this week I came across a passage which well illustrates what not to do when writing dialogue. And because dialogue is a vital part of any novel you really do need to get it right. It’s about the use of names when characters are addressing one another. How often …

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Best practice writing tips 2 1

Best practice writing tips 2

An interview with the literary website LitNet last week, brings me to the second of my writing tips thanks to a reader. I was asked by LitNet’s Naomi Meyer how writing non-fiction stories differed from fiction.  My response was: “With non-fiction, as you know, you are tethered to what happened. However, non-fiction narrative has come …

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Writing rewards 3

Writing rewards

Rewards often come gradually for writers. It took me a decade and five failures before number six got published. But fortunately, for some, this happens a lot faster. Take Qarnita Loxton. She did one of my online fiction courses in 2015, then joined The Writers’ Masterclass and since then has published three novels (Being Kari, …

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When celebrities are fair game 4

When celebrities are fair game

Last week there was a brief spat in the media about the reissue of an updated biography of the Springbok rugby captain, Siya Kolisi. In an Instagram post, Rachel Kolisi (his wife) claimed that publication was a case of ‘white men benefiting off the back of a black man’. She asked for publication to be …

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Writing courses and Drum magazine 5

Writing courses and Drum magazine

One wild and wet Saturday morning back in June, I chatted to Jenny Crwys-Williams on Kaya FM about my writing courses, about success-stories such as Qarnita Loxton, Jenny Friedman and up-and-coming A’Eysha Kassiem. We also talked about the Drum writers of the 1950s. And this was when Kwanele Kunene won her place on a fiction …

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Creating new worlds 6

Creating new worlds

A few weeks ago I had a chat with Jenny Crwys-Williams on KayaFM about my creative writing courses. She ran a competition during her programme and it was won by Kwanele Kunene. Kwanele’s worked on two radio stations in Gauteng and has written a blog about art and a podcast dedicated to African creatives. We …

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