|Imogen Cooper & my best friend|
You never stop learning. It is important that you keep reading about writing. Not only do you need to keep reading fiction, watching films, going to art galleries and the theatre but continue to research into the subject. Understand what it means to write.
People often ask me whether it is worth taking a degree in creative writing or undertaking a course. My answer is simple, it depends on what you want. You will hear plenty of people saying that they
Working with organisations like the Golden Egg Academy means you can hone your manuscript and your craft while working with professionals, who have their finger on the publishing pulse. By the end of it, you really understand the editing process and how to apply that to any future projects. It also means you are not daunted by any potential editing undertaken by an agent or publisher.
By taking either an MA or working with an organisation such as GEA you learn not to too precious about your work. I’ve heard stories of writers who’ve refused to make any changes to their work because it is their ‘baby’ and it is perfect. I can’t imagine feeling like that about my work. I know a lot of writers, including myself, who won’t look at their work once it is published as they will see areas they want to improve as they don’t consider it good enough. All that happens to those who won’t make any changes is that they don’t get a publishing contract as they are deemed impossible to work with.
Personally, I love listening to writers talking about their writing processes. I always learn something or find an affirmation because they write the same way as me – such a good feeling. As a lecturer and workshop leader, I always find these inspirational as it is so good to hear the students and writers talking about their work. Again, I quite often learn something from these sessions. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a great organisation where you can meet like-minded people. They run socials, masterclasses and wonderful conferences.
Writers are invariably generous of heart and very willing to share. They are happy to talk to a certain extent BUT don’t take advantage. Don’t keep asking them to read your work. They are busy people. They have their own writing to do. Don’t assume you are the only person that asks them to look at their work. Don’t keep asking for tips. Also, if you don’t have anything nice to say about their book, don’t say anything. Writers have feelings you know.
Janelle Adsit ed. Critical Creative Writing: Essential Readings on the Writer’s Craft
Amanda Boulter, Writing Fiction
Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer
Kevin Brophy, Explorations in Creative Writing
Andrew Cowan, The Art of Writing Fiction
E. M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel
James Frey, How to Write a Damn Good Novel
John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
John Gardner, The Art of Fiction
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway on Writing
Henry James, ‘The Art of Fiction’, Longman’s Magazine
Colum McCann, Letters to A Young Writer
Robert McKee Dialogue
Robert McKee, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting
Andrew Melrose, Writing for Children
Orson Scott Card, Characters and Viewpoint
Sol Stein, Stein on Writing
William Storr The Science of Storytelling
William Storr The Science of Storytelling
Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter, What If Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats
Martin Griffith & Jon Mayhew, Storycraft: How to teach Creative Writing
Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation
Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel
David Mamet, Three Uses of the Knife
Philip Pullman, Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling
Katherine Rundell, Why you should read Children’s Books
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
Judy Waite, Wordtamer: Activities to Inspire Creative Thinking and Writing
Jen Webb, Researching Creative Writing
J. Webb Young, A Technique for Producing Ideas
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
John Yorke, Into the Woods
Media & Organisations
Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators (including Words & Pictures)
Golden Egg Academy (Sign up to receive their free newsletter) also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see their writing tips and prompts.