Friday, 4 November 2016

Latest Article in Writing Magazine

November's issue of Writing Magazine is called 'Burning up with Ideas'. That's less to do with feverish brain activity on the part of the writer (although there is that), but more to do with stumbling on some renewed ideas while having a clear-out.

Not normally one to throw any of my past writing efforts away, in the hope that something old and near-forgotten may strike a fresh spark of brilliance, I decided to do just that with a hefty mound of manuscripts and a couple of matches. Not one to do things by half, I also reached for a bottle of fire-starter liquid.

No, I didn't suffer any degree of burns - nice of you to worry - but I did pause occasionally to read some of the stuff I was dumping in the flames. In fact what should have been a quick burn-up became a lengthy process alternating between wincing at some of my more pedestrian efforts and wondering how I'd managed to write something I was pleased with. (In fact some of the manuscripts have been published, so it wasn't all failure).

The upshot was, seeing snatches of the unpublished paragraphs in passing, I found some of them stuck, even found their way into my pocket for future reading. And that's the way of writing: all you need is a brief prompt and you're away on the chase for a new story.

One practical thing I did learn (mainly a timing thing brought about by the sound of a police siren approaching the area where I live), is the time it takes to burn a pile of A4 paper. Forget about a quick flash and a pile of ashes; paper doesn't burn that easily. So if you have a character anxious to dispose of some damning evidence before the cops arrive, get them to plan ahead or get caught in the process.

Happy writing!


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