Just back from Devon, Totleigh Barton to be exact, a lovely old farmhouse in the depths of the lush countryside. I was there as a guest speaker at Arvon and, although I had a killer of a cold, had a really nice time talking about my own work and writing in general to a group of aspiring writers.
The one thing that I was asked by a number of people was how to do things, as if there was a map. One women said she had difficulty writing descriptions and admitted that she always skipped those bits in books. Well don’t write them then, I told her. Write the kind of things you like to read. Arvon is wonderful for inspiring people but it would be horrible if they thought that they were there to be trained, like a chef. I can’t remember exactly how I write. I just write stuff that I like and that I think works. You have to have a bit of a fuck-you attitude, I think, to writing. Stop reading books about writing, I felt like telling them. There are no rules (apart from grammar).
On a more positive note, two paperbacks of The Songwriter arrived yesterday. And I also just heard that I have sold it and The Luminous Life to a Brazillian publisher! Fantástico.