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Old 11-09-2013, 08:05 AM   #1
HarryT
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Thoughts from P.D. James about writing...

Some interesting thoughts from the British crime author P.D. James on writing:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24867584
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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A lot of good advice in there.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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Oh, wow. Her Death Comes to Pemberly looks wonderful. I always enjoy her books. Her advice on writing was, as expected, ecellent. Thanks for the link.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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I think she's right about inborn talent to a degree as well. Two people can both learn the piano for example and one becomes a concert pianist while the other one can play well enough to entertain themselves and a few friends. No doubt some such factor comes into play with writing as well, though the willingness to work hard at the craft also counts too I think.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
7. Choose a good setting

Something always sparks off a novel, of course. With me, it's always the setting. I think I have a strong response to what I think of as the 'spirit of a place'. I remember I was looking for an idea in East Anglia and standing on a very lonely stretch of beach. I shut my eyes and listened to the sound of the waves breaking over the pebble shore. Then I opened them and turned from looking at the dangerous and cold North Sea to look up and there, overshadowing this lonely stretch of beach was the great, empty, huge white outline of Sizewell nuclear power station. In that moment I knew I had a novel. It was called Devices and Desires.
She has always excelled at that. Just reading this paragraph brought the setting of that book completely back to my mind, because her words had previously set it so firmly in my imagination.

I'm glad that she's one of those authors whose works I read while I was young, because she helped to set my mental definition of "good writing". I read all sorts of things but I find that I always, in the back of my mind, do a comparison of how successful the author has been in creating the universe that surrounds the action to someone like James. If I find myself immersed in the sense of place, I know that I'm going to have an enjoyable read.

Last edited by Xanthe; 11-09-2013 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:41 AM   #6
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Excellent set of advice!

I think #1 is sometimes the tricky one. Many think 'everyone' can write, but it's just not true and many people continue to delude themselves that they can -- perhaps even me.

I picked up Samuel Delany's book which I ran across yesterday (I'll start a separate post) but in the first chapter he talks a bit about 'talent' which is what I think she is saying in point #1.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:02 AM   #7
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I notice that she doesn't mention revision. And does say she doesn't show it to anyone before sending it to her agent/publisher.....makes me wonder about her revision process...
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
I notice that she doesn't mention revision. And does say she doesn't show it to anyone before sending it to her agent/publisher.....makes me wonder about her revision process...
I suspect that she either...

1) is excluding those people from "anyone"

or more likely

2) that happens after sending to her "team" at the publisher.
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:02 PM   #9
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Well, yeah, I could have guessed that. maybe someone knows, I googled a bit but didn't find anything. Just curious because writing IS re-writing.

It would be good to know what font she uses as well.
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Old 11-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #10
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She says in the interview that she writes by hand; she doesn't use a computer.
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