Creative Writing Tuition, Love it or Hate it?

Reader Logo by
Elizabeth Baines

You’re a bookish child: you read from the age of three and you’re onto the classics by the time you’re eight: the patterns of fiction are embedded in your brain. And it’s not just you: you’re a teacher of English and every so often there’s a child with that verbal facility and imagination and wisdom way beyond their years, and you know, just know that writers are born. Anyway, you write a short story and it’s accepted by a top literary magazine. Creative Writing courses? Strictly for the mediocre birds!

But then, oh! You find yourself with a new baby in a strange town and you’re going crazy with isolation, so crazy you go to a Creative Writing workshop. You sit at a table with some people who’ve published in places like the parish magazine. You save their feelings by not telling them where you’ve published. They pull your story to shreds. One tweedy old buffer explains to you the basics of (conventional) writing. Stories are like rose bushes, he tells you, with reference to your deliberately rhetorical repetition: you need to prune. Creative Writing workshops? Wouldn’t touch them again with a barge pole!

Time to Grow Up?

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by Ann Giles

It’s that pitying look. It makes me want to smile every time.

It’s because of the children’s books. Not my children’s books, but children’s books in general. There is no need to feel sorry for me because I read, almost exclusively, children’s books. I may be past 40 - and a bit - but I have no need for ‘literary’ novels where the protagonist agonises throughout the book.

I have experienced three childhoods, and I hope this latest one won’t ever come to an end. Until my natural time is up.

First time I was a child when I was meant to be a child and I progressed from picture books to Alistair McLean, with a few things in-between, after which I reckoned I was an adult. Read a few more McLeans, but by the time I’d covered Anita Brookner’s first four novels I was ready to feel really depressed.

Focus on the Chaos

Reader Logo by  Michael S. McInerney

There was a time, man. A time where you wanted to right all the wrongs, and build those bridges backwards. There was a time where you were a fool, a kid, but you didn't know it, you made all those twists and turns, and you burn and burn. You burned the past, like a photo album soaked in gasoline, you spat matches; you trudge forward, always forward. You were the king of the swing, babe. You “wheeled and dealed” in fancy words, you stayed clean on the path of least resistance. Your suit stayed white and your shoes stayed shiny. Shiny like that polished revolver - six bullets but you only need one to fix everything - or complete the mess. For if everything goes wrong, then you at least make it seem right by making it complete. A complete mess, with nicely tied ends. You never left a mess.

Beauty in the Eye of the Holder

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by Tom Chalmers

Whenever my day job comes up with friends or family, one of the first questions always asked is, ‘what about all these reader things?’ Even if I believe it will take a little longer than expected to make a real sales impact into the UK market, certainly for trade fiction & non-fiction, the e-book is definitely here to stay. And while publishers may be able to sell high numbers, they all know, or should, that as prices inevitably plummet they are going to make little if any profit per unit.

So, what about the hard copy? It is really finished? Well, fingers crossed, no, but it is currently heading towards a split between a spread market, with millions of books available & selling in low numbers, a boutique industry with a low number of books selling well through a relatively small number of outlets, and maybe the supermarkets still hammering out the top ten at next to nothing.

The Basics of Drawing – Form

Reader Logo by Richard Collingidge

Form is the basis of all drawing. It is a must for any type of artwork that is trying to describe something physical, and to a lesser extent, it can also be used to describe emotions, although composition and lighting have a big (bigger) part to say in terms of describing emotion.

The most basic technique to describe form is line, and the best tool for this is a pencil.

When first starting out it is best to pick an object, put it in front of you and try and draw it. While drawing it remember to keep looking back and forth at the object and your rendition of it. If you notice something is wrong with it, try and change it so it looks more like the object. The more you do this, the more it will look like the original.

When using line, creating depth can be a problem. A way to create this can be making a line thicker when it is supposed to be close and thinner when it is further away. A better way to create depth with just line is to use different softness’ of pencil. The maximum range (as far as I know) from hardest to softest is 9H to 9B with probably the most famous HB somewhere in the middle.

Naseem Rakha in new issue of The View From Here Out Now!

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the view from here
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Gorgeous, Eye Catching, Coffee Table Worthy! The View From Here - The Best of the Best in the new and emerging literary scene!

Interview with the award-winning author and journalist Naseem Rakha.

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