I agree with… Rachel Cusk

Rachel Cusk “It takes a particular kind of courage to write memoir. All writing – all creativity – involves self-exposure, but in memoir the exposure is twofold. The self is both subject and author, and as authors we are duty-bound to treat our subjects with the greatest possible objectivity. Is it possible, or even desirable, to be truly objective about oneself? And what value does that objectivity, if achieved, have for the reader?” [Rachel Cusk, in an interview at ‘Mslexia’ magazine] I’ve always been too intimidated to attempt memoir, though I have used my experiences in my fiction particularly for
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Great opening paragraph 15… ‘Spies’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The third week of June, and there it is again: the same almost embarrassingly familiar breath of sweetness that comes every year about this time. I catch it on the warm evening air as I walk past the well-ordered gardens in my quiet street, and for a moment I’m a child again and everything’s before me – all the frightening, half-understood promise of life.” ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami And if you’d
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If books were real, Jackson Brodie…

Jackson Brodie …would drink Taylor’s Yorkshire Gold tea with full-fat milk and two sugars.   ‘Case Histories’ by Kate Atkinson [UK: Black Swan] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Mattie Ross in ‘True Grit’ Sarah Burton in ‘South Riding’ Mikael Blomkvist in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Jackson Brodie would drink tea with sugar: CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-aJ
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Great opening paragraph 14… ‘Rebecca’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.” ‘Rebecca’ Daphne du Maurier  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Sacred Hearts’ by Sarah Dunant ‘The Sea The
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A book I love… Any Human Heart

I go back a long way with William Boyd to A Good Man in Africa and An Ice-Cream War. He is a consummate storyteller. But it was Brazzaville Beach that shocked me and made me a fan. I came late to Any Human Heart, I don’t know why. Logan Mountstuart is a fragile everyman who lives through a momentous century who gets involved in history but in off-key ways. I was locked into the story from the beginning with the three boys at school and their challenges to each other: a nifty device of differentiating the three characters. See my review of
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Great opening paragraph 13… ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Sunday 1 January. 9st 3 [but post-Christmas], alcohol units 14 [but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year’s Day], cigarettes 22, calories 5424.” ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ by Helen Fielding Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Moon Tiger’ by Penelope Lively ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Franzen ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY by Helen Fielding #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-7S via @SandraDanby
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If books were real, Sarah Burton…

Sarah Burton …would spend a quiet evening in watching The Killing box set, averaging two episodes per night.     ‘South Riding’ by Winifred Holtby [UK: BBC Books] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Jo March in ‘Little Women’ Katniss Everdeen in ‘The Hunger Games’ Agatha Raisin in ‘Something Borrowed, Someone Dead’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Sarah Burton would watch a boxset of ‘The Killing’: SOUTH RIDING by Winifred Holtby via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-an
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Writing exercise: getting to know a new character

When I’m trying to get to know a new character, nothing works better for me than a writing exercise. If I’ve already got some plot ideas I will put them into a scene which may come in useful later, otherwise I think of my character exercises as investment pieces. If I don’t know where to start, I choose a day-to-day situation and begin there. Often I will give myself 20 minutes, sitting in a busy coffee shop and write longhand in my Muji notebook. The routine seems to help. Here are two I wrote earlier. I’m not sure what the
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Great opening paragraph 12… ‘In Cold Blood’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’. Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West. The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed toes. The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain
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If books were real, Torak…

Torak …would not worry about eating Toad in the Hole, no matter what the sausages were made of.   ‘Wolf Brother’ by Michelle Paver [UK: Orion] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Agatha Raisin in ‘Something Borrowed, Someone Dead’ Mikael Blomkvist in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo’ Hermione Granger ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Torak would not eat veggie sausages: WOLF BROTHER by @MichellePaver via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-b9
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