Writer’s block can be a dark tunnel where ideas, characters, plotlines and creative invention fade in the blackness. There are strategies to help break or lessen this curse which could be usefully applied to any form of writing.
Duncan Forbes describes the challenges and consolations of translating poetry and how it can help us to gain an insight into earlier times, distant cultures and other minds.
Charles Jennings mourns unused research from Utah: a concatenation of vice, gambling, Mormonism, hideous landscapes, a dead sea, padlocked beer — and the atomic bomb.
‘Having a message’ or ‘wanting to say something’ is seen as preachy, cheesy, old-fashioned and generally a detriment to the development of great art. Not so, says Zoë Marriott, we all have a message to express.
How far does the art of turning ‘true life’ into biography, film or television lead to a dilution of the facts, or a manipulation of the truth, asks Deborah Chancellor. Sometimes the more entertaining the story, the less truthful it may become.
A change of place, finding a new muse, pausing on a London bridge, all can stimulate the writer's imagination again, says John Greening. From a sexual potency operation for W.B.Yeats, to Clive James’ terminal illness, there are many ways to trigger inspiration.
Could artificial intelligence and big data predict the bestsellers of the future, asks Brian Clegg. Or would these algorithmic dark arts lead only to cookie-cutter bland titles, instead of original fiction.
Regional dialects used in writing can offer a richness and vitality not to be found in works written in standard English, argues Ray French. Then why are publishers wary of committing to this kind of writing?