All items: Ian McEwan

When she started working as a law reporter, Elanor Dymott was under the impression that she was following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens. But Dickens, she discovered, never wrote a law report in his life. Still, it made a good story…
It is sometimes hard to distinguish between memorable books and inspiring books. I remember books for various reasons, often to do with characterisation and dialogue.
An author’s ideas are essential to the writing process, but how and why do they arise? Katharine Grant considers various possibilities.
The novel I believed did not want to be written suddenly wrote itself right to the end in a matter of weeks all because of a few lines I chanced to read one afternoon in a remote house in Wales.
I still employ that childhood sweet-shop approach of chancing upon an author I like then consuming all her, or his, books one after another until they are gone.
Reading as a writer and not just as a reader is a different experience, both richer and less carefree; instead of simply enjoying the ride now you are paying attention to the mechanism that makes it possible
I gather thoughts as I go; if I am right at the beginning of a novel I will have written down an idea that came to me on the train, or in the night, or whilst out on a run, and I might need it now.

Cynthia Rogerson speaks with James McConnachie about ensuring realism in her novels, disliking positive discrimination, and putting up with having her serious novels packaged in chick-lit covers.

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