Michael Collins Memoirs and Writing

Bad sex in Fiction

The winner of this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction is about to be announced.

Last year, for passages in his book, For the Shape of Her, Rowan Somerville won the 18th Bad Sex in Fiction award.

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You want me to read what?

What should writers read?

You can’t be much of a writer if you’re not a reader. And you should have read sufficient of your genre if you intend to become good at it. It’s a bit pointless writing historical romances when you only read sci-fi, don’t you think?

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Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs. ~ John Osborne

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So Much For That

Things are about to warm up around here. Shorter, sharper blogs, delivered with far more frequency. Not that we’ll lose all the thinky posts—they’ll still be there, and we’ll have a few more from time to time.

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Biography or bat poo?

There are bios and there are kick-arse accounts of someone’s life. So, what makes a bum-kicking bio good to read? Is it the story—what happened to the subject—born in a concentration camp, survived three global conflicts, and married a prince?

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The Last Book

No, it’s not the last book I’ll ever write. And, in my line of work, it certainly isn’t the first. That’s what I do—write books for other authors, or coach people to write their own.

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Stream of consciousness

It happens to all of us, except perhaps the incredibly gifted and prolific writers we hear about pumping out 5-10,000 words each day—you know the ones—who will sell you an eBook on how to write a novel in just one week.

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Beginning of the end

You’re on the final approach—the countdown to the end—a moment you’ve been dreaming about for the last few months, or years maybe. You’ve crafted your book over countless hours, fashioned the characters, and perfectly assembled everything you want to say.

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The loneliness of the long-distance writer

In the olden days—no guys, that’s not a mere twenty years ago, let’s say the mid 1800s—we can picture the writer, sitting at his or her desk, quill in hand, staring contemplatively out over some peaceful English rural scene.

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‘I haven’t been educated about writing,’ she told me, ‘so how can I write a book?’

I was meeting a book coaching client for the first time and did she have a story to tell.

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Writing in Blood

I came across an interesting question the other day: Why write in ink when you can write in blood? And, while we’re about it, we can add to our discomfort about the dripping, body-warm, gore splattered nature of the question by suggesting that it opens a can or two of slimy, wriggly things, freshly gathered from a half-open grave.

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A friend indeed

I was having a cup of coffee with Jane Teresa the other day—a not infrequent pleasure—when, on my way back from a loo visit, someone stopped me to say, hello.

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