Essential writing skills: lessons in dialogue

Definitely something to think about.

Matthew Wright

I realised recently that my standard conversation in any take-away always goes something like this:

“Hi, I’ll have a Super Glob Burger, hold the ketchup thanks.”
“Wanchiwitha?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand the question.”
“WANCHIWITHA?”
“Could you repeat that please?”
“WAN–CHI – WI – THA?”
“You mean, do I want chips with that? Yes please.”

My Adler Gabrielle 25 - on which I typed maybe a million words in the 1980s. My Adler Gabrielle 25 – on which I typed maybe a million words in the 1980s.

What does that tell us about writing? First point is that it’s obvious who was speaking – all without a single “I said”, “he said”, or anything else.

More crucial is the mis-spelling. I did that deliberately. What impression does it give of setting and character? A bored burger slider? Background clatter? Me having trouble figuring it out? All of the above? I didn’t say – and that’s important, because it makes the reader think. However, mis-spelling is a trick authors…

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Book Review: The Road to Somewhere A Creative Writing Companion by Robert Graham, Helen Newall, Heather Leach and John Singleton

Okay, a return to normal service here.

The Road to Somewhere is not a how to book but rather it covers all the topics from starting to write, the materials you will need for the journey (journals, reading as a writer, etc.), the process of writing itself (including some discussion on poetry and scriptwriting), getting published and further. This is an academic book, aimed at students and teacher of creative writing courses but it is also a good book for individuals too.

This book was on my reading list back in  the first year of my university course but it has become invaluable for me as a companion when writing and when I need advice and I am stuck on things, I have turned to this book for help and advice. It is easy to read and provides practical as well as academic information. This is mainly for students as it was written and edited by current and former lecturers at Manchester Metropolitan University and Edge Hill University. I have looked at other writing courses around the country and seen this book appear time and again on reading lists.

This book also includes Agony Aunt sections covering being scared about failing, not having any ideas, finishing and the next steps, among others. I have used these sections a lot when needing quick help and then consulting the chapters and their essays when I have a bit more time.

I have had various books on my reading lists at university but this is definitely one of my favourites and is the reason I bought it. It might be an academic book but I found out that I could get a second-hand copy in good condition on Amazon Marketplace for cheap. If you are serious about writing and thinking about studying it as an academic subject, I would recommend buying this book.