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The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club - Softcover

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9780752883076: The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club
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Providing a unique insight into how a bestselling author writes, 'The Maeve Binchy's Writers' Club' includes advice, tips and a witty take on the life of a writer from the successful Irish author.

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Amazon Exclusive Excerpt from Maeve Binchy's Writers' Club: Finding Your Voice

I never knew what was meant by "finding your voice." Not for ages. But I think I know now. I believe it means finding a way to write that is comfortable for you. It’s finding the method to tell your story that seems natural and unaffected. That way you're not going to get caught out all the time trying to keep up with some kind of style that you think may be appropriate.

We should think of Shaw's Pygmalion, in which the cockney girl can pronounce "the rain in Spain" perfectly, but comes totally unstuck in a moment of crisis. I know people in Ireland who have changed their accents considerably, and I have an unworthy wish to wake them in the middle of the night with the news that their house is on fire just to hear if they cry, "Jaysus," like the rest of us. I think that finding a voice in writing has everything to do with integrity and little to do with stylistic imitation. If we admire someone a lot, then it's tempting to think that if we, too, wrote like that we would be terrific. Not necessarily so--we could end up just looking like poor copies.

I adore William Trevor's writing; I would love to be able to create a relationship, a family, a community, a sense of tension as he does. But there's no point in trying to imitate him; I’d fall flat on my face. Instead, I read him with awe, and I wonder if there is any trick or writing technique he has that I might somehow "borrow." I have been to talks he has given and even asked questions from the audience, and I have learned a lot.

One thing he says is that if you have several characters and set ups in a story, the trick is to move on fairly quickly from one to the other. If you are starting to get bored by a scene, you can be sure that the reader would be bored a page ago. Move on, he says, and it's great advice.

He also suggests leaving a short story in a drawer and not looking at it for six months. That, I am afraid, would be a total nonstarter for me. The moment I have "The End" written, the story is in an envelope or an e-mail to someone. But in a perfect world William Trevor may be right when he says that if you let a story settle for six months you can see all the mistakes as if they were highlighted in yellow Day-Glo. Yes, but suppose you saw the whole story highlighted? What would you do then?

The point of all this is: what do we get from other writers? My bossy advice is that you don't want to copy other writers; what you want is to "borrow" some of their techniques and present them in your own voice. It’s no use asking any writer, "Where do you get your ideas?" Oddly, it's the question writers are asked most often, and it's almost impossible to answer in any way helpfully. You get your ideas by asking yourself what kind of situation you would be happy to sit down and write about every single week for seven or eight months. Usually it’s something you feel comfortable with, like something from your own experience or from familiar territory. Or it could be something that fascinates you, for example, if you were interested in military history and were going to write a historical novel set at the Battle of the Bulge.

My most fervent suggestion is, don't allow yourself to believe that if a topic worked for one person it will work for you. That way you are denying yourself the real pleasure of writing, which is telling your own story in your own way. There are loads of hints out there, and I have always found writers are willing to share them rather than hug the secrets of success to themselves.

There will always be plenty of readers keen for things to read. Success is not a pie where everyone who gets a slice has somehow diminished what is left for everyone else. That’s not really how it works. Success is more like a cairn, a heap of stones where the more each person gets, the more it adds to the general body of work out there. Other writers are there to encourage us, to be the living proof that those hours of "keeping at it" can pay off. If we can learn a little hint here and there from every writer we read, and even more especially, from every writer we meet, then we will do well.

--Maeve

About the Author:
Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, including TARA ROAD. Maeve Binchy received a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the BRITISH BOOK AWARDS in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A. T. CROSS AWARD in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the BOB HUGHES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the BORD GAIS IRISH BOOK AWARDS by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012. Visit her website at www.maevebinchy.com

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  • PublisherOrion Paperbacks
  • Publication date2008
  • ISBN 10 0752883070
  • ISBN 13 9780752883076
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages176
  • Rating
    3.83 avg rating
    ( 707 ratings by Goodreads )

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. 'The most important thing to realise is that everyone is capable of telling a story. It doesn't matter where we were born or how we grew up ' Maeve BinchyThe Maeve Binchy Writers' Club gives a unique insight into how a No.1 bestselling author writes. Inspired by a course run by the National College of Ireland, it comprises 20 letters from Maeve, offering advice, tips and her own wonderfully witty take on the life of a writer, in addition to contributions from top writers, publishers and editors.Whether you want to write a saga or a thriller, comedy or journalism, or write for the radio or stage, this also gives advice on the best way to get started, and what editors, publishers and agents are looking for.The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club is a fascinating and informative guide to inspire all budding writers as well as entertaining Maeve Binchy fans the world over. Fascinating and informative - advice to inspire budding writers as well as entertaining Maeve Binchy fans the world over.'A motivating, and pleasingly undaunting volume for the would be writer in your life' DAILY MAIL Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780752883076

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