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The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club Paperback – March 9, 2010
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Amazon Exclusive Excerpt from Maeve Binchy's Writers' Club: Finding Your VoicePygmalion, 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
In this motivational guide for aspiring writers, Binchy displays the same generosity of spirit that has endeared many of her fictional characters to readers of her best-selling novels. Presented in the form of chatty letters, Binchy’s missives range from the practical to the inspirational. Writing in the intimate tone of a longtime confidante, she doles out encouragement, inspiration, and advice in equal measures for scribblers of every genre and every literary medium. Binchy’s heartfelt belief that “everyone is capable of telling a story,” and her commitment to giving fellow storytellers a confidence boost, shines through in her always sparkling, humorous prose. Suggestions from other writers, agents, editors, and publishers are included throughout, and as an extra bonus, some short stories previously unpublished in the U.S. are included. Binchy fans will be curious; budding authors will be stimulated. --Margaret Flanagan
A Week in Summer is Maeve Binchy’s inspiring tale about a midwestern couple who--while on a trip in Ireland--rediscovers their love for each other and for life itself.
Top customer reviews
She is a wonderful and pleasing writer who delivers great stories without sex, violence, and other raunchiness, She writes from the heart with stories that will warm your heart and soul, stories that you will never forget.
If your interest is in reading, not becoming a writer, you also would enjoy reading this book.
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I'm a fan of Maeve Binchy's writing style and this book delivers the...Read more