Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Hill method
British novelist Susan Hill www.susan-hill.com was interviewed in the recent edition of quarterly women's writing magazine, Myslexia.www.Myslexia.co.uk
I confess to not having read any of Ms Hill's writings, despite the extensiveness of her work - her first novel was published in 1961 when she was sixteen and in the last five years alone she has published five crime novels, four novellas, a volume of short stories, a children's novel and a reflection on books and reading.
Since coming across the interview, I've placed an order for, to start anyway, "A Woman in Black."
In her interview, Ms Hill gives practical, writerly advice. Commenting on the well worn saying "Write about what you know," Ms Hill describes her life as "Not very interesting," and asks why anyone would want to read what she knows about. An ability to create, from your imagination, a world that will be of interest to others, is vital.
The Hill Method:
"There are no rules. Ever. Not even about punctuation and grammar - look at 'Ulysses.' Who says you have to start writing first thing in the morning or that you have to get a certain number of words written? Who makes these rules? This sort of thing makes people anxious about their writing before they've even started."
"I always ask -why do you want to be a writer? Answers such as 'I want to be as rich as J K Rowling or I want to be famous' are not reasons for being a writer. They are fantasies. The only reason for wanting to be a writer is because you love doing it. All the rest is confetti."
And my favourite:
"If you want to be a writer you must read. You must read widely and you must read the best writers to see how they do it."
Well, that's alright then!