Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hilary Mantel and Her Writing

Back in 2010 I saw Hilary Mantel read an extract from her Booker-winning book, Wolf Hall at the London Book Fair. I had already read a great interview in Mslexia (writing magazine) and really wanted to give Wolf Hall a try. And the usual thing happened - what happens in London Book Fair, stays at London Book Fair and I forgot about my promise to myself to try some Tudor historical fiction. 

A few weeks ago my Dad got me a copy of Wolf Hall from a charity shop. It's now on my to-be-read pile on my desk and will be read after Mrs Darcy Vs The Aliens.

On Saturday, The Culture Show (BBC) did a special on Hilary Mantel. She is a very intriguing writer and She did a good job to explain endometriosis as I know that it is a very serious condition that not many people know about. I know people who have this condition and when they explain it, people scratch their heads and just blame it on 'women troubles.'  

I loved her approaches to writing:
  • Trust your readers.
  • Concentrate on sharpening your memory.
  • Cut each page you write by one third. 
  • Work out what you want to say and write it in the most direct and vigorous way you can.
  • "Do I take my own advice - not a bit."
  • Mantel never wants her reader to feel settle - she doesn't want the reader to guess what the next sentence contains.
  • Layers beneath every interaction. 
  • On rejection - series of doors slamming
  • "Everyday I write I feel like a beginner" - there are no guarantees. 
  • Have to endure barren days. It can be slow as if it is the end of the world. 
  • A chapter can exist and you need to grab it quickly. 
 If you live in the UK then you can catch the programme on iPlayer for the next couple of days, over at the BBC website. 

Here's a taster from YouTube. 

4 comments: said...

Great advice! Thanks for posting!

Jessica said...

Thanks Nik for popping over :)

debutnovelist said...

Hi Jessica
Loved Wolf Hall and can't wait for sequel. Keep meaning to watch on i-player, but thanks for the summary!

Jessica said...

Hi Ali - I am definitely looking forward to reading Wolf Hall - it's next on the list :)