Woman’s Hour

To be interviewed on BBC R4’s (I want to say ‘iconic’ here, but it’s such a cliche) Woman’s Hour  is both an honour and an ordeal.  You feel so much more exposed on radio than telly somehow… and a live interview first thing on a Monday morning gives you the whole weekend to worry about whether you’ll fluff it. I’d done one before, on The Children Who Fought Hitler, but that was pre-recorded so any fluffy bits could be edited out before broadcast.

This was The Real Thing.

But there’s something about entering the portals of Broadcasting House – the original entrance under the Eric Gill sculpture of Propspero and Ariel, not the flashy new bit round the corner – that inspires pride. It is our BBC after all (take note John Whittingdale and those who would diminish the Corporation through malice or neglect). From there I and my fellow-interviewees (on vaginal sprays, as it happens) were taken into the competent and comfortable embrace of the WH team where, in the Green Room we were greeted by presenter Jane Garvey and told the running order.  Vaginal sprays were on first. I was on last, so I had another 40 minutes or so to listen to a packed edition and admire Ms Garvey’s skill and professionalism in handling so many disparate items with humour and an enviable light touch.

The Green Room clock ticked ineluctably on.  Then it was time…

The art and craft of writing

Sue Elliott on Writing
Cartoon by my good friend John Byrne, cartoonist and Agony Uncle for ‘The Stage’.

Here you’ll find snippets on different aspects of the art and craft of writing.

This relates to my own experience writing non-fiction, but much of it also applies to fiction too. I’m fascinated by the whole process of getting a book from idea to product, so there will be stuff about that.

The practicalities are easy to pin down. The fluffy stuff is more difficult: inspiration, refining an idea, finding a voice, shaping a narrative, overcoming doubt. Nothing would happen without them. So – over time – they’ll be here too.

They won’t appear in any sensible order but as the fancy takes me. And they aren’t meant to build up into a definitive guide, more a ‘how it works (and sometimes doesn’t) for me’.

It’s also a space for you to share your own thoughts, ideas and experience.