Monday 21 February 2011

How to write well

A very well-written piece about writing well from Robert McCrum. I share his agnosticism about the teaching of creative writing.

Not a day goes by without my inbox filling with junkmail about screenwriting courses. If they were all so brilliant imagine what Hollywood or even TV would be like? Of course -- with some honourable exceptions -- they are not good. These courses tend to perpetuate the hackneyed old formulae which blight 99% of film and TV. Particularly TV. Recently a well-know someone was unfortunate enough to have to work on a series  with a TV commissioning editor "graduate" of this type of course . After a barrage of inane edicts from TV exec, my man remarked : "If he mentions F***ing "jeopardy" or C***ing "discovery" one more time,  he is going to discover his jeopardy rammed up his S***ing arse."

McCrum's list of examples may challenge my library but I think they are well worth seeking out. Tonight's task.


  1. Nice post, Adam. What a good article by McCrum.

    If only writing was as simple as those formulaic courses!

  2. I would say thank god writing isn't as simple as those formulaic courses. The courses like to turn everything into a list of "golden rules". Surely great writing is about questioning, stretching, bending, testing and indeed breaking the rules.