The title of this book gives a clue to the thinking behind it, and in particular the part in brackets will hopefully suggest the importance of reflection in learning to write fiction. The ethos and methodology of the whole book have to do with thinking about the way you read and write, all with the intention of helping you become a better writer of fiction. It’s a good idea to acquire the habit of doing this not just in your head but also on paper — thinking about your writing in writing. (If you don’t write down your thoughts, they are never more than half-formed.) You will benefit from habitually examining not only the creative processes involved in your work, but also your growing understanding of the kind of writer you are. You need to learn to be both self-aware and self-critical. Also, you will develop faster as a writer if you are able to articulate your creative processes. As well as reflecting on your own developing craft, you need to be able to analyse the craft of those you aspire to emulate. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this: you will grow much faster as a writer if you regularly examine your own and others’ work. You also need to begin to be able to analyse the literary context you wish to be a part of and to articulate your own intentions.
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