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Comment from the book world in September 2023

September 2023

'The way to tackle writer's block...'

25 September 2023

‘The way to tackle writer's block is to not believe it exists. If you run out of steam on something, switch to something else and come back later. Also, I don't get writers block because I am not writing - I am just typing, thinking, pushing into something to see what's there.

I never sit down to produce a novel. I work a line or two, redraft endlessly, improvise. I spend a year or more in this creative state of uncertainty, and one day, I seem to know what I am doing. The book makes itself known to me. After this, my job is to shape it, and bring it to its best self.

Don't worry, there are slow weeks and slow months, there are days when I read my once-glowing pages and find them turned to ashes. It can be a reach. I regularly find myself in a sea of words that I have to rewrite and rearrange, so I can see where the hell I am going now. I don't call this ‘writer's block', I call it 'Monday morning.' It is the place where I live.'

Anne Enright, author of just-published The Wren, the Wren and seven other novels, including Actress, The Pleasure of Eliza Lynch, Forgotten and The Gathering, which won the Man booker Prize in 2002 in LitHub


'Cosy fantasy' - a new genre

11 September 2023

‘With the rise of a new genre, we've seen a lot of readers determined to label what qualifies as 'cosy fantasy'. Meanwhile, I'm out there writing dragon attacks that almost kill my main character, so... I really don't have a definition. This genre seems to be all about the vibes, and that's different for everyone. My goal when I write cosy is to focus on plots that wouldn't be 'exciting enough' if I were to write them in earnest: a satirical pirate romp, the chaos of a wedding, or just characters opening the shop of their dreams. But I love adding elements that wouldn't be cozy, and seeing if I can blend them. Basically, I think this is reader preference!

After the pandemic, I think most of us are craving low-stakes, low-risk stories. We want to see fantasy characters living out our cottage core dreams, focused around plots that wouldn't be nearly exciting enough for true fantasy. A quiet cup of tea and a sweet love story can remind us to sit calmly and be quiet with our thoughts, which is something I feel is very needed in this chaotic world.'

Rebecca Thorne, author of Can't Spell Treason Without Tea, A Pirate's Life for Tea, This Gilded Abyss and a children's book, The Secrets of Star Whales in Bookbrunch.