Michel Faber on writing

I covered ‘story elements’ in Creative Writing for Writers this week and Ivor from the class has been in touch with this from the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook  . . .


Among characterisation, dialogue, structure, point of view and all the rest, apparently I forgot to mention the time traveling snake, so I’ll be sure to update the lesson accordingly.

To make amends for the omission, see below for a link to an interview with Michel Faber, whose story ‘Serious Swimmers’ forms the basis of the lesson. He talks movingly about the process of working on his latest novel in very difficult circumstances, and also has interesting things to say about writing in general, including the pros and cons of listening to music (a topic that comes up in Consolidating Your Skills). He also asked for a track by Neu to be played, so if you’re a fan of ambient krautrock of the 70s then this is for you. Even if you’re not, Faber is unusually clear-eyed about his craft so I very much recommend a listen. His interview is the ninth item down the page this links to (see 27 October). You’ve got 19 days to listen before they delete it, so be quick – and enjoy.



  1. Audrey McGinley · · Reply

    I don’t know his writing (yet) but was so touched by his personal heartbreaking journey whilst writing his last and final novel. It must have taken so much willpower. I have added it to your suggested reading list. Thank you.

    1. Glad you found the interview inspirational Audrey. Hopefully, in time he’ll go back on his promise and we’ll have another novel from him.

  2. thanks for Penzu information, not only have I managed to download without needing a tutorial from anyone, but have saved it on my page and… worked out how to do likewise with my Facebook page, feel all extended and more computer literate! way to go! thanks David hope the teething strategies are working. it will all be worthwhile when he gives you a beautiful smile.

    1. Thanks Manna. Teething is officially concluded – beautiful smiles all round 🙂

  3. Lesley P Lyon · · Reply

    Just finished Andrew O’Hagan, the illuminations before hearing him speak at the Mitchell. Loved it, right to the end. Wonderful writing, believable characters and the details of squaddies in Afghanistan, bonding with the officers then the break-down after too much sun and war is exactly right. Try it and see

    1. Hi Lesley – thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been hearing a lot about this novel and it’s definitely on my ‘to read’ list!

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