Hello and welcome to Death Of 1000 Cuts – making you an awesome writer, one cut at a time.

It’s not been an easy week, for a number of reasons, including contracting some kind of gastric bug that has seen me lying in bed clutching my gut and grimacing like some ham actor milking his death scene. It is probably karma for prancing about on stage raving about how great the norovirus is. Last weekend I did three festivals back-to-back and over 10 hours of performance, so I think I broke myself.

I am working hard on the next book while promoting The Honours. I still have Port Eliot, Camp Bestival and the Edinburgh International Literature Festival to come this summer, as well as a double bill at the Colston Hall in Bristol with Mark Grist in August – if you’re about, it’d be lovely to see you.

At the same time, I’ve been thinking about the future of Death Of 1000 Cuts. I’ve been doing it for over two years now, and – believe or not – I’m not bored and I want to keep going.

But I am aware – and some of you have told me – that it would be good to develop the format a bit. You know, actually try to build on what we’ve created. I feel a bit like each week I’m saying ‘watch your syntax… blah blah blah’, ‘crunchy specificity… blah blah blah’, ‘keep a consistent point of view… blah blah blah’.

It would be nice to be able to reward those of you who’ve stuck around and been loyal readers for ages by actually developing past these concepts, and looking for ways to build upon them. I know that writers, above all other professions, seem weirdly eager to share writing ‘tips’, but I always enjoyed my creative writing classes and I love discussing and exploring the craft. If I can help push their writing up to the next tier, and give them advice that actually makes the work tangibly better, that is rewarding and worthwhile and great to me.

So, one example of this development is that I’m doing the first ever live Death Of 1000 Cuts at 9 Worlds this year. You can read my call for submissions here. I don’t know how well the format will translate to real life, but my background is in performing, so I should imagine it will be sweaty and shouty and more interactive than the blog. And hopefully useful.

Look. This week I want to turn things over to you. What would you like to see on this blog? More mailbag questions? More essays on specific elements of craft? Case studies from published novels? Longer, multi-part critiques of author’s submissions spread out over a few weeks? Stuff on the business of writing (time management, finding an agent, etc)? Writing challenges? A podcast? Interviews? A vlog? More live dates? Skype/IRL workshops? Guest posts? SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY? What am I doing that works? What really doesn’t work?

To push the blog forward, to keep growing the audience and to make sure you’re getting the most useful, entertaining, sweary writing advice on the planet, I need you to make your voice heard. Don’t be passive, don’t be a shy Tory. Drop your thoughts – however wild – in the comments box below or email me via the ‘Contact Me’ link on the right. Whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been here since the start, DoaTC needs you. Yes, this passionate call to arms happens to coincide with a week where I spent a disproportionate amount of time on the toilet, scowling. But isn’t that how all great revolutions start?

Oh, and if you haven’t bought my debut novel, The Honours, yet, click the link and sort your life out.

6 thoughts on “Death Of 1000 Cuts”

  1. Snap – A podcast would be excellent! Although, I love how the wall of text is so safe-for-work. Having case studies from published novels sounds good too – so that pacing, character and plot could be further discussed, as well as cutting on the line.

    Ah, Mr Tingley’s right, a Podcast would be sweet. They eat time to edit though – so even if it was monthly/quarterly monster – with a barbers chair, interview and mailbag or something.

    Hope you get well soon

  2. A podcast would be the best. You could either have writers reading their submission, or you could read it, do a countdown-style clock noise and then provide your cuts?

    I think this would raise the standard of the work immediately as reading out loud tends to – meaning you could jump further in.

    I would like to see some critiques of synopsis submissions for agents.

  3. I’d love to see a 1000 cuts on the first page of a popular and successful novel. Obviously the advice on what’s wrong with submissions is very helpful, but I think analysing what works brilliantly could be just as good.

    I’m on board with a podcast, possibly with interviews if you can find people – especially with agents, as I’m sure many would love to know the best way to get their work read, and not tossed immediately.

  4. I’d like to hear about the process of writing your novel. Starting from conception of ideas and all the way until final publication.

    I second Liam’s idea of 1000 cuts on a successful novel. It would be interesting to read what you have to say when rules are broken successfully.

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