Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sentence the first

What is the first sentence of your favourite book? Don’t look it up, obviously. And you aren’t allowed to pretend that Pride and Prejudice is your favourite book if it isn’t, because lots of people know that one. Or A Tale of Two Cities. Think of your real favourite book. How did that lovely thing, that star of your memory, that lifelong friend, first introduce itself to you?


This question on my part precedes a confession: I hate writing first sentences. In my writing career so far I have never written a first sentence first. I’ve always started somewhere else, in fact usually at the opposite end (of which more another time). And then I have eventually come to the first page, the first sentence, the very first word, and been gripped by a kind of super-anxiety. As if I was about to walk into a room full of… Continue reading

Life, in miniature

I sat, the other day, in front of a box of video cassettes. We’ve just moved house – a thrill, as commonly acknowledged; and one of the items that moved with us was this box. I opened it, the cardboard rasping angrily, and caught my first glimpse of the giant black plastic briquettes lurking inside: unwatched for years. Indeed now unwatchable, as we have no video player.

video cassette

Taking one out, the first thing that hit me was the sheer enormity of the thing. In this age of DVDs and USB sticks and hard drives we’ve got used to technology being slim, finger-sized, dainty. There’s nothing dainty about a video tape. Holding it my mind reeled, scale slipped. I momentarily imagined that I had shrunk to the size of an infant. Nothing else could explain the thickness of this piece of would-be techno wizardry, the way it stuck out comically on… Continue reading

Page one

Welcome to this site, and more specifically, to this blog. It’s by a writer, it’s about reading and writing, and it’s for anyone who takes pleasure in either activity.

Since this is brand new, and since I retain a childish delight in pictures of sunrises and sunsets (we are talking entire albums, as a child, filled with indistinguishable photos of roseate skies), here is dawn in Cornwall to get us started:

dawn in cornwall


Now: when I bid you that welcome above, I did so with a touch of wariness alongside the most sincere sense of hospitality. Here’s why. A writer – it has often been observed – has two mortal enemies. One, the blank sheet of paper. Two, the necessity of accepting that a piece of work is ever finished. I read of one nameless author who agonised over his son’s off-games note. How to begin? How in the world… Continue reading

Will le Fleming is a novelist. His debut, Central Reservation, is published by Xelsion and available now. Read more...

On a grey Thursday morning Holly lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wished her sister would die. Five hours later her wish came true. Read more...

About this blog
The first post explains all - find it here.