Miss Clavel’s Writing Advice

Miss Clavel turned on the light and said, “Something is not right!” – Madeleine

miss clavel

You’ve written a wonderful story and can’t wait to send it to a publisher. But wait! Don’t send it off; instead, hide your story away for weeks, or even months. When you pick it up again it will be like ‘turning on the light’ – you’ll see what ‘is not right’; you’ll see with fresh eyes all the weak bits. Not waiting has been my biggest mistake as a writer. When I wait, I always find things to fix: I get that Miss Clavel feeling when a scene doesn’t fit or a character speaks in clichés – the story dream is broken. (Illustration above from the timeless book, Madeleine, by Ludwig Bemelmans).

 Nothing must be out of place. The reader must keep turning pages with no interruptions in the flow. – Darcy Pattison

Go over and over it…refusing to let anything stay if it looks awkward, phony, or forced.– John Gardner

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