For the Love of Writing

Answering a reader’s questions.

I like it when readers ask questions. It feels as though the core of what I’ve written has touched a heart, in a special way. When John Hingston read Death in the Mountains, he very kindly wrote to me in Italy with a series of questions. I felt you’d enjoy his thoughts too. It helps writers persevere with their work when they read what and ...
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The Adventure Continues! Meet Matthew Ferrara, the new man behind the Art of Writing.

MESSAGE FROM LISA; It’s such a pleasure to introduce you to my friend and now business partner, Matthew Ferrara. Together we are planning the most exciting writers retreat in Florence, as The Art of Writing moves from the mountains of Tuscany to the heart of the renaissance. Here, in his words, Matthew talks about what writing means to him: As a philosopher and keynote speaker, ...
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Organise your drafts by filling up that coat rack.

Ever wonder how writers keep track of their chapters, as their books start to gather momentum? How do writers organise their drafts? How do they manage their hard copies? Should you keep everything you print off? For me, it’s the magic of a simple coat rack. This is how I build my books. I hang the chapters in chronological order, starting at the right hand ...
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It wasn’t Harvey Weinstein who abused me but a well-known Florentine fashion manufacturer.

As the world points its collective finger at the culture of silence around one of Hollywood’s most prominent producers, my mind goes back to the Florence modelling scene of the 1980’s. There was a sexual predator just like Harvey Weinstein in Florence, yet no one protected or warned young models. I believe many people knew Franco Susini was molesting young girls, but the model agency ...
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Don’t go to the opening of Harrods in Florence.

If you’re planning on going to the highly anticipated opening of Harrods in Florence next week, don’t. It’s not on. Not only is it not on, Harrods in Florence doesn’t exist and won’t exist. The idea that Harrods would establish a store in Florence had traction about a year ago when several digital mags ran stories claiming that Qatar Holding was apparently interested in Florence ...
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Overcoming Your Fear of Writing

Why do we build so many obstacles to our creativity? Why do we let inner barriers grow and stop us from writing? We listen to our Bully Voice, we let fear win. Then we avoid writing. So often being with other writers helps us to break through the negative voice that lives inside us. Simply being with like-minded creatives helps us to believe that we ...
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How I balanced my children’s grandmothers’ very different approaches to parenting

As seen in the Sydney Morning Herald. My mother is the doyenne of Australian etiquette, June Dally-Watkins. My mother-in-law is an almost illiterate farmer from the mountains of eastern Tuscany. Both are formidable, wise women. But their mothering styles are biting opposites. One is a successful Australian businesswoman whose life's work has been her career, the other a humble Italian woman who has dedicated her ...
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My tips for a trip to the south east of France.

We had a 10 day holiday, just enough time to really taste the area around Nice, Cannes and Antibes. I chose Vence for our Air B and B home with a pool because it is only a 5 hour drive from Florence. My mother is 90 years old and I am always scared to lose airport access in case I have to leave Europe at ...
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Meeting people who inspire you to learn and grow.

One of the glorious things about living in Florence is meeting the most interesting people. I meet travelers, inventors, creators, inspirers, reporters and sometimes I meet someone who is all of those things. Like Girl in Florence, Georgette Jupe. I am lucky enough to officially announce that Girl in Florence, Georgette Jupe, will join us for the September 10-16 Art of Writing retreat. It’s a ...
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Why I need to talk my stories through.

Fascinating how some writers need to talk their stories through, while others need to keep their stories quiet. Every writer is different. One creative process may work for you but be completely wrong for me. Talking recently with Martyn Bedford, author of eight books for Bantam, Penguin and Bloomsbury publishers, I found we had entirely different approaches to getting our stories down. I like to ...
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Is Italy for everyone? Getting past the honeymoon phase in a new country.

Such a fun week, being featured in Locals I Love by my favorite Girl in Florence, Georgette Jupe. Hearing again from women around the globe who’ve fallen in love with Italians and are in long distance love dilemmas reminded me of writing The Promise. Though that period of my life was a tortuous time of indecision, it was also a long phase of deep romantic ...
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Check out what our writers are reading this summer.

We have the most wonderful group of professional writers on the Art of Writing team. From New York best sellers to UK literary award winners, our teachers make a living from their writing. That’s our dream job, no? To become a career writer. It’s such an honour to have the wonderful writers listed below on our teachers’ lineup. So what are The Art of Writing ...
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Let food carry your story forward.

When food is beautiful, drab, compelling or repulsive we can and should include it in our stories. Food can carry a story forward. Not only the actual food, but the process of eating it, dining around it and/or sharing a meal. Food used in a social sense can reveal much about people’s relationships with each other. When you include a meal in your story, the ...
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So what’s your protagonist’s transformation?

Tricky business, sometimes, understanding how your character must change or grow. How almost all stories happen at a crossroads in your character’s life, how a story pivots around a fork in their road. Sometimes the story happens at their crisis point, their threshold moment. It’s a story essential. Your character must evolve. He/she must go from ‘something’ to ‘something.’ Weakling to warrior? Bad to good? ...
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