Ten contributors share their experiences of how to write a novel, where to begin, how to develop plot, character, structure, imagery, and - importantly - where to end.
Literary novels, thrillers, cowboy stories, post-modem confections are all discussed, together with the difficulties of getting - and staying - published. The relationship between writer and publisher looms almost as large as that between writer and reader.
In addition to advice and tips these often humorous essays also point to the diverse and idiosyncratic world of the novelist, who may write only in hotels, only in a particular room at home, only in longhand, only on a computer, only with a carefully devised plan, only with a character and no idea for a plot.
Maura Dooley is a much admired poet and editor, who would like to write a novel. She is a freelance writer and arts administrator in London.