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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2018 > On Writing

On Writing

Tony Rossiter explores great words from great writers

Details fascinate me. I love to pile up details. They create an atmosphere. MURIEL SPARK

Details create atmosphere – no doubt about it. Whether you’re writing about the past or the present, whether you’re writing a whodunit or a romcom, detail is how you can create an atmosphere and bring the time and the place you’re writing about to life. Let’s look at a few well-known examples. In Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel excels at the small, telling detail. We can almost smell the rain-drenched wool cloaks and feel the sharp fibres of rushes under our feet. Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring gives us a feeling of real authenticity, with its fascinating domestic details of daily life in Delft in the 17th century, plus lots of technical detail about the process of painting and the way Vermeer prepared his paint. In Thomas Hardy’s Wessex novels the detail of his Dorset landscape is described with a naturalist’s eye. Ian

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About Writing Magazine

In this month's issue, we show you ten ways to improve your writing right now, and look at how to impress an editor and get your feature articles accepted. This month's star interview is crime bestseller and Rizzoli and Isles creator Tess Gerritsen, who opens her casebook to discuss murder, medicine and false memory. When you've polished your work and got it ready to submit, check out the Writers' News pages – packed with opportunities to get into print and competitions to enter, with £54,762 in writing prizes to be won.

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