I'm in love with language. I want to see it used as expressively as possible.’
Most teachers of writing are less concerned with the distinction between various genres of writing than with that between writing that works and writing that doesn't. Robin Freeman believes that writers can't be manufactured. ‘
That's not to say’, she adds, ‘
that the techniques and forms of fiction, nonfiction, script or poetry cannot or should not be taught. Everyone can improve their writing through practice.’
Robin perfectly sums up the role of the university for a writer. ‘
Ideally,’ she says, ‘
what the university can provide is a space, a hiatus from the distractions of the world of commerce and relationships, in which a writer can read, practice their craft…’
Robin admires good fiction, but her area of interest is in creative non-fiction. As she puts it, ‘
(t)he creative nonfiction writer has all the techniques, moods and styles of the fiction writer at their disposal to tell us real stories.’
Robin's background is in publishing and book editing. ‘
As an editor,’ she says, ‘
it's my job to encourage a writer to be the best writer they can be.’ This perhaps also sums up the role of the teacher.
But what does a publisher and editor look for in a piece of writing?
I look for writing with a distinctive voice. I like to hear its rhythms and cadence. If the voice is insipid or dull the story has lost me. If the voice has life, I'm hooked.’