This thesis is submitted in conjunction with published works of fiction for the qualification of PhD in English (Creative Writing) at Nottingham Trent University. The essay is a critical commentary and reflection upon the conception, construction and revision of two published works in particular, Smoking Poppy (2001) and Leningrad Nights (2000). The thesis argues that principal impulses in creative writing can be seen in emblematic form in the ancient, proto-musical story
accompanying instruments of the drum and the lyre. The drum marches the narrative towards its ritual ending, while the embellishments of the lyre seek to lift the story out of the flow of time. It is the job of the writer to resolve these often
conflicting impulses, and considerations of authorial voice inform that resolution.