Fail better: Notes to a younger writing self

Creative writing and novel writing advice I wish I'd given myself years ago

Category

Writers’ blocks

Storygrid and Shawn Coyne’s motivational words for writers

Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl of the Storygrid universe have been doing a more useful job than pretty much anyone else in the world for the past three years. The job? Teaching us that story is vital, is a learnable… Continue Reading →

Lost Christmas – Writing a Christmas Story

Everyone should have a go at the Christmas genre. Needs to be short – readable on Christmas Eve.  Usually includes a character who doubts the power and potential of Christmas. Some supernatural intervention. Someone who’s loveless or troubled. Babies or… Continue Reading →

How to get a novel published – if that’s what you really want…

Take heart. Take a big slice of heart. It’s actually easy to get published. It’s obviously a lot less easy to publish exactly what you want to write, or exactly what you’ve managed to write, and it’s pretty damned hard… Continue Reading →

Ronnie O’Sullivan is a published novelist. Why do we write fiction, and what of our self (and not-self) remains?

I’m not sure I’ll read Ronnie O’Sullivan’s novel. I might. I didn’t read his autobiography, but I have an interest in snooker and in the plight of those who’ve reached enviable levels of excellence and struggled to cope. I may… Continue Reading →

What’s on the opening page of your novel? – A first page check list…

Check listers – the life-saving nerds A check list. Not the most flamboyantly creative solution to a writer’s journey, but a pretty useful base camp. Masters of a craft of course have an auto-checklist – just as any experienced traveller… Continue Reading →

Is my scene a scene? Writers’ ‘idle drift’ and the amateur novel…

I’ve been taking the scenic route again. One thing I’ve found more helpful than it ought to be is to accept that ‘scenes’ can be meaningful in the novel as well as the play and screenplay – whatever ‘scene’ is… Continue Reading →

Literary agents and coping with rejection

The kindest rejection letter I ever got was from a literary agent in the US. He gave me a few pretty solid reasons why he thought the MS wasn’t going to suit his lists and why he had doubts on its saleability…. Continue Reading →

First blog…last rites

So what’s a blog? A question to answer as we go along, maybe. Is it tone, is it format, is it regularity?…hmm. This one might be a blog or not, but, whatever it is, has its beginnings in a hodgepodge… Continue Reading →

How (not) to write a novel #7 – language for emotional range

A couple of sobering thoughts this week along with home truths and lessons from the mouths of pre-teen upstarts. So, why wasn’t my son able to finish that manuscript I was testing on him… Story not quite exciting enough? Characters… Continue Reading →

How to write a novel (#3) – managing conflict

If you’re reading up on how to write, you’ll have been sieged, bombarded, pelted and shelled all in the name of conflict. It comes up in every “how to do” and you’ll be told and told to the point of haemorrhage itself… Continue Reading →

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