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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo 2017

November 10th, 2017

First, thanks to David for last week’s blog and pointing out the importance of choosing a good title for your book.

I’d always suggest being guided by the experts (your publisher or agent if you are going for a traditional publishing deal). But what do you do if you’re thinking of self-publishing? Well, I’d come up with my own idea, try it on the people around me that I knew and trusted, listen to their advice and suggestions – and then make my own decision.

It’s that time of year again (doesn’t it come round fast?) – NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month where participating authors try to get the first draft of their novel completed in the 30 days of November. I suspect they may not have too much time to worry about titles at this stage, as they’ll be too busy getting the basics in place. Read the rest of this entry »




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Mind Mapping

October 13th, 2017

First, thanks to Lucy for last week’s blog. When you’ve spent so much time working on a book and getting your ‘baby’ ready to publish, you can sometimes forget that unless you market it properly, it won’t get the audience it deserves and that’s the last thing you need! So, read Lucy’s tips and follow the links she provides as they really do give you some useful information.

This week I’m going to concentrate on some advice that one of our Writers Bureau students, Geeta Vittal Rao, wanted to share with you. In addition to working on our course she is also studying with the Self-Publishing School and one of the aids to writing that they suggest is Mind Mapping. This is how she describes it: Read the rest of this entry »




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The Curious Incident of the Dog…

September 29th, 2017

First, thanks to Caroline for last week’s blog – and I hope you’ve been enjoying reading the winner and runners-up of our student-only writing and photo competition.

We’re currently running another free competition for Writers Bureau students, and this time all we want you to do is write a short, 150-word readers’ letter about an animal. It can be a humorous true-story, a tragic tale, an angry stance against some injustice or you may think of some other interesting angle to take. This is a short piece of writing so make sure every word counts.

The second part of the competition is to take a photo to go with your letter or, if you can’t take your own photo, supply a copyright-free image that we can use on the blog. The closing date for this competition is 28th February 2018 so you’ve got plenty of time to get your entry in – full details and rules of entry can be found if you log in to the student area. Read the rest of this entry »




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Literary Vending Machines

August 18th, 2017

First, thanks to Elise for last week’s blog. It just goes to show how different writing for film or TV can be from writing a novel. In the former, you have to be able to produce something visual for your audience whereas when writing a novel you are providing the structure and the ideas which will allow your readers to use their own imagination to understand and visualise your story.

I read an interesting piece this week in Writing Magazine about vending machines having been installed on 35 French railway stations. But these aren’t your standard machines offering drinks, sweets and crisps – instead they provide short stories. If you get to the station and have forgotten your book, or don’t want to fiddle with your mobile phone, you can press a button and print out a story. And you’ve even got a choice of length – do you want a one minute read, a three minute read of a five minute read? (Don’t worry, if you’re train is delayed you can always go back for another as they’re free!) Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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