May 6th, 2016
This week is something of a miscellany because there are a few things I want to mention. First, I can’t say I was really surprised when I heard that the two-month old newspaper, New Day, from the Trinity Mirror group was closing down.
I’m a hybrid when it comes to getting my news fix. I pick up what I want online, still enjoy sitting down and watching bulletins on TV and then I buy a big, bulky, satisfying newspaper on Sunday and thoroughly enjoy it. I love the supplements, the in-depth features and the fact that the coverage it gives is still truly international. There’s a postal strike in Venezuela that’s been going on for the last month? Wow, how could I live without that snippet! Read the rest of this entry »
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March 4th, 2016
You’ve probably heard the advice: write about what you know. This is sensible as far as it goes but no-one – whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction – can produce informative, authoritative, realistic writing without doing research.
The good news is that most of us find researching one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of the job. In fact, the real danger is that you become so engrossed in your research that you keep going deeper and deeper rather than getting down to the writing. You’ll also have to make sure that you don’t let yourself get side-tracked. It’s a fact that most research projects take longer than you originally anticipated; so always make allowances for this. It’s particularly important to avoid the trap if you have deadlines to meet. Plus, you don’t want to spend so long on your research that you end up working for next-to-nothing. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 4th, 2015
Whether you are researching a non-fiction article or a full-length book, it pays to be meticulous about your research.
If you are making notes from a reference book, and have found a useful fact, carefully write down the name of the page number, author, book, date published, edition, and publisher. This is so you can easily find it if you need to refer to it again. If you prefer to type up your research as you are going along, then type the whole reference in brackets (or whatever suits you best) so you have a record of it – you can always edit it out later if needed.
Depending on your book publisher, you may have to provide source references for each chapter, and your life will be made much easier if you have noted them down throughout the writing process. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 28th, 2015
Once a month I write a piece for this blog about ‘useful websites,’ and over the past year I’ve covered a lot of stuff: online dictionaries; international associations; writing competitions; self-publishing; website building … it’s become quite a list. But one thing I’ve never mentioned is the blog itself.
The Writers Bureau blog has been running for six years now, and though I’ve already put up seventy posts since starting in August 2014, I’m still just the new kid in town. Diana Nadin (our Director of Studies) has been posting since day one, and many of our tutors and successful students have posts going right back to the early days. Generally these pieces are short, anecdotal essays, but they’re also a good source of practical advice and information, with links to numerous articles and external sites providing all sorts of resources for writers. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 3rd, 2014
Have you ever written anything really good? Well, once upon a time there were two brothers called Jacob and Wilhelm and, way back in 1812, they published a collection of stories which was destined to become really, really famous. They were, of course, the Brothers Grimm, and the Fairy Tales which have borne their name for the past two hundred years are now known all over the world. The 156 stories in their first edition included Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White, tales which went on to become the cornerstone of one of the twentieth century’s mightiest storytelling corporations; tales which will surely be with us for hundreds of years to come. Read the rest of this entry »
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