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Do You Need An Agent?

July 1st, 2016

Fiction-Book-Writers-Bureau-blogFirst, thanks to Lorraine for last week’s blog. It’s great to have her back on the team and she makes a very valid point in her post. Never limit your ambitions. Keep an open mind and be willing to try anything.

With so many people self-publishing (as e-books and print on demand),do you really need an agent? It’s a question I get asked all the time. If you hope to get into professional, mainstream publishing then the answer is still a resounding ‘Yes’!  For one thing, it will mean you dodge the horrors of the dreaded slush pile.  Publishers trust the judgement of literary agents and will treat anything sent by them with special interest and care. In fact, many publishers won’t even accept a manuscript from an un-agented author. Read the rest of this entry »




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Don’t Limit Your Potential

June 24th, 2016

Lorraine-Mace,-2-blogI’m delighted to have this opportunity to re-introduce myself as a tutor after a few years away following a bereavement.

For those of you who read Writing Magazine, you probably know me best as the columnist of ‘Notes from the Margin’ – the humorous final page. The reason I mention this is because I owe my long-running column (seven years and counting) directly to the Writers Bureau course.

I started my writing career many, many years ago as a student and only signed up because I wanted to learn how to write fiction for the women’s magazine market! Instead of starting with the fiction modules, as I could have done, I wanted to learn all I could about writing and elected to take the comprehensive course. As a result, every assignment led to work being published in a vast variety of magazines in several countries – and one of the assignments also brought about my first humour column in Living France Magazine. Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Crime Pay

April 22nd, 2016

debut-blogI can’t say that I’m particularly interested in reading crime novels, though if one is recommended or catches my eye I’m more than happy to give it a go. But I have noticed, when I visit my local library, that the crime section seems to be growing and there’s an insatiable appetite for it on Amazon. Plus every time you turn on your TV the channels seem packed with crime dramas, both original and based on books.

So I thought I’d have a look at The Crime Writers’ Association Not everyone can join – you have to have a crime novel or non-fiction book published before you can apply for membership. They don’t accept self-published books or ones where you’ve contributed towards the cost. But they do accept plays, screenplays plus radio and TV work that has been professionally produced.  And if you’ve got a valid contract for a book that will be published within the next two years you can become a Provisional Member.  Benefits of being a member include networking with other writers and useful contacts; conferences and other events; their monthly magazine; a free tax helpline (not to be sniffed at when you’re starting out) and the opportunity to sell your books through The Crime Readers’ Association. Read the rest of this entry »




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Could You Write A Novel In A Month?

November 6th, 2015

nanowrimo-image-blogIt’s November again but it’s also ‘N’ for… NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which they say is a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.”

The number of participants seems to grow every year and if you decide to give it a try you’ll certainly get plenty of support if you visit their website. There’s help with planning your novel (though I would assume that most people who hurl themselves into a month-long frenzy of writing already have a pretty good idea of their plot before they start).

You can join a local group of writers and attend writing events in person or receive online encouragement from staff and published authors. Read the rest of this entry »




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Constrained Competition

June 23rd, 2015

typewriter-BlogSince we did the limerick competition back in May (click here to read the winning limericks) I’ve been looking into constrained writing – any kind of writing that has to fit a pattern or obey particular rules. We all know some of these: haiku; sonnet; iambic pentameter. Even if you don’t know the specific structures involved, most of us have an idea what they are. But what about univocalic poetry, where verses use only one of the eight available vowels, or chaterism, where the length of words in a phrase increase or decrease in a uniform way, like: “I am the best Greek bowler playing?” Read the rest of this entry »




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