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Writing Factories!

April 30th, 2021

First, thanks to Julia Lavrinovich from The Novel Factory for getting in touch and sending me a link to a blog post on their site: How to Write A Main Character Your Readers Will Love. I think you’ll find what it has to say both interesting and useful. It looks at the four basic types of main character, explores a technique for building a complex main character from inside out and finally examines four ways to ensure readers love your main character. Definitely worth a look!

And now for a different writing factory – The Fiction Factory. Their First Chapter Competition is open for entries.  They say “Have you completed the first draft of your novel? Are you ready to pass it on to a fresh pair of eyes, to see if you are on the right track? Is your all-important first chapter ready for submission to an agent? Whatever your plans, your first chapter must shine – it must grab your readers or quickly lose their interest. Read the rest of this entry »




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Do You Need a Pseudonym?

April 23rd, 2021

First, thanks to Simon for last week’s post. I’ve known him for a long time and if anyone can provide good tips on how to be more positively productive as a writer, it’s him!

Now for some sad news; Jimmy Hodge who tutored for us for many years died towards the end of March aged 88. Jimmy was a brilliant tutor, journalist and author – but he was also a real character. He was part of a Western re-enactment society and when his group visited Rochester, Indiana in the late 70s he was made an honorary Deputy Sheriff. He later used this in his road safety work with Kent schoolchildren – just one of the many things he did as part of his charitable work. Our condolences go to all his family – he will be sadly missed. Read the rest of this entry »




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Watch Out – There’s An Impostor About!

April 16th, 2021

I shall never forget that day. It was Saturday, 6th December 2003, and I’d just spotted my book, One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human was number seven on the Sunday Times non-fiction paperback bestseller list. Gulp.

It was the strangest feeling ever. There was euphoria. There was nervousness. (What have I done?) And then there was the gut-wrenching sense that this was all some terrible mistake.

I glanced at the other names on the list: Michael Moore, Kate Adie, Nick Hornby, Michael Palin, Claire Tomalin, and Patricia Cornwell.

How did I end up on the same list as writers of that calibre? Clearly, I was an impostor among these proper writers.

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New: Writing Lunch Sessions On Zoom

April 9th, 2021

Well, despite the weather being a bit colder than we’d have liked, Easter was brilliant! Plenty of walking, plenty of gardening and just a bit of socialising. (Sorry, did I forget to mention plenty of chocolate?) And I think it’s true to say that it has made me feel a bit more optimistic about the next few months. I’ve stopped longing for overseas holidays and have settled for looking at B & Bs in Dorset (if there are any un-booked ones left).

I’m a keen gardener and there’s nothing I love more than visiting well-known gardens or stately homes to get deas. All that has been on hold, but as things start to re-open it reminded me of the ID card that you get if you’re a member of the Association of Freelance Writers. This can open many doors for you including: free admission to events, entrance to ‘closed’ events, help to reach the people you want to see and access places you want to go. Read the rest of this entry »




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Mother Tongue

April 2nd, 2021

First, thanks to Hilary for last week’s post. You have to agree that having a deeper than normal understanding of what goes on in the human psyche is a great advantage if you’re writing a character-driven novel or story. It must certainly help when it comes to making your people’s motives realistic.

I think that someone should make this point to the BBC and the vast majority of its scriptwriters. In the past few months I don’t think I’ve ever watched more series where the characters and plots are so unrealistic and unbelievable. I know we talk about new mothers having ‘baby brain’ but I think a lot of the people writing for TV have got ‘pandemic brain’ – in other words, a captive audience so they don’t need to try as hard. Shame on them! Read the rest of this entry »




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