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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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How Becoming A Hypnotherapist Has Improved My Writing

March 26th, 2021

I took voluntary redundancy in 2005 and planned to take some time off to complete the Writers Bureau Course.  I got away with taking six months before the pressing financial need was imminent, and although I had had some success with articles in magazines, it couldn’t be called an income.

Before I left my job as an HR Advisor, my manager told me I had a natural level of counselling skills, but unfortunately this wasn’t a skill that was needed in HR.  This got me thinking about my next career, which was clearly not a full time writer just yet.   I researched counselling courses, and signed up to a three  year course that offered a Diploma in Hypnotherapy in the first year.  I completed the qualification in 2012, and have been in full time practice ever since.  I run a Therapy Centre, and am also a hypnotherapy supervisor and trainer. Read the rest of this entry »




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Getting To Know Your Characters Better

February 8th, 2019

First, thanks to Kunda for last week’s blog – it’s always interesting to hear how our overseas students get a foot on the writing ladder. It just goes to show that the ideas taught in the course are universal. Wherever you live, they still apply!

Some writers find bringing their characters to life easy – they spring from the imagination fully formed and ready to go. Others don’t find it quite so easy. So, here are a few tips for making your characters more real.

Obviously, you’ve got to give them a name – one that is appropriate to the era and country in which your work is set. The name should also be appropriate to their age, social circumstances and disposition – unless incongruity in this area forms part of your plot. And, don’t forget that names that were once considered old fashioned are now all the rage. My mum, who would now be 103 were she still alive, was called Edith and as a child I remember many of her older relatives referring to her as Edie. So I was surprised recently to hear that one of my son’s friends has named her baby daughter Edie! Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s In A Name?

November 16th, 2018

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to names over the last couple of weeks. My son and his wife are expecting a little boy in December and they’ve been trying to decide what to call him. At the moment Theo and Archie seem to be the front runners, though I’m not completely sure about either of them. But looking at a list of the 20 most popular boys’ names in 2018, they’re both in there and seem to be moving up the popularity rankings.

Of course, that got me thinking about the names of characters in books, short stories and plays. Choosing the right names for your characters is crucial if the reader is to empathise with them. You can suggest a great deal about a person’s age and background by the name you give (and this is particularly important in a short story where words are at a premium). All names have popular connotations and associations which the reader subconsciously tunes into – they create instant mental pictures of people. Read the rest of this entry »




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Being Sociable Can Make Your Characters More Realistic

September 8th, 2018

Many people think of writing as a lonely business. You work from home, shut away in the spare bedroom or slaving over the kitchen table when the rest of the family are at work or school. But I was interested to read a letter in a well-known writers’ magazine recently where the lady was saying how sociable she found the writing world these days. You can interact with other writers on Facebook and Twitter, in forums and via online courses without leaving your own home. There are writing retreats, writers conferences and literary festivals galore where you can meet other like-minded people, and share experiences.

I do think getting away from this idea of the ‘solitary writer’ is essential. And you shouldn’t just cultivate other writers – you need to be mixing with people from all walks of life (especially if you are writing fiction) so that you understand enough about how disparate groups of people think and behave that you create characters that come across as ‘real’. Read the rest of this entry »




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