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NaNoWriMo Versus The Novella

October 9th, 2020

First, thanks to Barry for last week’s post. In these difficult times, when far-flung travel isn’t always an option, it’s good to get some advice on using what’s on your doorstep to craft a successful travel piece.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) will soon be upon us. But, what exactly is it? Their website says:

“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.”

But if the thought of trying to write a complete novel in a month scares the living daylights out of you, then why not consider a novella?  Most novellas range from 12,000 to 16,000 words. So, they’re not as demanding as a 50 to 100,000-word novel but you’ve more scope for plot and characterisation development than in a short story. At one time, this genre was seriously out of fashion because such short books weren’t considered commercial. But with the surge in e-publishing (and people’s growing desire for a quick read) they’re now a very viable proposition. Read the rest of this entry »




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Hay Player!

August 30th, 2020

First, thanks to Jacqueline for last week’s post. Many people think of ‘creative writing’ as being exclusively fiction. But as she points out, writing non-fiction should be every bit as creative if you are to engage and entertain your readers.

As we’re still waiting for our next Writers Bureau competition to open for entries, I thought I’d highlight one or two other competitions that are taking place at the moment – hopefully providing something for everyone.

First up we have the New Voices Competition, which is looking for the first page of a novel and a one-page synopsis. This is for first-time writers only and the prize is a Start Up mentoring package. The entry fee is £10 and the closing date is 14th September; so no procrastinating. Full details are at www.adventuresinfiction.co.uk Read the rest of this entry »




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Something For The School Holidays

July 13th, 2018

First, thanks to Andrew for last week’s blog – it made me smile. I’m not an avid fan of The Big Painting Challenge but I remember sitting watching the episode where they were asked to  paint boats and actually willing them to stop adding ‘improvements’ to their work.  So, I agree with his comments in the post wholeheartedly. It’s essential to give yourself enough time to edit your writing thoroughly before sending it out but it’s also essential to know when enough’s enough!

With the long school holidays about to start I thought that this week I’d provide some suggestions that might be interesting for those of you who have kids that enjoy writing . The first of these, if you live in the Midlands, is the Spark Young Writers Summer School running from July 30th to August 3rd at Wolverhampton University. Read the rest of this entry »




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Creative Characterisation

November 28th, 2016

reading-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last week’s blog. As he points out, there really is nothing new under the sun and today we’re still following the same ‘rules’ as writers were centuries ago. And they’re still helping us to write successful and gripping stories.

Long after readers have forgotten many other features of your book or short story, it will be your characters who will live on in their minds.  And the stronger, the more striking your characters are, the more memorable they’ll be.

So, here are some tips for ensuring that your characters are unforgettable. Read the rest of this entry »




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There’s More To Being An Author Than Just Writing

October 21st, 2016

kitty-cat-kitten-pet-45201-medium-blogFirst thanks to Sophia for last week’s blog. I found her list of online tools fascinating, but confess to being a bit worried by Write or Die. When I came to have a closer look, however, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. They’ve even introduced a ‘Reward Mode’. A picture of a cuddly kitten? Images of the designer shoes you’re lusting after? Mug-shot of your favourite author?  You choose if you hit your word target. That sounds decidedly less scary than the ‘consequenses’  which they originally threatened if you dared to procrastinate!

This week I’m going to revisit a subject I’ve mentioned before – literary festivals. According to a London Book Fair report there are now more than 340 of them held each year in Britain and Ireland alone. It makes you wonder whether some authors are now spending longer attending literary festivals and beavering away on social media to drum up sales than they are on their writing. If you’re considering giving up the day job to become a full time writer it might be worth considering all the other ‘obligations’ that you’ll need to fulfil. With publishers’ promotional budgets being slashed there’s definitely more required of an author than just being able to turn a good phrase. Read the rest of this entry »




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