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How To Read A Novel

January 14th, 2020

One of the things that I’m sure you hear repeatedly is that if you want to be a writer then you must read, read, read. But why?

You should read – especially contemporary fiction – because it shows you what trends are current, what readers are looking for NOW and so what publishers are searching for.

You should read all fiction – contemporary, classic, experimental – to see how other authors use words, how they put together their plots, twine in sub-plots and how they make their characters realistic. When you read something you enjoy then you can analyse it and use the knowledge you have gained in your own work. When you read a book that doesn’t work for you, then you can try to decide what’s wrong with it and avoid this in your own writing. Read the rest of this entry »




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Stocking Fillers For Writers

December 6th, 2019

First, thanks to Alex for last week’s post. As he pointed out, competitions aren’t for everyone, but thanks to those of you who sent your stories in to our Flash Fiction Competition. Entry is now closed but the enjoyable part (at least for me!) has now started. I’m having a great time going through them all and we should be in a position to prepare a shortlist and pick the winners shortly. So watch this space!

As our own competition has finished I’m going to suggest a couple of others that you might consider if you want to keep your writing muscles flexed over the festive season. So here we go… Read the rest of this entry »




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Underneath The Arches…

March 8th, 2018

First, thanks to Amanda for last week’s blog. More and more people that I know are now blogging for local companies  – garden centres, delis, private dentists, even solicitors. Sometimes they do it for free for the exposure it gives them and to increase the hit rate on their own personal blogs. Sometimes they do it for a fee (though I don’t know anyone who earns a great deal per blog – certainly not enough to give up the day job). But it does bring in some extra money in these cash-strapped times and, more importantly, it can lead on to other things.

Moving on… there don’t seem to be many openings for people who write plays but Matchstick Theatre are looking for new work that they can perform. They are a small, independent theatre in South East London set up in late 2015. They are aiming to put on over 15 new plays in the next 12 months. They have been performing in tunnel arches and at festivals around London and are about to open a new arts and theatre space in Deptford. This sounds quite an interesting opportunity – for more details of what they are looking for, why not visit their website? Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo 2017

November 10th, 2017

First, thanks to David for last week’s blog and pointing out the importance of choosing a good title for your book.

I’d always suggest being guided by the experts (your publisher or agent if you are going for a traditional publishing deal). But what do you do if you’re thinking of self-publishing? Well, I’d come up with my own idea, try it on the people around me that I knew and trusted, listen to their advice and suggestions – and then make my own decision.

It’s that time of year again (doesn’t it come round fast?) – NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated, that’s National Novel Writing Month where participating authors try to get the first draft of their novel completed in the 30 days of November. I suspect they may not have too much time to worry about titles at this stage, as they’ll be too busy getting the basics in place. Read the rest of this entry »




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Getting to Grips with Self-Publishing

April 3rd, 2017

As usual, I’d like to thank Simon for last week’s blog. The advice given is really worth taking. If you’ve got an interest, or a hobby, then why not start out small and try writing articles about it for magazines and websites. Not a huge project – something you can fit in around your other work. But there will come a time when you can look back at what you’ve written and you may realise that there’s enough accumulated knowledge to actually make the basics for a book.

Obviously it would be great if you could get a publisher interested in this. It would be even better if they were willing to give you an advance and ensure that there was plenty of publicity after publication, but these days perhaps that’s expecting too much! The other – and increasing popular – way forward is self-publishing. If you are interested in going down this route then an ideal opportunity to find out more about it is at The 5th Self-Publishing Conference. It’s being held on  Saturday 22nd April from 9am to 6pm at the University of Leicester. The registration fee is £65 per person and this includes a delegate’s pack, morning coffee, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, a drinks reception and a choice from more than 16 sessions on different aspects of self-publishing. To me, that sounds great value for money! Read the rest of this entry »




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