Browsing: Writing

Writing NaNoWriMo - The Haynes Manual
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Looking for some NaNoWriMo inspiration? Elizabeth Haynes tells Danuta Kean how she researches her bestselling crime novels – and how NaNoWriMo helps her write.

Twitter #amwriting
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There are lots of Twitter hashtags out there that are useful to help writers promote their work, connect with other writers, and – well – write. How do you use them, and which should you use?

Writing How to beat procrastination
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Writers are the masters of procrastination – it’s far simpler to type a search term into Google than it is to write the first line of a novel. We all procrastinate – but you can overcome it with practical strategies. So stop putting off your dreams and reward your future self, says Bec Evans.

Writing How social media is changing language
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From unfriend to selfie, social media is clearly having an impact on language. The words that surround us every day influence the words we use. Since so much of the written language we see is now on screens, language now evolves partly through our interaction with technology.

Writing 10 tips from a creative writing lecturer
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Some people enjoy writing for the sake of it, while others want to develop and improve. If you fall into the latter category then read this. A creative writing lecturer and published author with a new novel The Dark Light out in July 2015, Julia Bell is one of the UK’s foremost authorities on creative writing. Here, she shares with us the top ten pieces of advice she gives her students at the start of each year.

Writing London Writers Cafe
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As a writer, active member and chair of the London Writers’ Cafe – one of the largest writing groups in the UK – Lisa Goll knows a thing or two about how to get the most from participating in a writing community. Here she shares her top tips on finding the group that’s right for you, what to expect on joining and how to survive the writing velociraptors.

Ask an Agent
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How to write a book proposal and what exactly it needs to include are two of the questions I am asked most frequently as a literary agent – and not just by new writers. Even seasoned authors and experienced journalists may not have written a book proposal previously. In any book submission process the competition will be immense and the turndown rate high, so it is worth taking the time to get a proposal right. But what does that mean?

Around the Web
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What do agents really want? A unique voice, storytelling ability, likeable characters and believable dialogue, says Danuta Kean.

Yesterday I taught my first Guardian Masterclass of the year on how to pitch your book. A question students always ask is: what exactly do agents want? It is easier to answer than you might think. Of course everyone in publishing would say ‘voice’, by which they mean the character and personality of the writing. Agents want a voice that is unique, fresh and engaging. If you remain unclear what that means, the best way to understand is to read, read and read contemporary books.

Case Studies
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Writers’ block: two words that strike fear into every writer. But for the past 11 years every November a website has come to the rescue. National Novel Writing Month was founded in 1999 by US-based freelance Chris Baty and 20 other writers. Aimed simply at getting words on the page, it sets participants a target of 50,000 words written by the end of the month, and provides forums and exercises aimed at overcoming writer’s block. It has an impressive success rate: of the 165,000 participants in 2009, over 30,000 crossed the 50,000 word line at the end of November.

One of those who participated in 2008 was creative writing graduate Julia Crouch, who had hit a wall. It helped more than she expected: before Christmas the books that came out of NaNoWriMo won her a three book deal with Headline. Her début, the psychological thriller Cuckoo, is published in March. Here she explains how NaNoWriMo helped.

Writing
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January is a time for change, for inspiration, for doing something new – but it’s also cold, damp and dreary so staying in and writing is the perfect thing to do (preferably on the sofa). At London Writers’ Club we decided to support our community of writers throughout the month of January by launching our first Stay in and Write month – 31 days of writing ideas, inspiration, writing exercises and inspiring advice from editors, publishers, agents and authors. I’d like to share with you ten of the top ways to Stay in and Write in January here.

Interviews
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Want to be a bestselling novelist? In the first of our features on writing, Barbara Taylor Bradford tells Danuta Kean what it takes.
Barbara Taylor Bradford is a tonic: a tonic for writers jaded by capricious publishers whose loyalty to authors’ careers is barely longer than a supermarket promotion. She is also a lesson to all that hard work is as essential to a long career as a passion about writing. At 77 there is no slacking off for BTB. Thirty-one years after her blockbuster début A Woman of Substance appeared, she has just published her 26th novel, Playing the Game, backed by a publicity schedule that would daunt far younger writers.

Featured post
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A new way of working merits the introduction of a new word – iPadivity.

noun [n] :

1. the phenomenon of increased creativity and productivity when using an iPad – and activity while doing the same
2. the generation of new ideas using an iPad
3. profitability from generating and using iPad apps

skills
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I’ve just finished reading an excellent book by Cat Bennett called The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind.

When I read Cat’s book, I realised that being able to draw is not something which is a nice-to-have skill – perhaps just so I could do my own illustrations or even my front cover. There are areas of the brain (and mind) that are activated, exercised and honed by the very act of drawing. As such, for authors, drawing actually makes you a better writer.

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