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Writers' & Artists' Blog

From Idea To Agent

In the first of her blog series for W&A, author Nicola Garrard shares her journey of getting an agent...

If you had asked me, just two weeks ago, how my submissions to literary agents were going, I would have said, ‘Fingers still crossed… should hear in three months.’ I had been sending off my submissions in batches of six and hoping for the best. It looked doubtful; I hadn’t paid for a Creative Writing MA, hired an editor or attended a writers’ retreat. My total spend on my writing career to date had comprised £17 on a copy of the Writers' & Artists’ Yearbook, £20 on a bargain Writers & Artists’ ‘How to Submit your Manuscript’ event in London.

The next week, everything changed.

Two emails appeared in my inbox from agents asking to see the full manuscript and two offering representation. 

A day later, an agent telephoned me. 

I had gone from what felt like months of encouraging rejections, to the kind of interest (and delicious lunches) I had only …

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5 Writing Tips for 2019

12 months in as an aspiring authoress I look back to the first tender weeks of my authorship journey – and give myself a little condescending tap on the head.

I think it’s sweet that I had intended on not only submitting a fully polished novel to competitions and awards, but that I would have found an agent and be well on the way to securing a publishing deal… in one year.

So how did the authoress get on? Where in the process is she now? Let’s skip forward to January 2019… 

I'm on chapter two.

Now let’s get a few things straight – this isn’t because I didn’t do the work, or I was lazy or gave up, far from it. I worked tirelessly, dedicating hours and hours to research, writing, reading, courses…

The past year has taught me a tremendous amount. Not least, the reason I got 15,000 words in to my children’s novel and SCRAPPED it all.

When I set myself a goal, I approach it with dogged focus and determination. I work strictly to a rule book that I create …

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Literary Lessons: Art Matters

Rachel Knightley

From Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell.

The best writing advice will always be the writing advice that inspires you to get on with the writing. Inspires, not instructs: no there is no great secret, yes it’s hard work and practise makes improvement. My favourite writing guide and favourite memoir, Stephen King’s On Writing, reminds us Dumbo made it into the air because of the magic feather clutched in his trunk, even though the magic was in him all the time. Writing courses and writing retreats and writing buddies and writing manuals are all great feathers. They can get us up there faster. But the magic is always in the elephant, not the feather. 

I have a new feather. It’s Art Matters, a stocking-filler-sized illustrated philosophy of life, art and freelancing. It sits beside my laptop on my windowsill “desk” in the living room. It’s made of three texts by Neil Gaiman – Credo (2015), Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming

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Merry Christmas from Writers & Artists!

It's our favourite time of year at Writers & Artists, (let the Christmas book shopping commence!) and what better way to bring in the festive spirit than to run a book giveaway!

If you haven't yet got your Christmas reading lined up, then be sure to keep your eyes peeled from Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd December, as we'll be giving away some brilliant titles. 

To enter, it's simple: watch out for our Christmas tweet every morning and just RT and follow to be in with a chance of winning.

Here's the line-up of books featured:

Saturday 15th December – The Corset by Laura Purcell

Sunday 16th December – Why Write? by Mark Edmundson

Monday 17th December – The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

Tuesday 18th December – Monsieur X by Jamie Reid

Wednesday 19th December – Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit

Thursday 20th December – Circe by Madeline Miller

Friday 20th December Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2019

Find us on Twitter here - we'll be …

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Writing The Landscape Around You

Ahead the publication of his debut novel Mostyn Thomas and The Big Rave, author Richard Williams discusses the inspiration behind his writing, and why he didn't have to look too far from home for it. 

As a debut writer with no formal literature training/education, the only way I knew I could pull off writing the novel was to be honest and write what I know. This made things quite easy – no real research was required and no studying random strangers’ facial movements on train platforms was ever necessary. I just pictured the people I grew up around, and took quirks from most of them to develop ‘best of’ Pembrokeshire characters – hybrids of four or five different local people to create each individual character in the novel.

I wanted to write about farming, particularly the challenges for the rural industry at the time the novel is set. More often than not Welsh farmers are portrayed as a bit backward, even “twp” (stupid in Welsh) in television and literature. So I …

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