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Writers' & Artists' Blog

How I Met Matador Books

Tracy Rawles

In 2012 I emigrated to Provence, France. With the realisation that my long-term writing plans could now be developed I welcomed the abundance of wildlife, pine forests and vineyards on my doorstep. I focused my writing ideas around the flora and fauna before me. However, there appeared to be something missing... With a life-long adoration for Cornwall I instinctively knew that Provence and Cornwall together would form the perfect backdrop for my adventure-filled, mystical children’s book, Charlie’s World of Glittering Powers.

And so, Charlie was born from the force of the Mistral wind, the clicking and buzzing of the cigales, the scent of pine in the forests and the vibrant colours as the sun sets over the mountains.

My human protagonist, Sevi has a carefree and tomboyish character derived from her Cornish homeland of weathered moorland, rock pools hidden amongst sandy coves, rugged shorelines and bustling fishing harbours.

Attendance at the …

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Writing Tips from Sarah Waters

Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award

With the results of the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award due to be announced in December, we're sharing three of bestselling author and past winner Sarah Waters' top writing tips for authors looking to get their work published. 

As a previous recipient of the prize and the writer of Tipping the Velvet and The Paying Guests, amongst others, she explains below what winning the prize did for her.

'When I received the award, in 2000, I had published two novels and was beginning to think about my third. My sales were very modest, my income was uncertain; the first, intense thrill of publication had faded slightly, and I was discovering what a lonely business writing can be. To be named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year – to know that the judges had read and liked my work, and wanted to reward me for it and encourage me to write more - was a terrific honour, and a huge boost. And the money had a real, significant impact on my writing life. …

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How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo: Top 5 Tips

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo started in 1999 to encourage would-be novelists to just sit down and have a go at writing a novel in a supportive environment (and to encourage those procrastinators to just get on with it). Writers  all over the world who are game for the challenge sign up and commit to trying to write 50,000 words in just one month. It may sound impossible, but last year alone over 300,000 writers signed up to NaNoWriMo.

Why NaNoWriMo Works

  • You are in it together – never underestimate the power of a community. Writers are expressive, articulate, communicative souls, but conversely writing can be quite a solitary and insular process – hours spent on your own (in your study/garden shed) tapping out words on a keyboard. It is no surprise that they appreciate the support and encouragement of other writers.
  • You are against the clock – because you know you only have one month to write 50,000 words, you will squeeze in as much …

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Is Procrastination Really A Bad Word?

Justine John

As I type this, I am waiting eagerly for a response from my favourite agent.  I even dared to prod her after five weeks of sending my whole manuscript.  Today I emailed and admitted I was struggling with patience, even though ‘I know I’m supposed to’. 

Since I’ve been waiting, I haven’t hung around.  I have submitted to a further two agents (one rejection, one still-waiting), diarised chase-dates and targets, entered five competitions, signed up for several workshops (about Plotting, Adding Suspense, Using Your Senses, Adding Depth To Writing etc), bought and read some text books, downloaded and indulged in some self-help eBooks, signed up for NaNoWriMo (I won’t get anywhere with this) and set up a planned Twitter page for my writer's group. 

Additionally, I’ve begun to plot another novel and tried to keep this blog up-to-date.  These are the most difficult, of course – because it’s writing.  The rest is, I am …

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Don't Be Afraid Of Writing Fast


Every year I read the same things about the speed of my writing.

"You're making a lot of mistakes, eh?"
"You will have to cut a lot of those words."
"You are writing garbage, because you're too fast."
"You will ruin your hands in no time."
"You're ruining the spirit of NaNoWriMo."

My first official NaNoWriMo was in 2013; before that I did one Camp NaNoWriMo. In 2013, I completed the 50k in 5 days and wrote a total of 120k words that month. A couple of days before the 1st of November I read about the #50k5Days challenge and considered participating in it. I wasn't prepared for it, but I really wanted to try it out. So I did.

When I finished the last thousand words I was really proud of myself.

But then somebody came up and asked me, how much of what I wrote was I going to toss out (because of its supposedly bad quality). I was astonished, because I thought that the draft was quite decent, so I reread it, to see who of us was right. Turned out it was me. There was no drop in quality …

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