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Writers' & Artists' Blog

What Is A Writer's Conference?

Linda Strachan, Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland discusses their exciting new conference ScotsWrite and what writers attending can expect...

The Society of Authors in Scotland has created what is expected to be one of the most exciting events in the 2017 writing calendar. ScotsWrite is a weekend conference for all writers at all stages in their writing life. 

But you may be wondering what is a conference for writers and why is it an exciting place to be?

There’s nothing quite like listening to someone speak passionately about the job they love, especially if they’re experts in their field. At ScotsWrite you can expect to hear from experts talking about writing and publishing, because that is what they do - but we think that’s not enough!

We know there are so many different kinds of writers out there, writing in a whole range of field from translation to poetry, from graphic novels to crime fiction, writing for children and young adults. So, we've brought together …

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Writing When Time Runs From You



I'm in my bed in the dark, a snoring one year old squashed into my side, a crick in my neck, and the sound of a rainforest downpour echoing around the room (the baby won't sleep without it. Just one of his many Mariah-Carey-Dressing-Room-esque requests). This is how I write now. Not all the time - no, sometimes, I am lucky enough to sit in perfect silence, at a proper wooden surface, with notes and coffee and everything. But mostly, this is how I write. On my phone, in the notes app, in a window of time I have grabbed with two hands from a speeding conveyer belt, and wherever I may find myself in that moment, however inconvenient, however far from ideal.

Before my life got as busy as it is now – before three kids, I suppose – I wrote at my laptop in uninterrupted silence, on that proper wooden surface I mentioned, feeling almost like a real writer – you know, the ones who sit at walnut desks, listening to Mozart and drinking coffee from tiny mugs with tiny handles. I’d …

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Debut Dagger Longlisted

Last Friday, bestselling authors from around the globe gathered at CrimeFest in Bristol to hear the announcement of the Debut Dagger long list...

For fifteen years the CWA has been encouraging new writers with its Debut Daggers; a crime novel competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world. Last year’s winner was from Australia and previous short lists have included authors from India, Canada and New Zealand- so it really is very much an international competition.

This year I plucked up the courage to put myself forward.

‘Believe in yourself,’ my husband said. ‘What have you got to lose?’

The entry fee of £36 is steep compared to other writing contests but I wanted to know if my book was good enough to stand out from the crowd. And given the reputed quality and quantity of the entries, not to mention the judges themselves (most of whom are linked to major publishing houses) I figured it would be a good test of my manuscript’s …

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Special Twitter Giveaway

To celebrate reaching the heady heights of over 30,000 Twitter followers, we're going to be running a special giveaway to say thank you. That means a different book up for grabs each day for two whole weeks! And as you can see from the titles on show below, there really is something for everyone.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply follow our Twitter account and look out for the appropriate tweet on the dates listed below. You just just need to re-tweet the competition tweet to enter.


Monday 22nd May

The debut writer...
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

Tuesday 23rd May

The psychological thriller writer...
Based On A True Story by Delphine de Vigan

Wednesday 24th May

The YA fantasy series writer...
A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Thursday 25th May

The literary fiction writer...
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Friday 26th May

The non-fiction writer...
Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness & Hope by Erwin James

Saturday 27th May

The nature writer...
At …

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Top Tips On Writing Crime Fiction

On the evening of 5th April 2017, I attended the Writers & Artist’s How to Write Crime Fiction masterclass, with best-selling author Mark Billingham. It was a fantastic introduction to writing crime fiction – talking rules and when to break them. 

Here are 10 top tips I learnt from Mark:


1. Write the book you want to read

As a writer, don’t look for gaps in the market. Instead, write about what interests you as a reader  as this is likely to interest other people too. 


2. Choose a strong opening

You need to hook the reader quickly and early. You have 15 seconds in a bookshop to ‘sell’ your book through the cover, blurb and first few paragraphs. Lure the reader in with a killer sentence or anything that asks a question. This is essential if you’re submitting a manuscript to an agent or publisher, as this will make the difference between them reading your first three chapters or not. 


3. Decide on your point of view (POV)

You may find you write more …

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