Sign up to the newsletter

Writing Advice

In this section, you will find a collection of blogs dedicated to writing advice. So, if your manuscript is starting to drive you crazy, or you’re not sure how to get started, read on for the push you need to create your masterpiece.

Literary Lessons: Investing In Faith

From Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna (Cannongate July 2018)

Rachel Knightley with Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna

‘What if someone steals my idea?’ is one of the two most common questions would-be writers ask when sending (or not sending) their writing off. The second question, which may sound like the polar opposite yet often follows directly, is ‘What if my idea isn’t good enough?’ There are practical answers, such as emailing documents to yourself so you can prove copyright by date. There are gentle reminders that there are only seven basic plots but infinite original voices – what you’re selling is not just your plot or idea but the originality of your voice in that plot or idea, a unique combination in all of time and space.

But while the practicalities are helpful, it’s much more helpful to address the questions at the emotional level: The perfect thing in your head will stay perfect as long as it stays in your head. It will stay that way until you have the courage to turn your perfect dream into …

Read more | 0 comments

Literary Lessons: Omniscience and Empathy

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen (Penguin Michael Joseph July 2018)

When I began studying creative writing, omniscience was often spoken of as having fallen out of fashion in literature right alongside society’s belief in divine interventionism. If God didn’t choose to pop into all of our heads and lives, without generally dropping off a whisper of advice or a nudge of help, why would authors bother with their own characters? The subjective, first/third-limited point of view was more “real” to the human experience as we had grown to understand it, intellectually and emotionally. “I” live my life, “s/he” lives her/his life. We each have one and can only interpret what our five (arguably six) senses offer us as to what’s going on in a head other than our own. First and third-limited points of view also avoided the dangers of “seasickness”, where the reader is made dizzy by jumps from head to head, never getting as deep into any point of …

Read more | 0 comments

Things I Learned On My Path To Publication...

Lia Louis

Regular Writers & Artists blogger Lia Louis only went and got herself a book deal! Here are some of the things she learned on the path to publication...


In January, one of my biggest dreams came true – I signed with a dream literary agent, Juliet Mushens, and just a few weeks later, signed a two-book deal with a dream publisher. After all of those hours; all of those hundreds of thousands of words of worlds and made-up people with made-up heartache and happy endings; all of those ‘unfortunately, this time we are going to pass’s; all the scrapping, redrafting, rejections and tears... I got “the call.” Or the email, should I say. The message I had been daydreaming about for years. I'd broken through what at times felt like a welded and triple-locked door.

I am going to be a published author.

My book – the one I sat writing at the dining table on my laptop, at the park on rain-soaked paper, in bed on my phone beside tiny babies, grabbing hold of those slivers of …

Read more | 10 comments

Beating Comparison-Itis

Lia Louis

Regular Writers & Artists blogger Lia Louis returns to talk about the ill-effects of the dreaded Comparison-itis, and how it can be overcome...


While the rest of the world seems to be suffering with colds and coughs now autumn germs have scuttled out from hiding, I am suffering with something that can’t be eased with Olbas oil, paracetemol and a long, hard mope: I am suffering with Comparison-itis. Yep. Comparison-itis. You may have never heard of it, but chances are, if you’re a writer, you’d have suffered with it at least once in your life. Or like me, you have an attack of it regularly.

When I talk about comparison-itis I mean to suffer from the following symptoms: the unnecessary, unhelpful, pointless... but totally tantalising action of comparing yourself to published writers, and the subsequent convincing of one's self that you have no earthly business in even attempting to reach their levels. 

It's a nasty little bugger, and can be difficult to shift from …

Read more | 3 comments

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 …

Read more | 5 comments