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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.

10 Writing Touchstones: Inspiration (and butterfly nets)

Rachel Knightley

I was writing in a cafe this morning (anyone who knows me will have just have gone ‘Ha’ quite loudly: it would be news if I weren’t writing in a café this morning. Particularly if the writing’s finished). They were playing a cover of Let’s Dance, my beloved Bowie’s most lucrative hit. Say what you will about disco-era Bowie, this wasn’t a song you forgot: tune and lyrics that stick; crisp, eloquent refrains as individual as any published sentence should aim to be. Not my favourite, but the usual best-practice example: a distinctive, intelligent specimen of his chosen genre at the time. This cover kept all the words and the musical structure of the hit, yet still managed to be boring. If I hadn’t known the song well enough to identify the vulture-pecked remains of the original, I wouldn’t have noticed what the music was at all.

‘Brilliant!’ thought the theatre director in me. ‘If a successful song can be made immediately forgettable, interpretation really is …

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Let Writing Be Your Rescue

Lia Louis

Regular Writers & Artists blogger Lia Louis on the sheer joy of writing for no one else but yourself.


I can't remember the exact time that I started to write. I know I was young, I know it was before we had a computer in the house, and I know that as often as I wrote stories about magic trees and wizardy caretakers, I wrote long, thoughtful rambles about life, space, and sometimes, the cute boy in the house opposite who I thought may have smiled – or perhaps, Dear Diary, it was wind – at me. I wrote when I had everything and nothing to say, and needed to make sense of things. I wrote because it helped me think and stopped me thinking all at the same time. I wrote because I couldn’t find the right words to say out loud, and I wrote because I had thoughts, fears and secrets but no person I trusted enough to keep them. I wrote because it grounded me, and also sent me up, up and far, far away. I wrote because it was an antidote to an awful day, and also, sometimes, the …

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10 Writing Touchstones: Clarity

Rachel Knightley

No matter how many novels, plays, instruction manuals or poems you have on your writing CV, there are lessons about writing – some technical, others psychological – that benefit from regular rediscovery.

I teach creative writing from pre-school to post-retirement. No matter the age, background or experience of the writer, certain shared attitudes to our writing and ourselves regularly come to the surface. Most common is the wish to ‘get it right’ even though rationally we know that with any creative work, there is unlikely to be a single, definitive ‘right answer’. 

My catchphrase with writing and acting students is ‘there’s no such thing as a wrong answer’. However, there certainly are such things as good habits: concepts and qualities to which we can hold and test our writing, to challenge and reassure ourselves when needed.

This series offers ten ‘Touchstones’ for writing. Some are more technical than others (clarity, structure, rhythm); some more …

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The Writing Process

At Book Aid International we believe books have the power to change lives. In places where books are scarce, libraries are often the best place to discover the joy of reading. That’s why we work in partnership with libraries in sub-Saharan Africa providing books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish.

We were delighted to join up with Writers & Artists for a second year running to offer aspiring authors a fantastic series of masterclasses with established authors on different aspects of the writing craft. Each of these practical sessions – which focused on key facets of the writing process – expertly guided participants through exercises and techniques that helped hone their manuscripts.

Writers & Artists generously donated 50% of proceeds from each ticket sold to support our work and they raised a fantastic £2,032.50! That’s enough to send over 1,016 books to libraries in Africa!

We were …

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‘A Few Words a Day’ and Other Writing Myths

Sam Audley

How many articles have you read saying that you have to write a few words every day to be an author? I know I’ve read many along those lines and I’ve heard many authors wheel out the same comment when talking about their craft. Numbers of words are often cited as though they were a tenet of faith to which an author must adhere or be damned, and invariably five hundred to a thousand words a day is quoted. 

Certainly, we all need to apply ourselves to our writing or our novel does not progress, but I think that setting an unnatural benchmark misses the point that creativity is just that and it cannot be rushed or forced in any way. For me the thought of writing some rubbish every day just to comply with a myth about the best way to write is complete nonsense.

Given that we are all different, why should our writing styles all be squeezed into the same sausage-making machine to emerge in exactly the same shape? Surely the content is more critical and to create nuanced and readable …

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