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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.

Poetry Writing Tips from The London Magazine

The London Magazine


We put together some of our best writing tips and techniques. Whether you're an established writer or making your first foray into the world of poetry - we like to think these will be helpful to all poets. 

To write effective poetry you have to read loads of poems. Read contemporary poetry as well as poems from the great historic slipstream of verse. However, do not try to approximate the poetic forms and concerns of bygone epochs. Immerse yourself in the ways that contemporary poets are framing their work in terms of structure.  

Indeed, think of the word framing when you come to write. Think of the poem more as an assembly of language on the blank space of the page. It is up to you how and where you place your words. A collection of poems is like an exhibition of paintings set against the white walls of a gallery.

Writing poetry is always an exercise in the ultra-specificities of language. Abstraction and opacity are the enemies of good poetry. …

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The Lies I Tell Myself As A Writer

I was on a packed tube one sweaty Saturday, when a woman beside me said to her friend, ‘I worked on my novel yesterday. About three thousand words...’ 

‘Oh, cool,’ he said. 

‘Not sure about that,’ she laughed. ‘I read it back this morning and it’s rubbish. I should’ve gone out with you instead.’ 

I can’t tell you how much that comforted me as a writer, who was at the time in a creative slump, convinced I’d never write anything worth reading again and no other writer knew such frustration. Without knowing, without meaning to, the stranger in the tube carriage put my mind at ease; her words were like a nonexistent nod that said, ‘We are all the same.’ 

There’s something to be said for knowing you aren’t the only one, that ‘it happens to the best of us’, that most writers – perhaps even every writer – has that little voice inside their head that enjoys talking them out of writing and away from their desk, talking their pen away from …

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Writers' Groups - Are They Any Good?

Writing advice

Before I became a mother, I vowed I would never join a mother and baby group.  Before I had twins, I vowed I would never join a twins and multiple births group. Before I set out to become a published writer, I vowed I would never join a writers’ group.

Guess what?  I joined all three.

It’s not that I couldn’t manage on my own. I consider myself to be self-sufficient, self-disciplined and rigorously independent. Yet, there have been undeniable benefits to joining all these groups. Here are some.


Empathy  

Only mothers of twins know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh, I always wanted twins.’  Only writers know how annoying it is when, oblivious to your bedraggled appearance and bloodshot eyes, someone says, ‘Oooh I always wanted to write a book.’ It’s good to meet up with people who truly understand your experiences, with whom you can enjoy a good moan and …

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New Year's Writing Resolutions for 2015 & Every Year Thereafter

Writing

I am terrible at keeping New Year's resolutions – awful, in fact. You’ve probably seen me, lumbering by your house every morning from New Year’s Day until January 8th, wearing brand new running shoes and a pained expression, breathlessly muttering “I think I might be about to keel over”. You won’t see me after that, though, and that’s because by then, the only place I can be found is lying horizontally on the sofa, while my new jogging shoes get transformed into upcycled plant pots for the porch. But last year, there was an exception to my failed list of resolutions. Just one, but it was the one that I was sure was harder than all of my goals put together. Last year, out of the eight New Year’s resolutions I scrawled down in the front of my diary – along with save money (ha!) and of course, jog three times per week (double ha!) – was “finish my novel, once and for all, no matter what”, and it was the one resolution I saw through to the end.

So, as I sit down, …

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Copyright & IP – Friend or Foe?

Writing advice

I need to be careful what I say and exactly how I say it, but copyright is everywhere. A quick search on the news section on Google (other search engines are available) shows ‘about’ 194,000,000 results - quite some number. Headlines, currently on the first page of the search, range from musicians threatening to sue UK.gov to digital copyright issues affecting car modifications. And small businesses complaining about a lack of transparency from copyright collection societies to the curious case of the Sherlock Holmes copyright saga after the US Supreme Court refused an appeal.

For authors, copyright and intellectual property (IP) can be scary words. But these are words that really matter, no matter how fearful you might be of them, especially with the emergence of digital media and the way information is retrieved.

It may sound very dry, but if you’re a self-published author you need to fully understand all facets of your IP, including copyright. This will …

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