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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.

‘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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Writing Prompts Make You A Better Writer

Writing prompts

The Benefits of Writing Prompts

Building writing prompts into your writing routine will make you a better writer. Not only will writing prompts get the creative juices flowing, but they can also help you warm-up for a productive writing session and even enable you to develop a wider writing skill-set. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut or stick to what you know, but writing prompts are all about chucking you out of your comfort zone and getting you thinking and writing very quickly.

Writing prompts enable you to:

•   Explore new styles and content in a small, safe test environment. Try something new…

•   Be more creative as you are led by the prompts rather than any of your own ideas/preconceptions.

•   Focus and concentrate at a high level on a relatively short writing task.

Writing prompts as warm-ups

Mo Farrah doesn’t run marathons without warming up, Adele doesn’t take to the stage without warming up, so why …

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Take The Leap

Writing a set of goals and new year’s resolutions on the first page of a brand new notebook is as much of an end-of-year tradition for me as eating cold turkey sandwiches and pickled onions from the jar in my pyjamas, and eating mince pies because ‘we’ve got to get rid of them. While it isn’t unheard of for me break in the first two or three pages of my notebook with reams of resolutions, this year has been different. I haven’t bothered making a list at all. Instead, I plan on doing my very best to do just one thing this year: take the leap. 

In September of last year, I won a writing competition. My first writing competition, and if I’m being honest, my dream writing competition. I won the 2015 ELLE Magazine Talent Contest. A competition I never, ever expected to win. A competition I almost didn’t enter at all. 

I can’t tell you the amount of writing competitions I have planned to enter, and the amount of entries I have begun to write, and sometimes …

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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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The Magic of Writing

When I sat down to write this blog post, my intention was to write something else – a post about a different subject entirely. I had it all mapped out; scribbled notes, bullet points, the whole caboodle. But then something happened. I accidentally opened an old document on my desktop. At first, I didn’t recognise it. Then I read it. It was something I had completely forgotten I had written. And as soon as I read it once, I wanted to read it again. And I liked it. Enjoyed it, even. And then I couldn’t shake the giddiness and dreaminess I felt afterwards. Because it was grand, the whole discovering-words-you-forgot-you-wrote-and-finding-them-like-a-folded-fiver-in-an-old-pair-of-jeans thing – really bloody grand. And then I couldn’t help but think about all those other delicious moments in writing; the big things, the small things, and the smaller ones. Those little bursts of pleasure, excitement, victory, bliss, fulfilment. The magic. Because it is. Writing is magic. 

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