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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.

YA Fiction-Dual Perspectives-Part I

What  is YA fiction?

juliaJulia Green: It’s a publishing category, really, rather than a genre with particular characteristics, although we might find some of those if we look closely enough. It’s fiction that’s  published by children’s  (as opposed to adult) book publishers, aimed at the top age group of young readers,  ie for readers about  14 years upwards , as distinct from ‘teenage’ fiction which is often read by younger readers ( from about 11 years),  although these are very blurred categories. 

bridgetBridget Collins: I think it’s certainly true that it’s mainly a publishing category – and one which is maybe still “settling”, still deciding where to locate itself and who its readers are. Because YA books are generally published by children’s publishers, or as a children’s imprint, they’ve been seen as a subsection of the children’s market, and I wonder whether that has influenced the way we think about them – and, by …
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How do you (physically) write?

[Hemingway_writing.jpg]I'm asking today about how you actually get words onto a page.  It's a question that authors are often asked at readings.  'How do you write?'   The answer varies, from the highly technical (those who use the latest computer), to the traditionalist who writes in long hand on foolscap paper.

Jane Austen's manuscripts are part of her legend, that she carved herself out a creative space in tiny words, on cramped paper, not inconveniencing anyone.  She wrote, of course, in a time when paper was a luxury, and everyone hoarded their words carefully on this precious commodity.

The picture from today's blog is of Hemingway writing in his preferred method - with a pencil - which he felt improved the flow of words.

We still use terms that relate to how authors used to write - manuscript - for scripts written by hand ('manu') and typescript for typewritten scripts.  Is there a word out there for a computer-written script?  'escript' perhaps?  …
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What's your driving inspiration?


Today, I would like to forsake my blog and bring you the words of one of our contributors, Kevin Armes. Here he speaks about his motivations for writing. Personally, I couldn't think of better reasons to write:

"I am two years into writing my first YA novel and am approaching the end of my second draft. I wrote the story for my thirteen year-old dyspraxic son after reading many Enid Blyton adventures to him and noting how irrelevant they now were to modern-day teens (although he still loved the stories).  I wanted to write a modern-day series of plausible adventures that would take a young hero to the furthest corners of the world.  I wanted him to experience different cultures and meet poverty, abuse and exploitation of his peers in the slums of, for example, The Philippines, Thailand, India, Africa and Brazil.  I wanted him to have a moral conscience and possess a strong desire to make a difference.  This required him to have the means, and I believe …
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Don’t Let the Deadline Go By

Mohana RajakumarSince the birth of our son there have been times in the last four months that I’m not even sure what month it is, let alone day of the week.  For the first time in my life, I feel an acute awareness of the finite number of hours in a day. Because as they say: time is the only thing (besides real estate) we can’t make more of.

When undergoing major life changes and trying to keep up with your writing, deadlines become even more important. A missed deadline can often be like a multi-car collision on the motorway sending everything else on the docket careening into a free fall.

Take for example the book I was trying to finish earlier this year on hip hop dance. Much to my delight, I managed to get the manuscript in before my delivery date and nothing from the editor on revisions as I headed into the maternity ward. Then on one of the afternoons that I woke from the new mother haze to reconnect with the outside world online, I found an email requesting additional …
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Their is a problem with you're grammar

Cressida DowningDid you spot the deliberate mistakes?  If so, read no further, you're off the hook!

I am often asked how 'perfect' a submission needs to be, in terms of its grammar and spelling.  Spelling should be spell-checked, preferably by a person rather than a machine, and grammar shouldn't stand out as wrong. I don't make a point of trying to find the mistakes but when something affects the sense of a sentence or a passage then that raises a red flag.

What drives me absolutely crazy (and pretty much every editor I have ever met), is the common confusion writers have with 'your' and 'you're', 'their, they're, there'', and problems with apostrophes.  This is my cut out and keep guide if this applies to you:

Your = belonging to you - such as 'your cat is sick'.  Not to be confused with:

You're = a contraction of 'you are' - such as 'you're sick and your cat is also sick'.

They're = a contraction of 'they are' - such as 'they're sick of hearing about your cat'.

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