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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.

How to make your book stand out


I know all of you will be writing for pleasure, but I guess many of you will be wanting to sell – you may even be hoping that you can make a decent salary out of your writing. A question you will need to ask yourself, if that is the case: ‘What makes you and your book stand out from the crowd?’

I have been working with a thriller writer who’s done very well selling his self-published e-books, so much so that an agent has sought him out and signed him up. His first book was a medical thriller – and swiftly became a bestseller of that sub-category on Amazon. His second book is still perfectly competent, but it contains much less of the medical techy stuff that made his work stand out. He was looking to up his game, but I felt it was important that he didn’t change it. His ‘pharma dramas’, as I call them, are his USP. Were he to join the general melee that is the thriller-writer rat race, he’d be just another set of scrabbling claws.

So what quality marks you out, …

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A year in view of children's publishing

Have you always wanted to write or illustrate children's books? Maybe you've started writing an adventure story that will have readers eager to turn the pages, or perhaps you've got an idea for a picture book that's sure to fire up imaginations.

Either way, the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2014 is an essential guide to all the contacts, advice and information you need to help you on your creative path.

It's an exciting time in children's publishing - a time full of changes for publishers, writers and readers. In this blog post, children's books editor Caroline Horn gives us her insight into the changes you, as the writer, need to know about:

According to Bowker’s ‘UK Books & Consumers’ survey in 2012 (©Bowker Market Research 2013), we continue to spend as much as ever on children’s books. Bowker estimates that during 2012, UK consumers spent some £441 million on children’s books (both print and digital), which is just up on 2011 (+0.2%), when we …

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Writing ghostly stories for children with Cornelia Funke

Do you have a great idea for a children’s book? Perhaps all you have so far is an initial idea for a character? Maybe you have a plot that just won't go away or you could have a completed manuscript.

Either way, the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2014 is an invaluable resource which contains all the advice, information and contact details you need to help you on your writing path.

Children's ghost stories are some of the most exciting to write and to read - but crafting a can't-put-it-down ghost story is no easy feat.

Included in this year's Yearbook, however, is the very article to help you along! Describing the adventure of writing ghost stories by successful children's author Cornelia Funke will advise and inspire in equal measure.

A ghost story is not just a ghost story. Maybe that is especially true for one written for children. There are so many paths to take. A good story always starts with the right questions. Ghost stories like to hide from us, dress …

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My Writing Rules!

Are you interested in writing children's fiction? For years, perhaps you've secretly been wanting to indulge your inner child, or maybe you have a manuscript buried away somewhere that could - possibly, maybe, given a chance - be the next Harry Potter.

No matter what stage you've reached with your manuscript though, if you're interested in writing for the children then the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2014 should certainly be of interest.  Available on August 1st, this invaluable guide contains all the information, advice and contact details you need to see you through your writing journey.

To give you a sneak peek at what you can expect from this year's version, successful children's author Jon Mayhew tells us his top rules when it comes to writing for children:

"I always want my main character to be one that children will like. That isn’t to say that the main character is always a paragon of virtue or even particularly pleasant. In Mortlock, Josie is a fairly …

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Music tells me stories - The Undercover Soundtrack

Some authors need silence to write; a blank space so their thoughts can be heard. And some of us need an ocean of music.

I’m one of those.

Music enslaves me. It always has. Even a crackle from a stranger’s earbuds will insist on my attention. In cafes that play music, I’m a zombie.

So it probably seems an odd facilitator for writing. But it’s this domineering quality that I find so helpful.

When I’m working on a novel, I drown in possibilities. Music helps me sort them out, holds them still so I can examine what the characters might feel and do. And so each novel I write has an undercover soundtrack.

An undercover soundtrack is not the music that the characters might like, or the songs that have meaning for them. It’s the pieces that became special to me as I wrote.

Creating a place

I first began making undercover soundtracks when I was ghostwriting novels. Many had exotic settings, and music helped conjure the mood. Trilok Gurtu was a …

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