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My latest excuse for not writing

One of the first things I learned when I started to write remains the most effective. When done with a draft, put it away. Lay down your words to rest for at least a month. Two if you can. Three is better.

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The hardest thing about writing

I write. It’s my paying day job, the way I fill the downtime hours and I’ve upped the pressure by telling myself I have it in me to be funny. On a stage. In front of strangers. Writing isn’t tough. Making it any good is more like work, but again, not beyond reach. What has […]

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The power of the flashback

You know how it goes. You’re watching a TV show, and all-of-a-sudden the scene changes. Flashback to five years earlier. If there’s one thing to be said for binge watching in the Netflix age, it’s that I’ve thought again about how I tell a story. I’ve always known that a strict chronological timeline turns off […]

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Writing tips: Hatches, matches and dispatches

As Australians vote to allow same-sex marriage, I got to pondering how, when writing, I often base stories around major life events. The Armchair Bride brings former enemies together. Having it all sees the bride flee a dream wedding. My next book will see Evie find new ways to cope when every familiar situation ‘dies’. […]

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Where to hunt a literary agent

There are many ways to track down a literary agent. This article shares some tips on how to power your search.

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Submitting to an agent – what not to say

If you’ve reached the point where you think you’d like to find an agent or publisher for your writing, there’s plenty of advice online. My own book – Please find attached – is rammed to the rafters with tips on how to attract attention, write a query letter, synopsis, bio and generally convince the gatekeeper […]

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Writing great dialogue: Word of mouth storytelling

Inexperienced writers tend to rely on dialogue to deliver the story. It’s an absolute no-no. Victoria Wood satirised this best in her mock soap ‘Acorn Antiques’: “Apparently, being spiteful and having lots of extra-marital affairs could bring back my jaundice, so I’m going to be really nice from now on.” The fancy word for this […]

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Avoiding the laundry list

‘Laundry lists’ refer to writing where the author has tried to ram in as much detail as possible. Often because someone told them they needed to add ‘more description or setting’. You see it most when a new character wanders onto the page: ‘Ellie is tall, tanned, slim and very very blonde with big blue […]

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Marketing notes from my editor

Ready to look at marketing your finished book. Maybe I can help? Last time round, I talked about how editorial feedback made me think again about something as basic as the character names and elements of setting. How the current market expects certain things. She went further and gave me helpful tips to help pitch […]

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Notes from my editor

Monday was one of those nail-biting days. An email arrived with the first thoughts from my editor. She’s quite a big deal name in commercial fiction, so I’d been ready for a mauling. I expected her to brand my efforts as a mismatched jumble of bad ideas and inept delivery. Thankfully the broadside was gentle, […]

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