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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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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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Rejected by a literary agent? You’re in good company

Rejection can be crushing. There’s little joy when you receive an email that wishes you well but declares that your labour of love is ‘just not for me’. If you find yourself rejected, take comfort that you are not alone. I’ve pulled together a list of well-known writers who struggled to find a home for […]

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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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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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The pure hell of writing a synopsis

Nobody likes writing a synopsis. How about if I told you it could actually help you create a better book?

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When leopards change their spots

What happens when you decide to change the personality of a supporting character midway through writing?

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Putting the rom into com

When is the right time to reveal that your comedy has a romantic twist? When is it too soon and how do you avoid the cliches?

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It’s all about me – writing in the first person

How practical is it to write a novel in the first person. How do you avoid ‘head hopping’?

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