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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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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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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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Writing Tip #2 – Five red flags for writers

Some words should be an automatic red flag to a writer. The second you find yourself typing, writing or otherwise using them, a voice inside ought to scream stop. Here are five that I watch out for. Search your works in progress and eliminate at will.

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Writing Tip #1 – Pump up the volume

All too often the temptation when writing is there to have a character do something other than simply ‘say’ their words. It’s a topic to which I’ll return later, but there is certainly some scope to use a few more descriptive words (such as whisper, mutter or whine) now and then. Just don’t go overboard. […]

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