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Phoning in the dialogue

I’ve never claimed to be anything but an ill-informed Luddite when it comes to mobile phones. Or phones, as I believe the youngsters insist on calling them, refusing to believe there was ever a day when we tied them to a supporting wall with wires. Or that ‘the house phone’ once lived on a special […]

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Ban ‘real life’ dialogue – My first act as leader

It’s my mission to correct any idea you might have that dialogue on the page should reflect the conversations you have or hear every day!

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Who’s doing the laundry?

It’s been a while since I did one of those ‘writing tip’ posts, so I decided to pick on my pet hate ‘laundry list writing’. It ought to be a crime.

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Getting choppy with standup

Mr Fanning picked up my set and put on his ‘let me show you how it’s done‘ face. He started to read and within seconds I was shouting out. He was adding words here and there. Doing the thing my comedy teacher warned against.

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Writing tips: Timeless time

Trends come and go. What’s in today is gone tomorrow. These are not so much writing tips as lessons I learned … the hard way. In the traditional publishing world, life moves slowly. Two years often pass between when you type ‘The End’ and when you get to see your book for sale. Even if […]

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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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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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