In which we share advice and ideas about writing, from tips on technique and practical aspects, to the experiences of other writers. (As always, take all offered writing advice with a pinch of salt. It’s often more important to understand why a writing convention exists than it is to actually follow it.)
Friday, 24th April 2009. There are 4 Comments.
If you are planning to write and publish books, or if you’re engaged in any kind of activity that would make an online presence useful, one thing you should do right now is get your name as a domain. It doesn’t matter if you’re not quite ready to start a website yet: you don’t need to do anything with the domain. The important thing is to make sure it’s yours. (more…)
From paid critiques to writing workshops and courses, there are a lot of good ways to spend your money on improving your writing abilities. Fortunately, there are also a lot of good ways to work on your writing without spending a penny. I’ve listed ten (well, technically nine) below. (more…)
As a rule, I’m highly mistrustful of software that targets itself at fiction writers. While the elaborate formatting conventions of screenplays mean that Final Draft is a useful tool for screenwriters, there’s a large part of me that believes the only things prose writers need are something to write with, something to write on, and a dictionary. Software that, for example, allows you to input a number of aspects of your novel—character name, inciting incident, plot twist 2b—and then arrange them into a pre-formatted structure, is a bad thing. Writers need to be do these things for themselves; if they can’t, they’re very likely going to have deeper problems that a piece of software isn’t going to fix.
So, when I read on the BBC Website that Neil Cross does most of his writing on a piece of specialist software, I was a little sceptical. Still, I thought I’d take a look. As is so often the case when I overcome one of my many prejudices, I’m glad I did. (more…)(more…)
Saturday, 20th September 2008. There are 3 Comments.
Although it’s sometimes necessary to whisk a character in and out of a story without drawing too much attention to him, it’s generally worth remembering that a forgettable character can be a wasted opportunity. One book that really shows how much can be achieved with minor characters is The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. (more…)Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, that august publication that lists publishers, agents, etc., along with juicy advice on everything from taxes to how to prepare your manuscript. It’s been around for years—over a century, in fact—and back in the day, everybody seemed to know that this was the place you went to if you wanted to get yourself informed.
Sure, there were those dodgy “Authors: publish your book!” ads in the pages of literary and writing magazines, and we were warned about vanity publishing, but there wasn’t the level of misinformation then that there is now; because, for really powerful misinformation, we had to wait for the Internet to arrive. (more…)(more…)
I often get emails from teenagers and younger writers looking for advice (or simply moral support) on their writing. For a while I’ve had a sort of generic advice email that I’ve sent them, but I thought it might be worth expanding on that and posting it here in the blog. (more…)
Last night I attended one of the most interesting dinners I’ve ever been to, and like all good experiences, it ties in with an aspect of writing.
The BBC has an article on the virtues of typewriters.
“Have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter?” asks Frederick Forsyth. “It is very secure.”
Read it here.