Tuesday Tips

Hi everyone. I’m starting to add what I’ve called my Tuesday Tips to the website. They’re videos I’m inserting into some of the Writing Tips on the site. In each short video, I read the tip that’s been posted, then add a few extra thoughts. Hope you find them helpful! Oh and here’s the first […]

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May 19, 2020

Tips for Young Writers 31: Working with Themes

This tip really comes from acclaimed teacher and author, John Gardner, but I find it super helpful, so I hope you do too. I read this book a while back and found it fascinating, but the part that really stood out to me was what the author said about working with themes in a novel. […]

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November 12, 2014

Beware of criticism

I’m posting this, because while I totally admire Neil Gaiman,  I’m not sure his ‘fifth fule for writing’ is entirely correct. Here’s what he says … “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how […]

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November 29, 2012

Tips for Young Writers 22: Accept criticism, but don’t agree with everything you hear.

Welcome criticism, and listen closely to it, but don’t agree with everything that’s said about you or your writing. There’s a fantastic saying that goes, ‘To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.’ Any time you say, do or be anything people will criticise you. Sometimes they’ll be genuinely trying to help you, but […]

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March 28, 2012

Tips for Young Writers 30: Stay Small

It’s easy to get carried away with your storytelling sometimes, so that things get bigger and bigger, and more and more unwieldy for you as the writer. You’d think big ideas would make for a great story, but that’s not always the case. In fact, HUGE stories can be kind of boring. So … Don’t […]

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December 15, 2011

Writing Gold

There’s a moment I’ve achieved sometimes while working that I regard as ‘writing gold’. It comes when the characters and locations become so vivid in my imagination that they actually spring to life and begin doing all the ‘writing’ for me. When it happens, I find myself sitting back (metaphorically, truth is I’m slaving over […]

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October 10, 2011

Tips for Young Writers 29: Two unusual ways to solve your story problems (possibly)

When you’re grappling with a story problem and just don’t know what to do about it, you might like to try one of the techniques below. They’re what I do and they’re extremely easy. 1) Sit back, close your eyes and silently ask yourself for the solution. Then just relax and listen to your thoughts. […]

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July 4, 2011

Tips for Young Writers 28: Make sure all your characters want something all of the time.

When you write a scene, try to make sure every character in it, secretly or openly, wants something. Not all characters have to actually know what they want, but they’ll be way more ‘in’ the scene if they’re hoping for some sort of outcome. Characters who are ‘unmotivated’ can become passive deadweights – they’re like […]

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February 15, 2011

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Make sure you’re ready for the moment when inspiration strikes.

I think Pablo Picasso may have provided the best advice I’ve ever heard for creative people. It’s translated in many different ways, but in essence it is … ‘When inspiration comes,  let it find me working.’  – Pablo Picasso   Inspiration isn’t all that effective if we don’t know what to do with it. We […]

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March 12, 2010

Why it’s important to write visually

I’ve been trying to work out why visual writing is so powerful and here’s what I’ve come up with. Please feel free to agree or disagree. Visual means recognisablerecognisable means realreal means universaluniversal means profound Therefore, visual writing is profound.

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July 15, 2009