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How do you develop the theme of your novel? And does theme matter?

It’s time for another of our authors’ Round Robin posts, and this month we have another thought-provoking topic set by author Rhobin Courtright… ‘Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader. Do your stories ever have more subtle themes?’ When I first start a novel, I’m not consciously aware of what…… Continue reading How do you develop the theme of your novel? And does theme matter?

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How do you develop realistic characters who are different from yourself?

It’s time for another of our authors’ Round Robins, and this month the topic is… How do you develop a character who is different in personality from all the other characters you have developed, or from yourself? If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan of Georgette Heyer and…… Continue reading How do you develop realistic characters who are different from yourself?

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Are you a racist writer? On the difficulty of recognising our own prejudices…

I’m a member of three writers’ bodies in the UK – the Society of Authors, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders. I’ve been to numerous writers’ conferences and pitched to more literary agents than I can remember. From my experience, the world of publishing in the UK is predominantly…… Continue reading Are you a racist writer? On the difficulty of recognising our own prejudices…

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Editing Tips: How to Focus Your Story and Keep Readers Turning the Pages

In my work as a fiction editor I often give writers the same piece of advice: focus, focus, focus on your core story. There, I said ‘focus’ three times. And here’s an image of someone focusing, too. That’s how important I think it is! What do I mean by ‘focus on the story’? Well, a…… Continue reading Editing Tips: How to Focus Your Story and Keep Readers Turning the Pages

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Do you have a story to tell? Author J.Q. Rose shares advice and tips on writing your memoir

One of my most treasured possessions is a type-written account by my granddad of how he saw in New Year 1900 as a child. My great-grandfather lifted him aloft onto his shoulders and they walked through the streets of Dublin, where the bells were ringing. It’s a simple story, but one that’s poignant and brings…… Continue reading Do you have a story to tell? Author J.Q. Rose shares advice and tips on writing your memoir

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Three of the best books for fiction writers on the craft of writing

No matter what stage you’re at with your writing – whether still at the first draft, or with dozens of books to your name – there’s always something new to learn about the craft of writing. Besides writing, I also work as a freelance editor. (In fact, for quite a while now the editing has…… Continue reading Three of the best books for fiction writers on the craft of writing

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How to make a living from writing: some useful tips from the London Book Fair #lbf

My first ever visit to the London Book Fair was an inspiring and thought-provoking day. One of the talks at Author HQ was on how writers can boost their earnings. The room was packed, indicating that this is a hot topic for many! Most authors earn less than a living wage from their books alone,…… Continue reading How to make a living from writing: some useful tips from the London Book Fair #lbf

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#Writing: How to keep focused on the central idea of your story, and why it matters

When I’m editing fiction and making notes in the margins of a manuscript, there are a couple of comments I make more often than any others. One of them is ‘show, don’t tell’, and another is ‘focus on the story’. What’s my book about? A piece of advice I often give to writers is to…… Continue reading #Writing: How to keep focused on the central idea of your story, and why it matters

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How to Develop Characters That Live and Breathe #writing

Some books contain unforgettable characters. Those that spring to mind for me straightaway are Cormoran Strike in the Robert Galbraith novels, Lila and Lenu in My Brilliant Friend, Anne of Green Gables, Miss Jean Brodie, Scarlett O’Hara, D’Artagnan and the three Musketeers. The characters in these books are almost like real people to me. I have…… Continue reading How to Develop Characters That Live and Breathe #writing

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Three essentials for creating page-turning tension in your novel #amwriting #writetip

Creating a page-turning read is the topic for this month’s Round Robin… How do you develop the tension every story needs to keep the reader involved? This is such an excellent question. There are so many elements to this that at first I felt overwhelmed. Then I decided to follow my own advice in a…… Continue reading Three essentials for creating page-turning tension in your novel #amwriting #writetip