Nail Your Novel

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The way we were – self-publishing 2005 and now

Look what we found in the attic. It’s a self-publishing supplement from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain in New Year 2005. When this was circulated, I was ghostwriting for Big Six publishers (wh…

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What you can achieve if you try something a little scary… how I became a memoirist and novelist by @expatapple

Apple Gidley has lived all over the world, has taught English, sold SCUBA gear and negotiated British nationals out of jail when she was the British honorary consul in Equatorial Guinea. Her writin…

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Fantasy novelists – your first pages: 5 more book openings critiqued by @agentpete @mattschodcnews and me!

I’ve just guested again at Litopia, the online writers’ colony and community. Each week they have a YouTube show, Pop-Up Submissions, where five manuscripts are read and critiqued live on air by li…

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From travel journalism to inner journeys – Mark Chesnut @munderamedia on writing his first memoir

How do you make a career with words? And once you’re established in a niche, how do you then uproot to a completely new kind of writing? Mark Chesnut has done just that. For most of his life he has…

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Using real people in historical fiction – how much can you invent?

I’ve had this question from M: I’m writing a historical novel set in Australia in 1872. The fictional events are based on real events or phenomena. A few characters are based on real people, who I’…

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Your first pages – 5 #speculativefiction manuscripts critiqued at @Litopia by literary agent @AgentPete @AJ_Dickenson and me!

I’ve just guested again at Litopia, the online writers’ colony and community. Each week they have a YouTube show, Pop-Up Submissions, where five manuscripts are read and critiqued live on air by li…

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I name this book… tips for choosing a good title

For every manuscript I see with a head-turning title, there’s another with a title that’s limp, unassertive and would never tempt a reader to look closer. Or a title that’s too tricky to remember. …

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Eight points for writing a memoir in personal essays

My current work in progress is a memoir in essays, in the vein of Not Quite Lost. It’s been growing organically. First I had the urge to write A Something. Then another Something, which seemed to b…

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How to revise your novel without getting stale – take a tip from Michael Caine

Do you hate going over your novel again and again? Take a tip from Michael Caine and see it as rehearsing your novel Some writers hate redrafting. Analysing, dissecting and rewriting their work? A …

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‘A space in which language can play and find itself’ – talking about slow discovery writing with poet Rishi Dastidar @BetaRish

In some ways, writers of literary fiction (and non-fiction) are like poets. Our materials are shapes, images, emotions and sounds; our landscape is a reader’s mind. When we start a work, we might n…