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How To Write A Novel

You will find advice here to help you on your writing journey. Use the search bar or browse through the categories to get a taste of the kind of insights and shortcuts we use to fast track our writers. 
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Literary festivals, Darlings.

Jul 21, 2019

Kiss your darlings!

Grab your tote bag, and fill it with books then head off in pursuit of your literary dreamboats to salute them and get the book signed. One of our members, Anna Pye, gives us an account of her own adventures in stalking an author this week.

Here's a brief account of some of the festivals available to book-loving novelists.

The Bath Festival (May)

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival (May)

Hay Festival (Last week in May)

Winchester Writers' Festival (June)

Wealden Literary Festival (June)

Stoke Newington Literary Festival (June)

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival (July)

Port Eliot Festival (End July)

Edinburgh International Book Festival (Third week in August)

Noirwich - the Perfect Crime Writing Festival (September)

Bloody Scotland - Crime Writing Festival (September)

The Brooklyn Book Festival (September)

Cheltenham Literature Festival (October)

London Literature Festival (October)

Bridport Literary Festival (November)...

Read on...

Is This The End?

Jul 14, 2019

It's hard to know for sure when you've reached the end of a novel, insofar as you can take it, by which I mean you're sending it to your agent.

You're battle weary. You can't see the wood for the trees. It's the forty-fifth draft. 

The story makes sense. But your worry may now be that the story makes too much sense at the expense of mystery. So you'll want to go back to a few key moments to make them accurate and translucent - shimmering -  to create more space for the reader. 

I like to perform these last checks while reading Raymond Carver on loop during the last week or so before I hit send.

He was the master when it came to making space for the reader.

"I forget who passed along a copy of Babel’s Collected Stories to me, but I do remember coming across a line from one of his greatest stories. I copied it into the little notebook I carried around with me everywhere in those days. The narrator, speaking about Maupassant and the...

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The Reality of Writing Fantasy

Jul 07, 2019

Adam Langley spent his youth reading books such as the “Animorphs” series by K.A. Applegate and wondering why so many people wanted to go to Hogwarts when they had the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters as an option. Adam has been published on several websites including SyFyWire and Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men.

He has attempted to write a fantasy novel five times. Then he found The Novelry and his fantasy became a reality. He took The Classic Course and wrote his novel using The Ninety Day Novel course.

The Blue Disks of Michaelmas is his first finished novel. It's 89,950 words long.

Here's Adam on the reality of writing his fantasy novel with a day job.


I think all writers, especially writers of science fiction and fantasy, like to plan. We like our extended universes. We like giving our characters more room to move and grow and do stuff that is interesting. The problem arises when we spend more time building a world than we do writing....

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Disaster! The Life-Affirming Purpose of the Apocalyptic Story.

Jun 30, 2019
 

If a novel is one person's moral journey towards acceptance of their place in the universe, then the plot is contrived to give them a gift or gifts to help them on their way to which he or she is particularly ill-suited.

Nail those  - the human flaw and the perfectly unsuitable circumstances  - and you've got the essential irony that powers a novel.

A disaster story brings these into sharp dramatic relief. As one of my writers pointed out this week, the hero of the Jaws movie is afraid of water.

But there's more -  it's not the flaw that's so important in the grand scheme of a disaster story, so much as the hero or heroine's gift.

The narrative path as outlined in The Five F's of story at The Novelry, finds its immaculately opposite form in a disaster story. The negative image. Perhaps that's not surprising, for is a novel is propelled by what the main character wants, in a disaster story it's all about what they don't want to happen.

The starting...

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Welcome to Our World!

Jun 23, 2019

Our writers have shared their photos of their writing spaces to help me create a gallery to show how we work worldwide, in solo and in unison. 

Here's the gallery for those of our writers playing 'Whose Desk Is It Anyway?"

Simply assign a number to a name and post your answers onto our closed Facebook group page today!

You can have a nose around their sacred spaces and find out more about the items they consider essential to their creativity at this page. Scroll down that page to find the screen show which lets you into one space at a time.

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The Bath Novel Award Longlist

Jun 21, 2019

The Novelry is delighted to announce that one of our beloved writers in on the longlist for this year's Bath Novel Award.

There's a whole lot of whooping going on for this much-loved writer who wrote her wonderful very moving novel with us!

Read on...

Cheering You On

Jun 16, 2019
 

As I labour or lumber through the drafts of my novel, from expansion to contraction and so on in alternating drafts, I find myself as an older writer with a far lower view of myself and my abilities. I hope the delusion that I am a noble person is so far blown down the alleyway of experience that I can inhabit a cast of characters ranging from the sublimely innocent to the wholly Machiavellian, on the upside. But the downside is there too. Please don't imagine that writing novels gets easier. It's the opposite. 

I find writing harder as I get older. Every novel presents such new challenges, it seems one has never written a novel before. An irksome and bewildering amnesia. Yet again,  your judgement and taste exceed your abilities and you're the duffer who won't repeat old ways any which way. But there is hope.

"I think it’s true that with each new book, you make new mistakes... .You start off with different possible tonalities and the...

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One of the Top Ten Best Creative Writing Retreats in the World

Jun 09, 2019

The Telegraph 10th June 2019.

"Marshwood Manor in the Vale of Marshwood, close to Bridport and Dorset’s Jurassic coast, is the venue for a series of writing retreats. A week-long novel-writing course includes an inspirational mix of morning lessons, one-to-one sessions and after-dinner readings, plus plenty of free time for personal reflection and composition. Guests are allocated their own private rooms in shared cottages, situated in the 13 acres of garden and woodland which surround the house. "

The Full English Novel Writing Course from £975 for seven nights half-board. Feb 2-9 2020. The Novelry (thenovelry.com)

 

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Music and Writing

Jun 09, 2019
 

"It really is a very odd business that all of us, to varying degrees, have music in our heads." Oliver Sacks.

In Musicophilia, Sacks tells some very moving stories about those with terrifyingly profound amnesia, or Alzheimer's disease, for whom music can "restore them to themselves".  He claimed that music may be our best medicine.

I've often wondered about the connection between music and writing. Many of my writers use music, as do I , to enter the right mood for a piece of prose.

Oliver Sacks described as "amusic", those who do not seem to understand or feel music at all in his book Musicophilia. He considered with pity the case of Vladimir Nabokov, who famously said he experienced music merely as "an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"; and he wondered about how little music is mentioned in Henry James's work.

What are the mysterious connections between the two arts?

If there's an order of merit, many writers would accord first place...

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The One Hour A Day Method

Jun 02, 2019
 

You have the time to write your novel.

Get cracking! My writers are currently buzzing, and The Novelry is a hive of activity with writers finishing books they started this year, and we're awash with writers declaring lightbulb moments and having epiphanies for their next novel idea. 

The hours of daylight are still on your side presently and you can cheekily steal one for yourself. Don't waste them. When the kids are on holiday, you may feel you need that one-hour you-time more than ever. Up with a coffee at early light, creating your world, at play before real life kicks in! You're creating something that will last, and speak for you and your lifetime in one hour a day. Whatever stage you're at - whether you've got no idea for your novel or you've got a first draft sitting in a drawer - you'll have a manuscript in your hands by September. What a harvest!

Our one hour a day method for writing the first draft of your novel is not a gimmick or a sop to busy people...

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