The Novelry Blog

Where the writers are.

How to Grip Your Readers Sep 19, 2021

From the Desk of our Author Tutor Jack Jordan.

I can still vividly remember the day a single book changed my life.

I was shut away in the family living room, aged twelve, ripping through the pages of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses with such vigour that I’m surprised I didn’t tear them from the binding. I should have seen the impending tragedy coming, what with it being a modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but every book I had read before had tied up the endings so neatly and conveniently that I expected the story to swivel at the last minute, and end in the only way I knew: tied up in a perfect bow, with the villain getting their just deserts, and the protagonist getting their Happy Ever After. But the ending Blackman delivered changed my view of storytelling forever. I stared, slack-jawed, as I re-read the last page, with my heart racing and my young mind reeling with emotions and questions. Blackman doesn’t tie up the end of ...

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Fair Play in Fiction. Sep 12, 2021

From the desk of Tash Barsby.

I’m a month into my new role at The Novelry, and what a whirlwind it has been. I’ve been lucky enough to talk with some fantastic writers and read some incredibly promising work, which is what I have always loved the most about my job – that close relationship between author and editor is truly such a special one, and having the chance to help shape ideas and drafts when they are so fresh is unbelievably exciting. But something I’m also really keen to bring to the writers at The Novelry is the opportunity to demystify the publishing process – particularly the parts that may be less obvious or that wouldn’t even have crossed your mind to consider (because they certainly hadn’t to me until I started working in the industry!)

So, in this, my first blog for The Novelry, I'm going to tackle the harder questions which often concern writers the most – what's fair in fiction?

There’s a disclaimer on the...

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Phoebe Morgan Sep 05, 2021

From the Desk of Phoebe Morgan. 

As I write this, I’m surrounded by boxes of books. I have FAR too many books – they are not easy to move, they are cumbersome to carry, they split the cardboard at the seams and they conjure up a wince on the face of my partner as he carries them diligently into our new house. But they are the most precious thing to me in the world, and as I sit and write, I can almost feel them scattered around me, alive and kicking, nestling into their new home.

Where would we be without stories? I have often asked myself this, and perhaps never more so than in times of distress. Visiting my grandmother in hospital this week, I brought her a notepad and pen so that she could attempt to make sense of the changing ward around her. Her eyesight is no longer very good so the writing was hard to make out, but that didn’t matter – what mattered was that she was able to escape into her imagination, as so many of us have done during this long,...

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What Do Editors Really Do? Aug 29, 2021

From the Desk of Lily Lindon, Editor at The Novelry.

When I tell someone I’m a book editor, I can sometimes see their imagination bubble pop up: me, sitting alone in a dusty reading nook, wearing thick spectacles and a black polo neck, using angry, blood-red ink to scratch out split infinitives and misplaced semicolons. 

Unfortunately, this is not quite true – not least because I don’t wear glasses.

Writers (understandably) spend a lot of time worrying about whether an editor will publish their book – but they don’t always know what that will entail at the other end. Like many creative industries, publishing can be impenetrable and opaque from the outside (and often from the inside, to be honest). I hope that giving you more information about what editors do will enlighten and empower you in the process of getting your book published – as well as humanise us editors a bit!

So what does an editor do?

One of the most common things for editors...

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Louise Hare Aug 22, 2021

From the Desk of Louise Hare.

Last week I did my first in-person event of the year. It was a low-key affair, part of the brilliant Essex Book Festival, held at Grays Library. As is usual, towards the end of the event there were audience questions. There was one that resonated with me more than any other. A question that I’ve been asked before, and that I think is an interesting one to answer:

Will you always want to write Black characters?

The simple answer is yes. Why wouldn’t I? After all, would a white writer ever be asked why they always wrote white characters? Unlikely. The reason for that is we are conditioned to expect white characters as default. If you pick up a book and begin to read about a middle-class woman, married with two children, working as a solicitor, how do you first picture her before you’ve been given any details about what she looks like? When I’ve been along to book clubs this year it’s often come up: I wasn’t sure at...

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