The Novelry Blog

Where the writers are.

 
How Do You Stop Overwriting? Mar 24, 2019

The ailment of overwriting afflicts most first drafts. It is the writer's common cold. If you have been multiply rejected by literary agents, I can almost guarantee you suffer from this illness. Your writing obscured the story. You have probably sent out your work too soon. 

You must treat your manuscript for this sickness before you share the novel with anyone. The advice which follows is to be taken lightly by those writing a first draft. You've got to get the material down by any means necessary and forgive it on first draft. But those on second draft and beyond should seize this advice firmly.

What do I mean by overwriting?

If you're writing a rollicking good yarn, a plot-driven story, then you won't want overwriting to detract from 'what next'. A chapter advances the character's problem inexorably.

Overwriting is a handbrake turn, or a slow tedious slide back down the hill. The reader-passenger is slamming their foot on their imaginary gas pedal,...

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Three Wise Drafts. Mar 17, 2019

In the Beginning.

Once upon a time, you told yourself you couldn't write a novel. "I’m too old, too young, too stupid, too clever, too reclusive, too sociable, too lazy, too busy... I’m nervous.”

That's the first thing a writer says to me when they take the plunge and commit to writing a novel. But a whole raft of other unkind self-doubts above lurk right behind that word 'nervous'. 

When you open the door and come into The Novelry, it's all rather jolly, warm, unpretentious and friendly and so very do-able. The work you have to do is bite-sized daily. 

 Welcome home.

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." (Emma Lazarus.)

The recipe for confidence at The Novelry is fast-acting. We salute you from the moment you arrive. You are welcomed with warmth by our members, because they know full well it's a big step, and that you're nervous on arrival, but we all know you've come home too. 

...

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The Firestarter 2019 Mar 10, 2019

Thank you all for taking part.

With the sad news of the death of the original Firestarter himself, it is to Keith Flint we dedicate these offerings.

We have had a bumper crop of first chapter entries to this year’s competition, a great turnout at the polling station, and here are some sneak previews of the range of writing currently on fire at The Novelry.

A hapless estate agent is unwittingly touched by the beauty of nature in the first chapter of Alex Ireson’s ripe and robust comedic novel 'Above & Beyond.'  'And then the magic happens. The orange light of the dying sun hits the cottage.’ One misadventure leads to another in this rollicking darkly comedic tale.

A big-hearted period novel from Romla Ryan, in which loyal Lyle provides support to 'The Antics of Atticus Ashworth' for a fast-paced, ribald romp. Atticus Ashworth loves women and his gentle appreciation brings warmth to the first chapter which opens on  dying embers from...

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Writers' Apprenticeships. Mar 03, 2019

Writing with the Old Masters.

Plumbers take apprenticeships. So why do writers imagine they can learn their craft without taking one? That's effectively what we offer writers when you join The Novelry, a working, practical apprenticeship to your mentor author. You learn on the job.

Serious writers study the works of the great fiction writers, the way painters copy the old masters.  Part of our method at The Novelry is to encourage working novelists to read and re-read a 'hero book' during the course of writing their first draft. First for the story, then for the technique and to abide with this one book during the writing of a first draft as a training frame. The act of faith, abiding with it, is good discipline in itself for sticking with the novel, but when you read a masterful novel, it reveals itself to you in layers which you will only perceive after many readings. 

This week's blog post comes from our member, Viv Rich, who inspired by our recent writer's...

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Writing from the South - Alabama and That Southern Style Feb 24, 2019

Member's Stories 

This week's Member's Story comes from Walter Smith from Alabama.

'Props' to him - a new word he has taught me. See story for details...

There is a silver bowl in a box around here somewhere that I received in eighth grade for winning a fiction award. I keep it in case I become strapped for funds and need to melt it, though I suspect it may be silver-plated, not sterling. The award bore the name of a writer named Conrad Richter, and the presenters were thoughtful enough to include a copy of one of his books inscribed by his daughter offering best wishes and prosperity, the usual pap. To be truthful, I thought little of the book. It involved American Indians and frontiersmen as I recall, something they erroneously thought might intrigue a pubescent male. Sort of Hawthorne-lite, but lacking wonderful names like Natty Bumppo and the imprimatur of countless freshman English syllabi.

One story published in a regional magazine. It told the inspirational tale of my...

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