The Novelry Blog

Where the writers are.

How to Write a Bestseller and Make Tons of Money. May 02, 2021

How to write a bestselling book and make tons of money by Meg Rosoff, who once wrote a book that sold a couple of million copies and made her tons of money, but has been unable to repeat that trick since, damn it. 

  1. Always start your blogs with a list. Everyone loves a list.
  2. Know your craft. If you can’t write to save your life, it’s just plain logical to choose another career. Unless you’re Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer, E.L. James or any of the other richer than Croesus so-called writers whose ability to put together a coherent sentence is dubious at best. AT BEST.
  3. Any book that takes ten years to write is probably a disaster. Personally, I tend to believe this and suggest to people that if they’ve been suffering over a book for way too long that they ditch it and start again. JRR Tolkien would disagree (Lord of the Rings, 17 years). As would JD Salinger, Donna Tartt, Margaret Mitchell and Ezra Pound, who reputedly spent fifty-seven years writing The...
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Writing Historical Fiction. Apr 25, 2021
 
'The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.'
L.P. Hartley


From the Desk of our Tutor Kate Riordan. 

I always think it’s strange when people say ‘Oh, I don’t read historical fiction’ with a look of mild distaste.

That look generally means one of two things: that a story set in the past will be irrelevant and impossible to relate to, or that reading it will feel less like entertainment and more like school.

But how can history be irrelevant when it’s made us what and who we are today? To dismiss historical fiction is to dismiss the human experience. As for the entertainment factor, think of Bridgerton, adapted for Netflix from the books by Julia Quinn. 82 million households streamed the series in its first month. Sexy and frothy and fun, it’s about as far from dry and dusty as you can get. It wasn’t just the bodice-ripping people seemed to enjoy either. Its evocation of a society that put a...

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Managing Evil in Fiction Apr 18, 2021

From the Desk of Polly Ho-Yen.

How do we ‘manage’ evil in the stories we are telling?

Writing for children means I often write with children. When I’m running writing workshops in schools, I have the pleasure of hearing the hugely inventive story ideas stewing in children’s heads, first hand. They’ll tell me their premise – a group of chickens take over the world, a scientist creates a formula that turns people into robots, a banana goes on a rampage - and I’ll ask why? Why do the chickens take over, why does the professor do this, why does a banana decide one day, enough is enough...? The typical response I’ll get, with an 'isn’t it obvious' shrug, is: ‘Because they’re evil.’

We feed children tales of good versus evil from an early age, through fairy tales and superhero stories. ‘The Baddie’ has become shorthand for evil, and children are incredibly familiar with the concept and more than...

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Veronica Henry on Trusting the Process. Apr 11, 2021

Veronica Henry is the bestselling author of romance novels and a journalist whose first novel was published in 2002. Her novel 'A Night on the Orient Express' won The Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2014. Her new novel 'A Wedding at the Beach Hut' is published in May 2021. Members of The Novelry can look forward to an uplifting Live Session with Veronica on 10th May and hear more about what she's learned about the process after writing 22 novels! (Writers of The Novelry – look out for her 'hero book' in this piece - psst, by the primroses...)


From the Desk of Veronica Henry. 

Just before Easter I pressed send on my 22nd novel. That’s roughly 2 million words I have sent out into the world over the past twenty years. I guess I must have learned something about novel writing in that time, yet I feel as if I know nothing. Because here’s the thing – it doesn’t get any easier. (Sorry!) And nor should it. It’s not supposed to be easy.

...

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Sarah Winman on Still Life. Apr 04, 2021

Sarah Winman is the bestselling, prize-winning author of When God Was a Rabbit,  A Year of Marvellous Ways and Tin Man. Her new novel Still Life is published in June 2021. Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood... and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

Sarah will be our guest for a live session for members Monday 6pm BST, 26th April. Come and meet her then!


From the Desk of Sarah Winman.

I’ve just finished my book Still Life.

The editing, the copy- edit, the three rounds of proofreading, and the recording of the audiobook. All done now. It’s out of my hands.

And for the first time I can feel the letting go; that weave of mixed emotion that shifts into the void. What I’m mostly left with, however, is the marvellous adventure of it all. One that started in 2015, when I was having a late lunch in a Florentine restaurant.

I was alone, left amongst the detritus of other...

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