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Spring Magazine

craft tips novel writing process Apr 17, 2022
Spring into Your Plot

Happy Easter, writers.

'Tis the season for lighter evenings and warmer months (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, at least!), and we're marking this long holiday weekend with a special edition of our quarterly magazine.

Think of the magazine as an extended blog – a twenty-page special featuring all the best bits we wish we could cram into the usual Sunday blog spot. A four-hour director's cut at the movies. We've got writing advice from the greats, deep-dive craft tips, success stories, and news by the bucketload.

Dive into the magazine HERE.

We've been so pleased to welcome so many new members to The Novelry this year from all over the world and we've seen writers get off to a cracking start with their novels. We're delighted for our writers, too, who have now secured wonderful literary agents.

If you're not a member of The Novelry, but are perhaps looking for a writing course or pondering joining us, consider this an exclusive peek behind the curtain to see what's been going on so far in 2022. We're so much more than a writing course: we offer one-to-one author coaching and a warm-hearted writers' group. We're the online writing school founded by Booker-listed, award-winning author Louise Dean, who brought together a team of bestselling and award-winning authors and professional publishing editors to guide you through our 3-step program to become an author.

There's plenty to get your writing juices flowing in this issue:


Supercharge your novel draft

We've rounded up the superb writing advice we've heard echoing around the hallowed halls of The Novelry so far this year – in our twice-monthly live sessions with bestselling authors and literary agents, they've kindly shared golden nuggets of wisdom with our members that we couldn't help note down for posterity. From the author of (the extraordinary) Ordinary People, The Wonder and 26a, Diana Evans' brilliant analogy for generating material in the first draft, before the more studied process of editing:

It's like wringing out a wet cloth; you're trying to get as much water out of the cloth as possible, in whatever way works. And so you just write and write and write, and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze, and you get all of the material out. And it's in later drafts, when things have been arranged in the right place, that I go back and assess how things work together.
—Diana Evans

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden, who wrote the esteemed Winternight trilogy that begins with The Bear and the Nightingale, had inspirational – and reassuring! – words on process, and the value of permission 'to be bad':

Books are made in the editing not in the writing. Let yourself fail dramatically. I think one of the biggest things that stops people finishing a novel is the fear of it being bad.
—Katherine Arden

The internationally bestselling author of psychological suspense, Claire Douglas, echoed this sentiment with her down-to-earth approach to writing, and the encouragement to keep powering forward with a first draft, emphasising momentum over perfection:

One of my biggest mistakes when I was first writing was that I thought it had to be perfect from the beginning... Just write it, write the whole thing, don't keep going back over it. That was a real stumbling block for me, it took me ages because I was so het up that it wasn't perfect.
—Claire Douglas

Inspire your storytelling

We offer a full calendar of live events to inform and inspire your writing with a range of bestselling authors and literary agent guests – many of whom you'll see in the coming weeks and months writing for us on this very blog! You can expect gems of wisdom from bestselling authors Sophie Kinsella and Tess Gerritsen, literary agents Jemima Forrester and Ed Wilson, and many more besides. 

Is your premise working hard enough? That's the question number one bestselling author Clare Mackintosh asks herself, speaking frankly of discarding a novel she knew wasn't strong enough:

I was halfway through my third novel when I recognised the signs: the pricking across my neck, like someone was standing behind me, peering over my shoulder. The premise wasn’t good enough. Writing can be polished, characters fleshed out, plotting tightened… but the premise? The premise is everything, and mine was weak. I jettisoned six months’ work without wasting another moment.
—Clare Mackintosh

Catch up on our fantastic blog archive here.

And read the Spring issue of our quarterly magazine HERE.


New courses, new editors, new books

Spring is the season of rebirth, after all! You'll find all the details in our magazine, but we're too excited not to give you a cheeky heads up right here about our new course...

The Second Novel Course

Second novel syndrome? No way!

Whether you have written a novel before and been published or not, this course will show you how to write your best story ever. It’s the course that will put your storytelling on steroids. In thirty intense and exciting lessons by video and text, Louise Dean gives old hands fresh thinking to ensure their story’s a pageturner. This is your chance to write your best book yet.

Cut through dithering and doubt to establish a high-stakes story that allows you to have your commercial cake (sales figures) and eat it! (Literary awards listings.) How do you do such a thing? Well, there is one item on the agenda you need to keep top of mind when you're writing: know at all times what the reader is reading to find out. To establish that and to test the merit of absolutely every element of your story you need to have a handle on the theme. In the course, Louise shows how crucial your theme is and how down-to-earth and practical it needs to be, phrased as a simple argument that powers almost every decision you'll need to make during your writing. 

Set up your setting in five sentences! Forget the itemized biography and backstory; what’s the single ruse you need to ensure your main character is three-dimensional? What one quality do you need to give a character to ensure readers are rooting for them? Leave Writing 101 behind and go from stage to page in just 4 weeks.

Coming in May 2022.

Read the Spring magazine here.

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