The Creative Writing Blog

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Welcome to The Novelry blog. Your first stop for all things to do with novel writing. Peruse the articles to troubleshoot your writing problems and get that novel done! Happy writing!

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Find the Lie, Nail the Story May 13, 2018

'Why haven't you done anything with the book you wrote last year?' My son asked me.

'Because it's not important. I needed to write it but the world doesn't need it.'

'I would read it.'

'You can't because it's not published. I'm not publishing it.'

This is the nub of the matter for a writer; importance.  I know it's hard to confess it. But it's true. It's only a sense of its 'importance' that will drive you all the way to the end to publishing that book. 

I have wrestled with myself to pinpoint the importance of the book I am writing. At first I began wanting it to be adorable, then I knew it had to also be important but I was only half sure why. After all, why should my time on this earth, my experience, my opinions lead me to any discoveries or convictions or ideas of any importance to others?

I had a premise and a plan for the book, and was armed with materials and ideas thanks to the studies of the Classic course which would stand a chance of the work being...

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The Premise of Your Story - The Morality Tale Apr 28, 2018

Any tale of any kind told to humans by humans is and has ever been a morality tale.

'There was a man who... ' This person has a flaw, a failing, either moral (a tendency that will bring them and others misery) or cosmic (a hole in his or her fortune). They can't see it. Well, I can't see mine, but Robbie Burns was right to bemoan the fact that we cannot see ourselves as others see us. It would save us a lot of grief. But a tale is the closest we ever come, like Narcissus, to gazing at our own reflection.

The action of the book sets the flaw straight or shows it in dreadful relief.

At the denouement the protagonist takes one of two paths - he sees it and corrects it or stands corrected, or - and perhaps wonderfully, embraces it. This latter is a very rare outcome (The Godfather is much quoted as one of these, and I do rather like the idea of playing with the usual form.) 

So your hook must posit - a person with flaw, and the outcome is this flaw being corrected. That my...

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Fables Apr 22, 2018

"Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”

“You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

Franz Kafka: “A Little Fable”

Coelho wrote his 45,00 word 'The Alchemist' in two weeks, as it was 'written in his soul.' It is 'a fable about following your dream.'

As those taking the Classic course know, what you write can come true.

In the very first chapters of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' JR Rowling declares that Harry Potter will become famous worldwide.

In a way, a book is a spell. 

So long as you know what it's about, what its promise is, in one sentence,  you can  deliver it...

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Pantser or Plotter? Apr 03, 2018

You can plan all you like, but at some point you've got to write as every Pantser knows.

So you have to know when to stop planning. If you plan too far you lose the will to write and the magic that happens in the writing and the walls of fear start to go up and get higher and higher until even doing the ironing looks good.

Enjoy your background reading until the point it gets quite obscure and you're in danger of being didactic. Cross the knowledge threshold and you're a preacher not a writer. So stay back in the realm of slightly unsatisfied curiosity and don't cross over into the vanity of the realm of being a know-it-all. Writers don't know it all, that's why they write books.

All I know is that when the chocolate stash is gone, it's time to pull back the cuffs and step into the other world of writing where anything can happen. Be careful not to become a would-be writer with years passing away in multi-coloured spreadsheets. The water's bracing and not as cold as you think and...

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The Power of Silence Mar 28, 2018

We write, don't we, in spite of people?

I have thought, when dedicating my novels, as I do at the outset, that they might just as well be devoted to those names not just with love, but also with the words 'I wrote this in spite of you.'

Is that a rotten thing to say? Or is it the truth that as you grow older the hoary old hands of love clutch at you, hang round your neck, and the babes in arms are six foot and still you carry them? Man, beast or child, love is a lot of carrying. And writers would like to be light.

We write to disappear. Bit by bit, over time, or sometimes headlong.

How I long to throw myself off a cliffside into a silent sea. 

Vertigo. What a way to verti-go. 

'Vertigo is a medical condition where a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement.This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically...

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The Purpose of Fairy Tales Mar 25, 2018

 

We are storytelling animals.

The Novelry is home to storytellers. We are the worldwide school for novelists, some published, most aspiring, and we're the number one destination for writers seeking to 'turn pro.'

If only you knew, that it all begins, quite simply with a story idea, and that the story idea might begin with 'once upon a time'. A fairy tale.

In our bestselling course to help you come up with a big, bold story idea -  The Classic course - we take writers back to the first stories they loved, fairy tales, and have them dig there. We show you just how many famous writers of bestsellers did just that. The magical course, most often described by our writers as 'mind-blowing' shows you how to combine your unique interests, passions and love, your own experiences with the bold gambits of the all-time bestsellers for story success.

You see, most writers think that what's required is an original story. Well, yes and no.

What readers want, and what...

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The Magic of Writing Fiction Mar 22, 2018

You've got to love William Blake. 

'A Woman clothed with the sun, & the moon under her feet, and / upon her head a crown of twelve stars; and behold a great red dragon also.'

Blake has taken this from Revelations 12 but I love the way he cuts and splices the phrases and uses them as the springboard for his art which is so often fantastical and revelatory.

I want to something to you about MAGIC. I know for some of you, you're as wary of this as if it's maths. That somehow bad breath and costumes are involved.

When it comes to 'magic', there's a broad church, but what I mean by it in the Classic Course, applies also to those of you on the Ninety Day Novel; transformation.

All great books serve up transformation on a silver plate, nice and succulent. He was a bit of a dullard, now he's pure evil. She was a drip, now she's working for NASA. Transformation is what a novel is all about. It's the moment in which the hero's flaw is seized in the cosmic spinning wheel,...

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The Winner is... Mar 04, 2018

We're on fire.

We are a community of writers dedicated to pushing, cheering, dragging, cajoling, bribing each other over the finishing line of 'The End'.

 The purpose of The Novelry is to make sure that each and every one of our member's manuscripts is 100% safe at submission. This means putting it through its paces and many, many rounds of checks and fine balances most crucially, in the final stages at the Members Lodge. 

Round after round of revision at the Members Lodge - based on the guidance given - means that manuscript will only be rejected because of an agent's personal peccadillo, and not because:

  1. It doesn't make sense
  2. The writing's bad
  3. The story sucks

None of these will apply to one of our manuscripts.

We are men and women who have become comrades in ink. We turn to each other. We salute each other, we cheer, and yes, we do whinge a bit when the mood takes us. We like it that way.

We are about to celebrate the first anniversary of Kritikme and...

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How to Get Started Writing a Children's Book. Feb 25, 2018

 

Conflict is the essential ingredient to a children's story.

Start by locating the source of evil in your world. The real evil in Narnia, Wonderland, and Neverland is time.

Kronos (or Cronus) was the King of the Titans and the god of time for the Greeks, a destructive, all-devouring force. He ruled the cosmos during the Golden Age after castrating and deposing his father, Uranus (Sky). In fear of a prophecy that he would in turn be overthrown by his own son, Kronos swallowed each of his children as they were born. 

Time is the old grandfather clock who gets tick-tocked off in fantasy fiction, particularly children's classics. 

Got five minutes?

 "Well, sir, if things are real, they're there all the time."

"Are they?" said the Professor; and Peter didn't know quite what to say.

"But there was no time," said Susan. "Lucy had no time to have gone anywhere, even if there was such a place. She came running after us the very moment we were out of the room. It was...

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How to Become a Successful Writer Feb 17, 2018

 

Successful writers make time to write.

Are you busy?

As in you have a great deal to do and don't have enough time?

Right-o. Yup. I haven't yet met anyone who isn't, have you? 

You have the same amount of time as everyone on a day to day basis. You have twenty-four hours. You can argue that they are not yours to use as you lie, but that's not entirely true. You can always walk out of your life and it's the fantasy subject of many a good book and the practice of many a holy man or woman too. 

When you say you are busy what you mean is this is not important enough to make it onto the 1... 24 of the hours I have available. So next time he or she doesn't call you because they were busy you will know you did not make it into their top 24 things to do that day or the next.

It would be very cool if you had the guts to say 'this is not important to me' rather than that you are too busy since you and those around set the fruitless expectation that one day you may be less...

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