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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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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Creating A Fiction Classic Jan 21, 2018

'It is wonder that infuses Narnia, the land where trees and animals talk and a mighty lion is always liable to irrupt when least expected.'

Colin Duriez and David Porter 'The Inklings'

The Inklings was a group of literary friends meeting in Oxford from 1933 to 1949 which included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien who wrote the world-famous bestselling classics of literary fantasy. It was their belief that we win truth by metaphor, using highly imaginative models such as their worlds of Narnia and Middle-earth.

The creation of a work of wonder, a classic, is far more important more than a matter of life and death.

Wonder or the feeling of wonderment goes beyond the spectacle, or carnival, the pageant or festival, beyond feasting and fêting, beyond human celebrations and the things we enjoy thanks to the suspension of normal routine.

It goes FAR beyond those. Don’t mistake it for misrule or mayhem. Don’t confuse it with surrealism, romantic love or engrossment.

'I am not...

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Stories are easy. Life's hard. Dec 31, 2017

The God of New Beginnings.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. Janus held the key because he was the gateway to any passage: birth, death, travels, change.

As writers we work between two worlds, with one face set to the actuality, the reality, the individual and particular day to day stuff and the other turned to peer into deeper, darker dreams, the unknown, the common myth, the universal.

We work the Janus method, with a 'back and forth' motion.

‘As I reflect on the process of writing and ask myself how themes enter that process, it seems to me that a certain back-and-forth motion takes place. First you give yourself to (or throw yourself into) the writing, and go where it takes you. Then you step back and ask yourself where you are, whether you...

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Writing a Book for Beginners Dec 17, 2017

Hello. You're Not Dead! But, you feel stale.

You keep tidying stuff, chucking out crap, or wiping down the kitchen counters.

You toss books aside as ‘too easy’ or too hard’.

You turn about your life, like a cat trying to find a way to settle.

You’re sentimental. About old memories, old things. Objects which have no value suddenly seem vital. Images of loneliness or reunion, scenes at the airport move you to tears. You miss people you haven’t thought of in ages. You feel like you learnt a lot last year, but you’re worn out.

Something’s wrong.

You need to shake the snow dome of your life. Hard. Watch where it all settles, and maybe let a snowflake or two land on your tongue. You need to recover the child you once were.

You can keep trudging through the snow that’s gone grey or you can take the sled into the New Year.

You have all you need to be the person you want to be. Apart from a sled.

Here's Your Sled.

Make an idea a...

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