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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How to Write a Prologue Oct 01, 2021

If you're wondering how to write a prologue for your book, then whether you publish your book with one or not, the one-page attention-grabber is a great way to test your story's success and prepare your plan to rewrite it for a new fresh, bold draft, as the key ingredients will be laid out for readers from the first page.

This post will break up the steps of writing a prologue into five easy steps. Those steps are as follows:

How to Write a Prologue:

    1. What is the question you're asking your readers?
    2. What's at stake?
    3. Who are we?
    4. Where are we?
    5. An ominous or dramatic change

What is the purpose of a prologue?

Prologues are only ever looked down upon where they're throat clearing, or a preamble that does not serve to engage the reader in the story. A good writer never wastes a reader's time. Consider the fact that with the Look Inside feature on Amazon, or whether your reader is passing by the books on a table in a bookshop, they and...

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Tasha Suri – Finding Wonder In Your Writing Sep 26, 2021

From the Desk of Tasha Suri

When I was still very small, every weekend I would grab my bike and meet my friend, and head to the local park. At that age, the park seemed humongous to me: vast, endless fields of green with steep hills that we’d ride up then race down, cycling faster and faster so that we’d hurtle forward at lightspeed. And at the far end of the park, beyond a wall of lacy, drooping willows, stood an emerald bridge. The bridge led, we both agreed, to a road that went to another world. I was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz then, and though the path wasn’t a yellow brick road, I was pretty sure I knew a magical road when I saw one.  

I remember walking along that path once, holding my breath as I did it, the wheels of my bike clicking. I remember the serious, almost ritualistic way we had crossed the bridge, and the hush of the tree-lined path around us. It felt exactly how entering another world should have felt, strange and new and wondrous.

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How to Grip Your Readers Sep 19, 2021

From the Desk of our Author Tutor Jack Jordan.

I can still vividly remember the day a single book changed my life.

I was shut away in the family living room, aged twelve, ripping through the pages of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses with such vigour that I’m surprised I didn’t tear them from the binding. I should have seen the impending tragedy coming, what with it being a modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but every book I had read before had tied up the endings so neatly and conveniently that I expected the story to swivel at the last minute, and end in the only way I knew: tied up in a perfect bow, with the villain getting their just deserts, and the protagonist getting their Happy Ever After. But the ending Blackman delivered changed my view of storytelling forever. I stared, slack-jawed, as I re-read the last page, with my heart racing and my young mind reeling with emotions and questions. Blackman doesn’t tie up the end of ...

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Fair Play in Fiction. Sep 12, 2021

From the desk of Tash Barsby.

I’m a month into my new role at The Novelry, and what a whirlwind it has been. I’ve been lucky enough to talk with some fantastic writers and read some incredibly promising work, which is what I have always loved the most about my job – that close relationship between author and editor is truly such a special one, and having the chance to help shape ideas and drafts when they are so fresh is unbelievably exciting. But something I’m also really keen to bring to the writers at The Novelry is the opportunity to demystify the publishing process – particularly the parts that may be less obvious or that wouldn’t even have crossed your mind to consider (because they certainly hadn’t to me until I started working in the industry!)

So, in this, my first blog for The Novelry, I'm going to tackle the harder questions which often concern writers the most – what's fair in fiction?

There’s a disclaimer on the...

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Phoebe Morgan Sep 05, 2021

From the Desk of Phoebe Morgan. 

As I write this, I’m surrounded by boxes of books. I have FAR too many books – they are not easy to move, they are cumbersome to carry, they split the cardboard at the seams and they conjure up a wince on the face of my partner as he carries them diligently into our new house. But they are the most precious thing to me in the world, and as I sit and write, I can almost feel them scattered around me, alive and kicking, nestling into their new home.

Where would we be without stories? I have often asked myself this, and perhaps never more so than in times of distress. Visiting my grandmother in hospital this week, I brought her a notepad and pen so that she could attempt to make sense of the changing ward around her. Her eyesight is no longer very good so the writing was hard to make out, but that didn’t matter – what mattered was that she was able to escape into her imagination, as so many of us have done during this long,...

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What Do Editors Really Do? Aug 29, 2021

From the Desk of Lily Lindon, Editor at The Novelry.

When I tell someone I’m a book editor, I can sometimes see their imagination bubble pop up: me, sitting alone in a dusty reading nook, wearing thick spectacles and a black polo neck, using angry, blood-red ink to scratch out split infinitives and misplaced semicolons. 

Unfortunately, this is not quite true – not least because I don’t wear glasses.

Writers (understandably) spend a lot of time worrying about whether an editor will publish their book – but they don’t always know what that will entail at the other end. Like many creative industries, publishing can be impenetrable and opaque from the outside (and often from the inside, to be honest). I hope that giving you more information about what editors do will enlighten and empower you in the process of getting your book published – as well as humanise us editors a bit!

So what does an editor do?

One of the most common things for editors...

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Louise Hare Aug 22, 2021

From the Desk of Louise Hare.

Last week I did my first in-person event of the year. It was a low-key affair, part of the brilliant Essex Book Festival, held at Grays Library. As is usual, towards the end of the event there were audience questions. There was one that resonated with me more than any other. A question that I’ve been asked before, and that I think is an interesting one to answer:

Will you always want to write Black characters?

The simple answer is yes. Why wouldn’t I? After all, would a white writer ever be asked why they always wrote white characters? Unlikely. The reason for that is we are conditioned to expect white characters as default. If you pick up a book and begin to read about a middle-class woman, married with two children, working as a solicitor, how do you first picture her before you’ve been given any details about what she looks like? When I’ve been along to book clubs this year it’s often come up: I wasn’t sure at...

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Motivation! Aug 15, 2021

From the Desk of Emylia Hall.

The writer Thomas Mann said, ‘A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’

I love the recognition of process and perfectionism in Mann’s words – not the crippling kind of perfectionism, mind, but the sort that makes us strive to be better. He’s unapologetically playing to the insider – in the style of Louis Armstrong’s line ‘If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know’. Each and every writer at work knows how increasingly difficult it seems to get.

So, what do we do then, when we hit the hard bits? Well, understanding that it’s tough for everyone – whether you’re writing for the first time, or you’re a seasoned novelist – certainly helps. And, so too, does giving thought to the psychology behind some of our personal approaches to the process; while we might not be able to control the publishing destiny...

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Writing a Series Aug 08, 2021

From the Desk of Kate Riordan: 

For some of you, the notion of writing a series is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat (I don’t know if I can finish ONE yet!). For others, especially those writing in certain genres, a series might well be a better bet than a stand-alone. Readers of fantasy, as well as children’s and detective fiction, among others, are totally accustomed to investing their time (and money) in a series. And, as a writer, if you can get them hooked on book one, you’ve got an almost guaranteed sale for book two, and so on. In a career with very little security or certainty, the possibility of signing a three or four book deal is pretty alluring. But before you jump in, there is much to consider.

As I see it, there are roughly two different types of series: the sort of epic story which is so complex and sprawling that it requires telling across multiple volumes (think George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire), and the...

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Meet Our Editorial Director – Lizzy Goudsmit Kay. Aug 01, 2021

You’re likely all familiar with the ‘getting ready the night before’ routine that takes place ahead of a big day. You pack a lunch, and hang your outfit on the back of the bedroom door, and you squeeze your new notebook into a bag (alongside my laptop perhaps, a myriad of coloured pens and - of course - a mask!).

I am doing all of these things right now because tomorrow will be my very first day in a new job. I will become, officially and after weeks of waiting, your Editorial Director at The Novelry. 

I know that you’ve all been here a while, writing brilliant books and sharing your stories, and I hope you won’t mind squidging up and creating a little space on the bench. I know that there will be plenty for me to learn from you over the coming months and years, and I hope that you’ll learn something from me too. 

I have worked - and still work! - as both a writer and an editor, and I hope you won’t mind me taking this...

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