With book sales reportedly on the up, (+17% last week) and possibly more time on your hands this is the time to be writing your first, second or third novel.
At The Novelry we are offering support to those self-isolating with discounts on our flagship courses. If you have a novel-in-waiting, this is your moment.
For authors whose 'other' livelihoods have been affected by the current Coronavirus crisis there is a special contingency fund available via The Society of Authors.
For authors who have published a novel, it's probably time to get back on the horse. We're here to help.
We have all heard of the 'enfant terrible' of the second novel.
The much-feared 'Second Novel Syndrome' bodes not so much a happy ending as a marked drop in sales leading down the garden path to the midden of the mid-career sag. (See this blog for details.) One is supposed to anticipate much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the author's kitchen as indifferent, scant reviews...
We have had some trailblazing first chapter entries to this year’s competition. Thanks to all of you who entered and those who voted.
The month of February is set aside annually to focus on feedback with The Firestarter and our writers have been sharing their work with each other at our online workshop and benefitting from the constructive critique and fond feedback that makes The Novelry such a special place.
The Firestarter is the most unusual of competitions for writers. One in which, genuinely, every entrant gains thanks to the feedback from wise reader-writers worldwide. What's more, it's the only truly democratically-awarded writing prize. All members get one vote, and they vote for the work they rate most highly.
It's interesting to see the votes come in and cluster around frontrunners early proving that, regardless of your taste in reading and genre-preference, there is such a thing as 'good writing' which...
The University of East Anglia UEA and The Novelry are delighted to announce The Novelry MA Creative Writing Scholarship worth £16,500 to cover fees and living expenses for a writer resident in the UK to enjoy a whole year writing their novel.
We want to offer 'a year of one's own' to a writer who otherwise might never find the time, space, and support, to get to work on their novel.
Our scholar will have the support of the UEA Faculty of Creative Writing in East Anglia and The Novelry including mentoring throughout the year from prize-winning author Louise Dean and post-MA support to finish the novel to publishing standard and secure literary agent representation.
This is one of the most meaningful scholarships, bursaries or grants for a writer in the UK. The scholarship will be awarded to the candidate who demonstrates and shows the potential for creative excellence in long-form fiction. It is available to UK...
Genre is important. Start here, if you will. As I mentioned in our blog 'Get Published', and as we cover in our online creative writing courses, its the first thing an agent assesses on your submissions letter as they start to consider whether to read on and which editor to call for lunch. They'll be looking to check you've used the right ingredients for the genre.
Genres can be individually defined by the particular nature of the key driving force behind your story.
Each genre has its own secret agent of story, and that's how genres can be defined. Make sure you've got the right secret one in the driving seat of your moving vehicle! shall we peel back the disguise? It might be that the commonly held 'drivers' of genre are in fact wearing a mask. (My writers know how much I like a paradox for all its springy and deceitful energy, and you'll find some below.)
Let's take a look behind the scenes of genre by examining the range via the hero books we recommend to our novelists...
Convert that commute to a crammer session with inspiring content from fine minds in literature and publishing. You'll find here the best podcasts for writers according to the novelists of The Novelry.
These podcasts with writers and editors will prove consoling and cheering, and see you through not just the first draft, but the long haul. Ten great podcasts to keep writers smiling.
How To Get Podcasts.
All podcasts are free, and most are available via many different apps.
On a website:
You can do this from a computer or from the web browser on your phone.
On your iPhone or iPad.
If you have an iPhone you can use the Apple podcasts app to listen to podcasts.
Last week, on our intensive writers' residential course, we heard from bestselling authors Sophie Hannah and Louise Doughty and from literary agent Tim Bates at Peters, Fraser + Dunlop.
The three agreed on one thing. Since 2000 the market for fiction has changed dramatically, and these three long-haul survivors have learnt one lesson very well. The rise and rise of psychological fiction, and the thriller form, has changed the way we want to read books now. The rise of this fast-moving genre coincides with the Age of Impatience and the new media of Netflix & Co. 'What's going to happen, next?' We expect twists and pace.
The thrills and spills of mainstream fiction via this dark, internalized cloak and dagger genre and it's partners in crime and mystery, has snuffed the life out of the Literary Fiction genre, irreparably it seems. if you want Literary Fiction, see Trollope. Tim Bates made the comment that literary fiction can only make it if there's a...
How to get your entire novel manuscript that final professional polish submission?
It's a two-stage process.
First, DIY. You grow as an author by being able to edit your own novel through numerous passes, and our Editing courses will help you eliminate a few drafts. We'll show you how to do it, giving you a method to last you a lifetime. (Our 'reversible' course is quite a cool way to plan a novel too!)
Second, Professional Help. When you've done multiple successive drafts and cracked story and character development to the satisfaction of any reader, you'll want to dot some i's and cross some t's and you may wisely feel you need another pair of eyes on your full manuscript and some final proofreading beyond the tools we recommend at The Novelry, you'll need some human help which can take into account your creative treatment's quirks and ploys.
You need to be very hard on your work, and push it through as many drafts as required. As...
As we enter the exciting season of our annual Firestarter Competition at The Novelry for the best opening to a novel in progress, it's worth thinking what entering competitions can do for you and your career as an author.
Some points of view from our writers.
By Louise Tucker, member of The Novelry.
This time last year I started entering my unpublished novel into writing competitions. I had drafted and redrafted it, had good feedback from agents but no takers, and wasn’t quite sure whether to give it up and start something else. Then someone at The Novelry shared a link about the Stockholm Writers’ Festival First Pages Prize and, thinking I had nothing to lose but money, I entered.
The same week another friend at The Novelry put up a reminder about the Lucy Cavendish Prize and I decided to enter that too. What harm? I thought, as I pressed the...
In the first blog of the series, we took a look at why you should start your novel writing plan with your title rather than pick and mix as you go or pin a tail on the donkey at the end. In the second blog we saw the dominant form for the novel title prior to the Twentieth Century was the eponym - or the name of the main character of the story. In the third blog of this series, we saw how the dominant form for the novel title in the Twentieth Century became the Reference; poetic or biblical. In the fourth blog, we saw the emergence of low-brow references and the rise and rise of the Supermodel Solo title at the end of the century.
Welcome to the 21st Century, which we might describe as the Age of Obscurantism, with strained efforts on the part of authors to reach for titles which challenge the reader.
References become more scientific, technical, ever-so academic, arcane, abstruse and sometimes unwelcoming of the less advanced reader...
In the first blog of the series, we saw the dominant form for the novel title prior to the Twentieth Century was the eponym - or the name of the main character of the story. In the last blog this series, we saw how the dominant form for the novel title in the Twentieth Century became the Reference; poetic or biblical. Perhaps they've given you inspiration for writing your own novel title as a statement of your literary purpose to guide writing our novel from the start?
Now we are going to look at the rise of other forms, one a cunningly disguised variant of the Reference, and the other the late Twentieth Century 'supermodel' of titles.
Here's a recap on how the widely acclaimed best novels of the Twentieth Century are titled - in clusters.
The Subversive Reference.
Robert Penn Warren's novel All the King's Men was published in 1946, and as we saw in the last blog, the title is derived from a low-brow source - Humpty Dumpty.