The Novel Writing Blog.

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You will find advice here to help you on your writing journey. Use the search bar to find some of the insights and shortcuts we use to fast track our writers. 

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On The Shortlist!

Jul 31, 2019

We are delighted to announce that one of our members, who wrote her novel with The Ninety Day Novel course, is on the shortlist of five novels for The Bath Novel Award 2019.

There were 1341 entries to this prestigious literary award for the best novel and we are all slightly giddy at The Novelry with excitement for our friend. It is so well-deserved!

Read on...

Five Steps to Creating a Successful Story.

Jul 28, 2019

Here's how to create a story:

1. Know it

An experience or circumstances of which you have direct knowledge as a participant or an outsider looking in

2. See it

Translate it - to a different time or place or different gender main character - to create arms-length distance to get a more 'divine' perspective on the matter

3. Apply Pity 

Feel for the flaw or failing of the hero taking this journey and appreciate their charisma (magic or personal charm which will prove an amulet to protect them and deliver them to a safe place to find themselves 'beloved' on this earth)

flaw + charisma

4. Own it

Take your most loved book of all time, consider why you love it. If it's a genre - a period of history, or speculative treatment sci-fi or fantasy - or a human psycho-drama or thriller - now's the time to own up to it. What is it about it? A mood? A place? A mode of discourse? A kind of human intimacy? A sense that anything is possible or that everything is impossible. Humour?...

Read on...

A List of the UK's Best Literary Festivals.

Jul 21, 2019

Kiss your darlings!

Grab your tote bag, and fill it with books then head off in pursuit of your literary dreamboats to salute them and get the book signed. One of our members gives us an account of her own adventures in stalking an author this week.

Here's a brief account of some of the festivals available to book-loving novelists.

The Bath Festival (May)

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival (May)

Hay Festival (Last week in May)

Winchester Writers' Festival (June)

Wealden Literary Festival (June)

Stoke Newington Literary Festival (June)

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival (July)

Port Eliot Festival (End July)

Edinburgh International Book Festival (Third week in August)

Noirwich - the Perfect Crime Writing Festival (September)

Bloody Scotland - Crime Writing Festival (September)

The Brooklyn Book Festival (September)

Cheltenham Literature Festival (October)

London Literature Festival (October)

Bridport Literary Festival (November)

(Join our...

Read on...

How to End a Book - Famous Last Sentences.

Jul 14, 2019

It's hard to know for sure when you've reached the end of a novel, insofar as you can take it, by which I mean you're sending it to your agent.

You're battle weary. You can't see the wood for the trees. It's the forty-fifth draft. 

The story makes sense. But your worry may now be that the story makes too much sense at the expense of mystery. So you'll want to go back to a few key moments to make them accurate and translucent - shimmering -  to create more space for the reader. 

I like to perform these last checks while reading Raymond Carver on loop during the last week or so before I hit send.

He was the master when it came to making space for the reader.

"I forget who passed along a copy of Babel’s Collected Stories to me, but I do remember coming across a line from one of his greatest stories. I copied it into the little notebook I carried around with me everywhere in those days. The narrator, speaking about Maupassant and the...

Read on...

How to Write a Fantasy Novel.

Jul 07, 2019

A Member's Story.

Adam Langley spent his youth reading books such as the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate and wondering why so many people wanted to go to Hogwarts when they had the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters as an option. Adam has been published on several websites including SyFyWire and Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men.

He has attempted to write a fantasy novel five times. Then he found The Novelry and his fantasy became a reality. He took The Classic Course, one of our novel writing courses, and wrote his novel using The Ninety Day Novel course.

The Blue Disks of Michaelmas is his first finished novel. It's 89,950 words long.

Here's Adam on the reality of writing his fantasy novel with a day job.


I think all writers, especially writers of science fiction and fantasy, like to plan. We like our extended universes. We like giving our characters more room to move and grow and do stuff that is interesting. The problem arises when we spend more time...

Read on...

What Are The Ingredients For A Successful Disaster Story?

Jun 30, 2019
 

If a novel is one person's moral journey towards acceptance of their place in the universe, then the plot is contrived to give them a gift or gifts to help them on their way to which he or she is particularly ill-suited.

Nail those  - the human flaw and the perfectly unsuitable circumstances  - and you've got the essential irony that powers a novel.

A disaster story brings these into sharp dramatic relief. As one of my writers pointed out this week, the hero of the Jaws movie is afraid of water.

But there's more -  it's not the flaw that's so important in the grand scheme of a disaster story, so much as the hero or heroine's gift.

The narrative path as outlined in The Five F's of story at The Novelry, finds its immaculately opposite form in a disaster story. The negative image. Perhaps that's not surprising, for is a novel is propelled by what the main character wants, in a disaster story it's all about what they don't want to happen.

The starting...

Read on...

The Worldwide Writing Group.

Jun 23, 2019

Welcome to the world's online writing group for serious novelists. From Alaska to Adelaide! We've got each other's back. Live 24/7 support. Join us when you sign up for any of our wonderful novel writing courses. We're the finishing school for aspiring fiction authors.

Read on...

The Bath Novel Award Longlist.

Jun 21, 2019

The Novelry is delighted to announce that one of our beloved writers in on the longlist for this year's Bath Novel Award.

There's a whole lot of whooping going on for this much-loved writer who wrote her wonderful very moving novel with us!

Read on...

How to Overcome Doubt and Writer's Block.

Jun 16, 2019
 

Every novel presents such new challenges, it seems one has never written a novel before. An irksome and bewildering amnesia. Yet again,  your judgement and taste exceed your abilities and you're the duffer who won't repeat old ways any which way. But there is hope.

"I think it’s true that with each new book, you make new mistakes... .You start off with different possible tonalities and the right one only gradually comes into play.... As you get older, you understand time, you understand fictional time better, how to move in time, how to move through time in fiction.... Updike, in his later work, he got very good, and canny and clever about time. So we do learn some new tricks." Julian Barnes.

So, it may take longer, this new novel of yours, than the last. Let it.

I write, probably like you do, because life is a lonely path, but paradoxically we are all differently and diversely the same. Our most common, most tragic flaw as a species is perhaps...

Read on...

In the Top Ten Best Creative Writing Retreats in the World.

Jun 09, 2019

The Telegraph 10th June 2019.

"Marshwood Manor in the Vale of Marshwood, close to Bridport and Dorset’s Jurassic coast, is the venue for a series of writing retreats. A week-long novel-writing course includes an inspirational mix of morning lessons, one-to-one sessions and after-dinner readings, plus plenty of free time for personal reflection and composition. Guests are allocated their own private rooms in shared cottages, situated in the 13 acres of garden and woodland which surround the house. "

The Full English Novel Writing Course from £975 for seven nights half-board. The Novelry.

 

Read on...
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The Novelry.