The Novelry Blog

Where the writers are.

Managing Evil in Fiction Apr 18, 2021

From the Desk of Polly Ho-Yen.

How do we ‘manage’ evil in the stories we are telling?

Writing for children means I often write with children. When I’m running writing workshops in schools, I have the pleasure of hearing the hugely inventive story ideas stewing in children’s heads, first hand. They’ll tell me their premise – a group of chickens take over the world, a scientist creates a formula that turns people into robots, a banana goes on a rampage - and I’ll ask why? Why do the chickens take over, why does the professor do this, why does a banana decide one day, enough is enough...? The typical response I’ll get, with an 'isn’t it obvious' shrug, is: ‘Because they’re evil.’

We feed children tales of good versus evil from an early age, through fairy tales and superhero stories. ‘The Baddie’ has become shorthand for evil, and children are incredibly familiar with the concept and more than...

Click here to read on...
Veronica Henry on Trusting the Process. Apr 11, 2021

Veronica Henry is the bestselling author of romance novels and a journalist whose first novel was published in 2002. Her novel 'A Night on the Orient Express' won The Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2014. Her new novel 'A Wedding at the Beach Hut' is published in May 2021. Members of The Novelry can look forward to an uplifting Live Session with Veronica on 10th May and hear more about what she's learned about the process after writing 22 novels! (Writers of The Novelry – look out for her 'hero book' in this piece - psst, by the primroses...)

From the Desk of Veronica Henry. 

Just before Easter I pressed send on my 22nd novel. That’s roughly 2 million words I have sent out into the world over the past twenty years. I guess I must have learned something about novel writing in that time, yet I feel as if I know nothing. Because here’s the thing – it doesn’t get any easier. (Sorry!) And nor should it. It’s not supposed to be easy.


Click here to read on...
Sarah Winman on Still Life. Apr 04, 2021

Sarah Winman is the bestselling, prize-winning author of When God Was a Rabbit,  A Year of Marvellous Ways and Tin Man. Her new novel Still Life is published in June 2021. Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood... and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

Sarah will be our guest for a live session for members Monday 6pm BST, 26th April. Come and meet her then!

From the Desk of Sarah Winman.

I’ve just finished my book Still Life.

The editing, the copy- edit, the three rounds of proofreading, and the recording of the audiobook. All done now. It’s out of my hands.

And for the first time I can feel the letting go; that weave of mixed emotion that shifts into the void. What I’m mostly left with, however, is the marvellous adventure of it all. One that started in 2015, when I was having a late lunch in a Florentine restaurant.

I was alone, left amongst the detritus of other...

Click here to read on...
Erin Kelly on the Connection Between Music and Writing. Mar 28, 2021

Erin Kelly is the author of eight novels, the bestselling author of psychological thrillers. Her sixth novel He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller list, and was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick (as was her first novel and her seventh novel!) Her latest novel - Watch Her Fall - will be published April 2021.

Erin is our guest author for a Live Session with our writers at The Novelry on 12th April.

From the Desk of Erin Kelly.

I have always loved my headphones. From the moment I got my first off-brand ‘Walkman’ as a little girl, everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, every stage of my life from schoolgirl to student to young woman, from cassette player with foam headphones to Discman to iPod to smartphone has had a soundtrack only I know about.

Memories are tied to albums: George Michael in Rome on a school trip, Nick Cave in Portugal (irony!), Joanna Newsom on the train to Brighton on the...

Click here to read on...
High-Concept Fiction Mar 21, 2021

From the Desk of our Tutor Katie Khan.

The publishing industry – and Hollywood (especially Hollywood) – has come to idolize high-concept fiction in recent years. A high concept can be summed up in one line, with a clearly communicable premise. This makes it very commercial because a strong hook, ‘elevator pitch', or a one-line premise is invaluable for an agent pitching your novel to a publisher. It’s also invaluable for your publisher’s sales team to pitch your novel to retailers. And it’s invaluable for the press to describe your novel to readers… And for readers to recommend your book to other readers… Have you seen the film about a shark terrorising a small town? Have you read the love story where we meet a couple on the same day each year? What about the book and film where a billionaire brings dinosaurs back from extinction to create an amusement park?

High-concept fiction is all about premise. If you’re writing high...

Click here to read on...
Follow on Instagram

Get on the list!

Get the Sunday paper for writers to your inbox.