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How to Be a Good Writer.

Aug 11, 2019
 

 

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." John Steinbeck.

Many of my beloved writers at The Novelry suffer from a sickness called overachievement - 'the curse of the capable'.

It's a condition for which there seems to be no cure, and yet perhaps there is.

Both intelligent and intuitive, overachievers find their way to The Novelry because they have a feeling the cure is inside the story. And they're right. 

As we all know, stories have many therapeutic benefits either en masse or taken one at a time. We explore the 'eucatastrophe', the deliverance from evil, described by Tolkien in our creative writing course, the Classic course, and look at the life problems and psychological ills were chronicled in fairy tales. A little bit of 'doctor heal thyself' is prescribed in our story starter course which asks you to dig deep into your experience and first loved stories to find the seed of the story you need to write. 

Overachievers...

Read on...

Lost and Found. A Member's Story.

Aug 04, 2019

This week's blog is courtesy of one of our member's, Kate Tregaskis.

Getting Lost. (A Member's Story.)

I’ve been writing my current novel for approximately three hundred years. Having written and finished one before, inexperience is not the problem. In fact, I have also finished this one, a few times. But it has bounced back from agents with the feedback that: there isn’t enough of a plot; more needs to happen; the book is ‘not enough of a ride.’ 

Trawling the internet earlier this year, I came across The Novelry and more specifically the editing course. It seemed just what I needed. For good measure, I signed up to the community too. Fast forward a few months and I was in full swing, getting up early to write, more focused than I’d been in ages and feeling like I was making steady progress. At last, I could see what I needed to do to corral my 70,000 or so words into something that resembled a story.

And then the shit hit the fan. My...

Read on...

On The Shortlist!

Jul 31, 2019

We are delighted to announce that one of our members, who wrote her novel on one of our novel writing courses, 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, who undertook one of our creative writing courses, 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)

Norwich - 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)

...

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 on our creative writing courses.

Read on...
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The Novelry.