Category Archives: Advice for Writers

FIVE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN WRITING AND FALLING DOWN 47 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS

Having just completed a 71,000-word manuscript, I can attest to the accuracy of Similarity 5. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/five-similarities-between-writing-and-falling-down-47-flights-of-stairs

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How does one find agents to query?

Another question I’ve been asked is: how does one find agents to query?  After all, there are thousands of agents out there and nobody can or should query them all!  Somehow one has to be selective in a more than … Continue reading

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Getting a literary agent: spreadsheets may help!

A fellow author has asked me how to get an agent.  The answer is: I wish I knew!  At the moment I don’t have an agent, though it is not from want of trying.  Each time I complete a manuscript I … Continue reading

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A maxim on writing, for what it’s worth

‘If you’re bored writing it, it’s likely the reader will be bored reading it!’ – David Anderson, author of Earthly Powers

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A young Claire North (Catherine Webb) on successful writers

‘I think the successful writers (ignoring one or two shockingly painful cases) are the ones who enjoy what they’re doing.  There are all kinds of writers out there who enjoyed it the first time around but quickly began to write … Continue reading

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A writer’s education

Hannah Arendt wrote (in 1954): ‘The problem of education in the modern world lies in the fact that by its very nature it cannot forego either authority or tradition, and yet must proceed in a world that is neither structured … Continue reading

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My favourite opening sentence

A novel’s first sentence should indeed be an opening line, a doorway into the rest of the book.  Ideally it should be such an inviting portal that the reader can barely resist entering, which means it’s a tricky task for … Continue reading

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