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How Do I Bring My Novel To Life?

Shut your eyes; think back to your childhood. Can you remember the house of a friend or a relative that had a different smell from your house? Let your mind wander over it; let the place come to you. When you are ready, write down as much as you can remember of the different smells, […]

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‘When using description, pick out specific, interesting details’

Revealing character through description The most obvious way to reveal characters is by describing what they look like: handsome or plain, wrinkled or smooth face, color of hair, height, slim or average or fat, what kind of clothing they wear, and so forth. Beginning writers overuse this technique, and often blurt out everything the first […]

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‘There’s the story and there’s how you tell the story’

Developing your style There’s the story and there’s how you tell the story. The latter is your style. Some writers forget that the purpose of style is to enhance the experience for the reader, not to call attention to the cleverness of the author. While style should be a by-product of what you want to […]

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‘Showing happens now, before our eyes, in real time’

  What telling is good for: taking less time than showing filling in detail quickly giving background information about a character or situation moving through time – you can cross time and place in an instant linking scenes that show.   What showing is good for: revealing characters and the interplay between characters creating empathy, […]

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‘A carefully placed adjective can make all the difference’

For me a sense of place is hugely important and is the thing that lets me get lost in a book. My imagination needs smells and colours and sounds to add texture and depth to events being described. The question is, how is this achieved? It needs to be done with subtlety. There is no […]

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‘Read widely and without prejudice and have fun with it’

How do you develop your writing style? There’s no short cut, I’m afraid. A writer’s style develops through two (lifelong!) habits: reading and writing. The more you read, the more scope you see for experimenting, and therefore finding the best voice with which to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be prescribed ‘literature’, either; […]

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‘Fiction writing contains the potential for limitless detail’

You could spend your entire career as a writer describing the mug of coffee that (I imagine) sits on your desk as you write. You could begin with a description of its size and shape, its scent and taste, its changing temperature. You could move on to a history of the mug: this one in […]

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‘Train yourself to become more observant on a day-to-day basis’

How can a writer improve their descriptive writing? Don’t be boring. When I’m writing descriptive scenes, I try reminding myself of this, over and over. Don’t be boring. Keep it short, keep it relevant and don’t be boring. Include details that are pertinent to the plot, the mood, a character’s thoughts, or to the atmosphere, […]

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‘It’s all about what you do with the small moments’

There’s a trick to bringing your writing to life, to making it leap off the page, and lodge itself in your reader’s imagination and memory, and it’s all about what you do with the small moments, with the telling details. Description will always play a crucial role in fiction, but there is a sparseness about […]

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Read the Record Breaker

The Specsavers County Championship got underway again in some typical English summer weather. For those who like a long, lazy spell of leisurely festival cricket, Essex’s trip to Scarborough didn’t provide quite what you might have wanted – except for the away fans who were able to celebrate victory inside two days. Yorkshire’s batting – […]

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Second Test v South Africa 2017

After England’s strong performance in the first Test at Lord’s, there was no surprise they kept the same side for Trent Bridge. However, South Africa made three changes. Skipper Faf du Plessis was available again and came in for J-P Duminy; Kagiso Rabada was banned for a match and his place went to Duanne Olivier, […]

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Hales Storms Durham to Defeat

Tuesday provided two thrillers in the NatWest t20 Blast. At Northampton, Warwickshire won by 2 runs as the hosts narrowly failed to chase down 172 for nine, while at Southampton, Hampshire were five short of Kent’s total of 159 for six. Shahid Afridi took four for 26, but strangely wasn’t used in the run chase, […]

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