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•    Gain online access to exclusive Arvon Tutors writing tips and exercises

•    Get Priority Booking on Arvon Courses one month before public release

•    Receive fortnightly emails with the latest writing resources from Arvon Tutors

•    Know that your Friends payment helps bring young people to Arvon

Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Writing Exercises

Exaggerate to accumulate

Genre:

This is an exercise in what the comedian Stewart Lee calls “exaggerating for comic effect.” He was being ironic: we’re not. Just as a caricaturist or an impressionist makes someone funny by overstating the way they look or sound, so comedy-writing brings...

David Quantick

Writing Tips

Drawing out the comedy

Genre: Film & TV

Somebody famously said that writing comedy is harder than writing drama because in comedy you have to do everything a dramatist does – story, character, dialogue – and then make it funny. While this isn’t always true, it’s interesting that many sitcom-...

David Quantick

Writing Tips

Cut the fluff

Genre: Fiction & Short Story

There is, of course, no rule that says you should never write dialogue that looks exactly like real speech. To do so would create a quite particular stylistic effect – possibly a humorous one; possibly, ironically, a showing up of the characters as an artifi...

Ross Raisin

Writing Exercises

The imaginary grunt

Genre: Fiction & Short Story

Listen in to a real conversation that you are not involved in and note just how much extraneous detail there is, how much fluff. Record a minute or two of it (tell the speakers, I should add, that you are doing so, or at least ask them afterwards if they are h...

Ross Raisin

Writing Tips

Mark’s 3 top tips – Critical, forensic and persistent

Genre: Fiction, Writing for Children & YA

Click on the video below to hear Mark’s top three writing tips…...

Mark Haddon

Writing Exercises

How to Play

Genre: Theatre

Take a blank sheet of paper. At the top of it, fill in the blanks of this statement: (Your protagonist) is a (who are they?) living in a (what’s the context?) world, until (what changes?), meaning (s)he finds his/herself (in what situation?) . They must face...

Jessica Swale

Writing Tips

Beat it Out

Genre: Theatre

So you have an idea for a play. You may have some characters. An event, or a theme. But the big question is… what happens?! Unlike a novel, where a reader is happy to spend time getting to know a character through the smallest nuances of their daily routine,...

Jessica Swale

Writing Tips

Planning a film script

Genre: Film & TV

‘To make a great movie, you need just three things: a great script, a great script, and a great script.’ – Alfred Hitchcock Your job as a screenwriter is to elicit an emotional response. The script should seduce the reader (it’s important it is a good...

Tina Gharavi

Writing Exercises

Using an object to tell a story

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

The aim of this exercise is to use the power of objects or images to help to illustrate your narrative, especially when working on historical non-fiction. It is too easy to think that you have to adhere strictly to historical facts, dates and events. However, ...

Julie Summers

Writing Exercises

‘Heart’ words vs ‘Head’ words

Genre: Short Story

As writers in English, we are in a uniquely privileged position, being able to choose between two languages within our own. These are ‘head’ language and ‘heart’ language – the rational, and the instinctive. (See Zoe’s writing tip, Head Language an...

Zoe Gilbert

Writing Tips

Head language and heart language

Genre: Short Story

The short story, in its own kingdom between the novel and poetry, gets the best of both worlds. It can use narrative, plot, characterisation, but it can also use language in ways that are more intense – more poetic – than a full length novel. Elements such...

Zoe Gilbert

Writing Exercises

What’s the worst that could happen?

Genre: Fiction

Fiction is almost always about unexpected consequences. A character wants something, they take actions towards getting that thing, but then something happens and they don’t get the results they expect. They have to deal with the consequences. So writers are ...

Adam Marek



Testimonial Read More

Just to say I've got a huge amount out of the Arvon Friends writing tips sent to me this year - it's been helpful to get new ideas and perspectives from established authors who know what works. I look forward to the emails in my inbox! — Mary Fairman

As a Friend of Arvon and with all my friends from Arvon – I am confident that I will never lose that confidence and motivation to use my voice and achieve that first novel. — Chris Metcalfe, Friend

I became a Friend as I wanted to support the great work Arvon does, having got so much out of my course last year, and also to have the chance to book onto courses earlier. — Mark, Friend

The “Friends” scheme is perfectly-named – it’s how I feel towards Arvon. They’re a friend I’ve turned to at tricky, self-doubting points in my writing life and I know they are there if I need them again for time, space and inspiration. — Julie Mayhew, Friend