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Arvon Friends

Become an Arvon Friend from £4 per month

•    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

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Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Writing Exercises

Inner critic

Genre: All

Identify your loudest criticism of yourself as a writer, and also consider what its opposite could be. Eg: I have nothing interesting to say. Write about a character who ONLY does interesting and surprising things. Give them startling features, unusual clothes...

Jess Richards

Writing Tips

Asking… what if?

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as fantasy, sci-fi, young adult fiction etc. But to me, the most exciting way of looking at the meaning of this phrase is contained in the word ‘speculative...

Jess Richards

Writing Tips

The importance of reading

Genre: All

Reading is food for the mind. Eat — read —well, every day. Read a varied diet. Some books are for feasting, others for grazing lightly. Respect your hunger, feed yourself, and remember you are what you read. Protect your reading. Give it a special place (a...

Jay Griffiths

Writing Exercises

Curate your own literary festival

Genre: All

Please read Jay’s exercise in conjunction with her tip (click here): Go on a reading adventure. Remember Picasso’s line: ‘I do not seek: I find.’ Find wealth where you did not expect it. Find treasure in a book unknown to you yesterday....

Jay Griffiths

Writing Tips

Stop Writing! – A tip from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

Genre: All

This tip was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. Creativity flourishes on stimulation, exercise, hard work, but it also needs rest. In fact it’s often busiest when we’re bothering least about it. Like a dog let off its lead, imagination tears ...

Writing Exercises

How to stop writing – An exercise from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

Genre: All

This exercise was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. This writing exercise is half an hour, spread over three consecutive days. Read all this just before you start. You’ll probably want to give names to the characters and may change the histori...

Writing Exercises

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

1. Choose a word or short phrase which is the subject of the poem you wish to explore. It could even be the title you have in mind. 2. Write this in the middle of a blank page and brainstorm other words and language that are somehow phonetically related – he...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Tips

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

I’m interested in what happens when we alter or challenge the ‘conventional’ way of writing poetry – by which I mean that the poet writes, either in a notebook or on a computer, thinking of words as they come, recording them and then perhaps changing t...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Tips

Don’t talk down to younger readers

Genre: Fiction, Writing for Children & YA

Don’t think that all children want to hear about is fluffy bunnies, naughty elves and lessons to be learned. Some do, of course, depending on their age, but what matters most is giving them a story they can believe in. And in order to do that, you need to re...

Steve Voake

Writing Exercises

Developing a character

Genre: Fiction, Writing for Children & YA

Imagine that there is a young character in your mind, waiting to step forward and tell you their story. You might have an idea of their age, whether they are male or female, perhaps some sense of what they look like. The following series of questions will help...

Steve Voake

Writing Tips

What is a scene?

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Novelists are always told to show, not tell. They are also told to ‘write in scenes’ which means broadly the same thing. But do memoir writers also need to follow this advice? Yes, absolutely. A memoir will not work well if it only really has one c...

Alice Jolly

Writing Exercises

Developing a scene

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

If you are already writing a memoir, look through the work you have done to date and see where the scenes are. Pick out one of these scenes – or something which is not currently written as a scene but should perhaps be re-written as one. If you are just ...

Alice Jolly


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