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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

Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Writing Exercises

Expressing the inexpressible

Genre: Poetry

This exercise is very simple, but it’s an exercise that touches on both the material and language of poems. 1. Think for five minutes and make notes about an experience or a place or a time or a thought or a feeling or a notion that you feel would be difficu...

Jacob Polley

Writing Tips

Writing the unspoken

Genre: Poetry

quicken: to accelerate; to impart energy or liveliness to; to invigorate; to stimulate; to give life to; to revive; to move faster; become alive or lively; to revive; to be stimulated; (of a pregnant woman) to reach the stage in pregnancy when the movement of ...

Jacob Polley

Writing Exercises

An art collaboration

Genre: Poetry

You don’t have to know an artist to collaborate with them. They don’t even need to be alive. Take your notebook to an art gallery, preferably at a quiet time of day. Wander until a painting/sculpture/installation/photo etc catches your eye. You might like ...

Katrina Naomi

Writing Tips

Drafting and editing poetry

Genre: Poetry

Write poetry by hand. Go on, try it, even if you always write directly on the computer. I find I feel more connected, more able to take risks, more able to make mistakes. When you’ve written your first draft, don’t rush off to something else, sit there for...

Katrina Naomi

Writing Exercises

The sounds of your world

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Radio

Writing audio drama is about identifying significant sound. You need to identify and create the sound world that carries and tells your story as effectively as possible. Do you want to write naturalistic audio drama? A science fiction? A period piece? Once you...

Polly Thomas

Writing Tips

It is all about the sound

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Radio

Radio drama is all about the sound. Think sound before you think dialogue – the two are not the same. What does this drama need to play out in sound? What can sound do with this material that no other medium can offer? And what are my tools to build a sound ...

Polly Thomas

Writing Exercises

Exaggerate to accumulate

Genre: Comedy, Film & TV, Radio

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: Comedy, Film & TV, Radio

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


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