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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

Inside the Shed

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Writing for Children & YA

Sometimes we are really keen to tell our readers everything, to make sure that they understand what it is that we are trying to say. But in this case a useful piece of advice might be: ‘Think really hard about what it is that you are trying to say, then go o...

Steve Voake

Writing Tips

You don’t have to tell young readers as much as you think

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Writing for Children & YA

There is sometimes an assumption that younger readers won’t understand what’s going on unless the plot and the characters’ feelings are explicitly spelled out to them. But children are often more sophisticated readers than adults think they are and, like...

Steve Voake

Writing Exercises

Find your story in a setting

Genre: Fiction

This is a research exercise really – one that will help you find a story out of setting. You need three pieces of blank paper, plus coloured pens if that will help you feel imaginative. You also need to be physically in a setting that you want to explore in ...

Lucy Christopher

Writing Tips

Setting is your friend

Genre: Fiction

When you write, do you start by thinking about the theme you want to explore? Or is it characters who inspire you? Perhaps the plot or storyline is what brings you to start? Do you ever consider beginning with setting … letting a place inspire, and then ...

Lucy Christopher

Writing Exercises

Break your lines

Genre: Poetry

Do read Ann and Peters writing tip first that goes with this exercise: http://www.arvon.org/arvon-friends/writing-tips-exercises/blank-verse/ Have a look at how various writers break their lines and particularly to seek out a piece of blank verse – and t...

Ann and Peter Sansom

Writing Tips

Blank verse

Genre: Poetry

We’re often asked about lineation. How we put the words (or how they put themselves) on the page is after all what separates the prose from the poem. The norm, what we work with or away from, is blank verse. It is largely historical, conventional, and wh...

Ann and Peter Sansom

Writing Exercises

Experimenting with structure

Genre: Poetry

Try experimenting for a week or two, using a structure you’re not used to – perhaps a form, especially a given form, such as the sonnet or villanelle, the triolet or particularly a ballad (you can google these or simply turn to them in that indispe...

Ann and Peter Sansom

Writing Tips

Getting it written, getting it right

Genre: Poetry

We’re fond of quoting Hunter Davies, the great biographer of the Beatles and Alfred Wainwright (and Wayne Rooney), who says ‘Don’t get it right, get it written’. That is key, and anyone will tell you: just do it. But isn’t there a...

Ann and Peter Sansom

Writing Exercises

Drawing your childhood memories

Genre: Fiction, Short Story & Writing for Children & YA

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead if we want to write for young people. The trick is … how to access them. Sometimes a good shortcut is to use a significant object as a prompt. Think about a pair of...

Lucy Christopher

Writing Tips

Creating ‘Child Eye’s View’ when writing for young people

Genre: Fiction, Non-Fiction & Life Writing & Writing for Children & YA

Young people don’t just come under the heading of one audience. There are so many different ages and stages of learning and development (emotional as well as mental) in a young person’s life. To be able to write effectively for young people, we need lots o...

Lucy Christopher

Writing Exercises

Trusting the power of gravity

Genre: Poetry

As a competitive fellrunner (and avid cyclist, mountaineer, swimmer etc. etc. you get the idea) I’m fascinated by the relationship between physical movement and poetry. My next poetry collection with Carcanet includes a lengthy sequence exploring the boundar...

Lucy Burnett

Writing Tips

Don’t write poems – write an artwork, a musical composition, a dance

Genre: Poetry

What if we quit thinking of poetry as a literary form, and instead conceive of it as a broader artistic practice? Or put another way, might we be doing poetry a disservice by grouping it with other literary forms such as the short story, the novel or the scrip...

Lucy Burnett


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