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Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Find writing tips and exercises from our Arvon tutors here, to develop your craft and inspire your imagination. Each writing tip comes with a related writing exercise, and a new tip and exercise are added every fortnight.

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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...

Jess-Swale-Headshot-2013 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,...

Jess-Swale-Headshot-2013 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 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 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 (1) 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 (1) 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 Adam Marek

Writing Tips

The 5 big mistakes people make when writing short stories

Genre: Fiction

1. They waffle on like they’ve got all the pages in the world The stories that make the best use of the form are economical with language. Short story writing is about putting the maximum amount of story in the reader’s mind with the minimum word count. Do...

adam marek Adam Marek

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