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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 Tips

Serious playfulness

Genre: All

Pain, like a tuning fork, sings clearest when held lightly. We all want to write about the significant people/situations/emotions in our lives, and yet we often make the mistake of approaching the significant with significance. We grip the entire tuning fork i...

Caroline Bird

Writing Exercises

Your safety instructions

Genre: All

We’re all familiar with the safety instruction stickers on the side of fire extinguishers, and the haiku-like advice on matchboxes: ‘store in a cool dry place, keep away from children, strike away from body.’ But imagine if you, yourself, came with a lis...

Caroline Bird

Writing Exercises

Flip the Scene

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Film & TV, Theatre

We’ve all got one in our distant past: the great love that got away because we were too tongue-tied, or clumsy or didn’t even cross the room to engage in conversation. Get it out of your system once and for all by writing the might have been. How should yo...

Patrick Gale

Writing Tips

6 Tips on Writing Queer Fiction

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Short Story, Theatre

If you’re describing a same sex relationship or one involving someone who is trans or intersex or in any way non-binary, you will risk confusing your reader if you then pursue a modishly anonymised path. “She couldn’t believe how much she wanted her…...

Patrick Gale

Writing Exercises

Write The Blurb For Your Novel

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

Write the blurb for your novel – the summary that appears on the back jacket of a book -including some notion of who the central characters are and what happens in the story.You could include the date or era, the main location, character names, an indicati...

Jane Harris

Writing Tips

Uncharted Seas

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

Writing a novel is like setting out to sail across a vast, uncharted sea, without any resources such as a map or compass. Some authors are happy to head off blindly into the waves. Others prefer to have the reassurance of a little – or a lot – of planning....

Jane Harris

Writing Exercises

Don’t let them talk you out of it

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Spend a little time identifying who the people are who might tell you not to write your memoir. Once you have identified that person/those people, you need to talk them down. Do this as a ‘free-write.’ A ‘free-write’ is when you just sit down for twent...

Alice Jolly

Writing Tips

Controlling your fear

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Thomas Keneally says that, ‘Writing is an exercise in controlling your fear. Above all the fear that you are not a writer.’ This is another way of saying that we all have to write with an inner critic looking over our shoulder, telling us that what we are ...

Alice Jolly

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