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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

Exaggerate to accumulate

Genre:

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: Film & TV

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

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,...

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

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