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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

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

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