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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

Developing a shooting script for your novel

Genre: Fiction

You have an overall structure for your novel. You have already discovered your characters, key plot points, settings, themes. You have a rough idea of the beginning and end. For some writers that is enough or even more than enough to get going. For many of us ...

Catherine O'Flynn taken by John McQueen Catherine O’Flynn

Writing Tips

Opening out your novel

Genre: Fiction

You have an initial idea for your novel – a scene or a character that won’t go away. You have focused all your attention on developing that one element, but the novel seems to have fizzled out. To get the novel started again, try writing a list of location...

Catherine O'Flynn taken by John McQueen Catherine O’Flynn

Writing Exercises

Make the words work harder

Genre: Fiction

Arm yourself with an action scene. That is, a block of writing that describes something physical going on. It can be anything. A person parking a car. An old lady baking a cake. Scribble down carelessly the A, B, C of what happens so anyone who reads it will g...

Cynan-Jones---CREDIT-Alice-Fiorilli Cynan Jones

Writing Tips

Write about things you don’t care about

Genre: Fiction

Generally, when you sit down to write seriously you sit down to write something you really care about. This is a mistake. Emotional proximity can often make things matter way too much. You’ve thought and thought about your story, inhabited your character...

Cynan-Jones---CREDIT-Alice-Fiorilli Cynan Jones

Writing Exercises

Finding the right line

Genre: Poetry

Write for three minutes without stopping, without thinking – beginning with the words ‘The moment I realised…’. Don’t worry about the form you are writing in, or if some of it is nonsense, but keep going for the full three minutes. Let the no...

John-Greening-(2) John Greening

Writing Tips

Switching to a different line

Genre: Poetry

Unless you are W.B.Yeats, you are unlikely to draft your poems in prose, but it’s quite possible that you have fallen into the habit of drafting them in a certain way. Perhaps you tend to go for short lines or long lines, or automatically avoid lines that en...

John-Greening-(2) John Greening

Writing Exercises

Filling in the gaps

Genre: Fiction

Take three seemingly unrelated events. It’s best to use ones which have emotional reverberations like, say, a young girl lighting a candle in a church, a phone ringing in an empty room and an old man writing a letter. It can be someone crying whilst wash...

Tobias-Jones---course-13-Thriller Tobias Jones

Writing Tips

Mind the gaps

Genre: All

In all forms of writing it’s important never to give the reader four, but to give them two plus two. One should allow gaps for the reader to participate in the creative process, because the reader is so much more sophisticated than we give them credit fo...

Tobias-Jones---course-13-Thriller Tobias Jones

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