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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

Inner critic

Genre: All

Identify your loudest criticism of yourself as a writer, and also consider what its opposite could be. Eg: I have nothing interesting to say. Write about a character who ONLY does interesting and surprising things. Give them startling features, unusual clothes...

Jess Richards

Writing Tips

Asking… what if?

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as fantasy, sci-fi, young adult fiction etc. But to me, the most exciting way of looking at the meaning of this phrase is contained in the word ‘speculative...

Jess Richards

Writing Tips

The importance of reading

Genre: All

Reading is food for the mind. Eat — read —well, every day. Read a varied diet. Some books are for feasting, others for grazing lightly. Respect your hunger, feed yourself, and remember you are what you read. Protect your reading. Give it a special place (a...

Jay Griffiths

Writing Exercises

Curate your own literary festival

Genre: All

Please read Jay’s exercise in conjunction with her tip (click here): Go on a reading adventure. Remember Picasso’s line: ‘I do not seek: I find.’ Find wealth where you did not expect it. Find treasure in a book unknown to you yesterday....

Jay Griffiths

Writing Tips

Stop Writing! – A tip from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

Genre: All

This tip was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. Creativity flourishes on stimulation, exercise, hard work, but it also needs rest. In fact it’s often busiest when we’re bothering least about it. Like a dog let off its lead, imagination tears ...

Writing Exercises

How to stop writing – An exercise from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

Genre: All

This exercise was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. This writing exercise is half an hour, spread over three consecutive days. Read all this just before you start. You’ll probably want to give names to the characters and may change the histori...

Writing Exercises

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

1. Choose a word or short phrase which is the subject of the poem you wish to explore. It could even be the title you have in mind. 2. Write this in the middle of a blank page and brainstorm other words and language that are somehow phonetically related – he...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Tips

Word mapping

Genre: Poetry

I’m interested in what happens when we alter or challenge the ‘conventional’ way of writing poetry – by which I mean that the poet writes, either in a notebook or on a computer, thinking of words as they come, recording them and then perhaps changing t...

Hannah Lowe

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