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Don’t let them talk you out of it

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 twenty minutes or so and write whatever you want, without stopping, without too much thought, or any judgement. The only way you can fail at a ‘free-write’ is to not put anything down on the paper.

So think of that critic, think what exactly they are saying to you and sit down and ‘free-write’ a response to them. Imagine it is late at night and you have had a few drinks. Don’t hold back, don’t be polite, say whatever you want. Don’t start seeing their point of view or apologising to them. If steam starts pumping out of your ears, then that’s fine.

If this exercise works well for you, then find another of your critics and do some more ‘free-writing’ to put those other critics back in their places as well. At the end of this process, you might put much of what you have written in the bin. But this process will help you to take possession of your story – and that is all important.

You also might find that these free-writes help you to find the heart of your story. Why do you have to write this book? Why does your story have to be told? What is the point you want to make? Who needs to listen? These ‘free-writes’ might help you discover some answers to these questions.

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Controlling your fear

Thomas Keneally says that, ‘Writing is an exercise in controlling your fear. Above all the fear that you…

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Find your story in a setting

This is a research exercise really – one that will help you find a story out of setting….

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Drawing your childhood memories

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead…

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Creating ‘Child Eye’s View’ when writing for young people

Young people don’t just come under the heading of one audience. There are so many different ages and…

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Mark’s top 3 tips – Critical, forensic and persistent

Watch exclusive this exclusive video from author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark…

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Planning a film script

‘To make a great movie, you need just three things: a great script, a great script, and a…

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Finding and Keeping the Language of Nature

Your exercise is to take a natural history field-guide and locate a poem within it. Write it out…

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Restricted diction

You can learn a great deal about how language works, and about the sort of poetry you want…

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Research and screen outline exercises

PART ONE: Documentary or Research Exercise for Screenwriters Using a still camera and or a tape recorder (or…

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