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Arvon Friends

Become an Arvon Friend from £4 per month

•    Gain online access to exclusive Arvon Tutors writing tips and exercises

•    Get Priority Booking on Arvon Courses one month before public release

•    Receive fortnightly emails with the latest writing resources from Arvon Tutors

•    Know that your Friends payment helps bring young people to Arvon

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Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Writing Exercises

Veiling the Narrative

Genre: Poetry

Stories are one of the ways we have to make sense of the world.  I’m interested not just in telling stories with poetry, but also how we tell stories, what happens in the act of telling a story in a poem.  There are many different ways of doing this – us...

Kim Moore

Writing Tips

Read As If Your Life Depended On It

Genre: All

In What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics the great American poet Adrienne Rich says “You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.”  She goes on to say “To read as if your life depended on it would mean to let into your readi...

Kim Moore

Writing Exercises

Exploring different third person points of view

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Theatre & Writing for Children & YA

Write part of a story in the form of a scene from a play, beginning with a description of the setting and then using dialogue and stage directions to show what happens and how the characters feel about it. Make sure you have at least three characters and bring...

Gillian Cross

Writing Tips

Subjective third person narrative

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story & Writing for Children & YA

When I was a child, like most young readers I wanted to identify with the characters in books. I didn’t have the life experience, or the inclination, to keep my distance and think in a detached way about David Balfour, in Kidnapped, or Mary Lennox, in The Se...

Gillian Cross

Writing Exercises

How to plan a chapter

Genre: Fiction

There’s a joke that goes something like this: Q: ‘How do you eat a whale?’ A: ‘One bite at a time.’ Writing, especially something as long and complicated as a novel can often feel like you’ve been presented with an orca on your plate when you only ...

Mike Gayle

Writing Tips

Five tips about planning your novel (and a word of warning)

Genre: Fiction

1. It will help you get started A lot of people cling to the romantic idea of a writer being moved by the creative spirit to produce great pieces of literature and that’s fine if it’s working for you. But if it isn’t then planning is a great way to get y...

Mike Gayle

Writing Exercises

Magic in the Mundane

Genre: Fiction

A comic is a string of sequential panels that are both literary and visual in their storytelling. Striking the balance between what is said with words and shown with pictures is essential to creating an immersive reading experience. Write a short script for a ...

Kristyna Baczynski

Writing Tips

Strongest Foot Forward

Genre: Fiction

Making a comic involves a host of skills. Remember that when we make comics, we are combining words and images to be read simultaneously. So broadly speaking we need to do at least two things; to write and to draw. Words are often the first port of call, becau...

Kristyna Baczynski

Writing Exercises

Finding your Antagonistic Antagonist

Genre: Fiction

Thrillers need to be page-turners with cracking plots, plenty of twists and great characters (particularly in psychological thrillers). They also need to have exceptional antagonists. However, I would argue that every novel needs an antagonist, even if the bad...

Sanjida Kay

Writing Tips

Creating an Antagonistic Antagonist

Genre: Fiction

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s third law of motion could equally apply to fiction as well as physics. Creating a good story requires a protagonist, and for every protagonist, there needs to be an antagonist. A strong anta...

Sanjida Kay

Writing Exercises

Reconsider the mundane

Genre: Poetry

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing, or gardening, or a specific genre of film, or long-distance running, or knitting (to name just a few possible examples). Once you’ve thought of what that ...

Andrew McMillan

Writing Tips

Rupture the mundane

Genre: Poetry

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough; that’s only half the battle. I think one of the main challenges is how we turn that concept into a concrete piece of writing. There’s that famou...

Andrew McMillan


Testimonial Read More

Just to say I've got a huge amount out of the Arvon Friends writing tips sent to me this year - it's been helpful to get new ideas and perspectives from established authors who know what works. I look forward to the emails in my inbox! — Mary Fairman

As a Friend of Arvon and with all my friends from Arvon – I am confident that I will never lose that confidence and motivation to use my voice and achieve that first novel. — Chris Metcalfe, Friend

I became a Friend as I wanted to support the great work Arvon does, having got so much out of my course last year, and also to have the chance to book onto courses earlier. — Mark, Friend

The “Friends” scheme is perfectly-named – it’s how I feel towards Arvon. They’re a friend I’ve turned to at tricky, self-doubting points in my writing life and I know they are there if I need them again for time, space and inspiration. — Julie Mayhew, Friend