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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 Tips

Writing in a Spoken Voice

Genre: Fiction

If you find the point of view in your stories tends to wander around the place (sometimes very informal and close to the character, sometimes quite formal and distant) write in a more spoken voice. Choose a voice you can hear in your head, perhaps even one bel...

Toby Litt

Writing Exercises

The Gap Between

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Short Story, Speculative & Theatre

I’d like you to do something very simple. Sit back, close your eyes, and try to remember an entire conversation you’ve heard or been part of in, say, the last year. By this I mean, remember in detail exactly what A said to begin with and exactly what B rep...

Toby Litt

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

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