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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

Freedom in Fabrication

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Film & TV, Poetry, Radio, Science Fiction, Short Story, Speculative, Theatre & Writing for Children & YA

The Japanese writer Tanizaki complained that he could not read his contemporaries. Every time he picked up a novel and read the first page he thought, ‘But this is just about him!’ (It usually was a him). This is an interesting complaint, particula...

Andrew Miller

Writing Exercises

Radical Reinvention

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Film & TV, Poetry, Radio, Science Fiction, Short Story & Theatre

One way to think about writing is as a tool of curiosity. A way of finding out about the world rather than (or as well as) a way of saying what you have found out. You become a traveller, an adventurer, rather than a surveyor of the familiar, the already posse...

Andrew Miller

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

Finish Before The End

Genre: Theatre

I always find that finishing my working day before I’ve ran out of ideas is a great help. Imagine you’re writing your scene/s, you’ve planned and thought what is going to happen, how the scene will start, who will be in it, how it will end, perhaps you...

Ishy Din

Writing Exercises

Bringing Dramatic Action Into A Scene

Genre: Theatre

The purpose of this exercise is to help us bring dramatic action to our scenes. Firstly we should examine what we mean by Dramatic Action? Dramatic Action is the tactics a character is using to achieve his or her goals. There will be the overarching goal of wh...

Ishy Din

Writing Exercises

Flip the Scene

Genre: Comedy, Fiction, Film & TV, Theatre

We’ve all got one in our distant past: the great love that got away because we were too tongue-tied, or clumsy or didn’t even cross the room to engage in conversation. Get it out of your system once and for all by writing the might have been. How should yo...

Patrick Gale

Writing Tips

6 Tips on Writing Queer Fiction

Genre: Fiction, Film & TV, Short Story, Theatre

If you’re describing a same sex relationship or one involving someone who is trans or intersex or in any way non-binary, you will risk confusing your reader if you then pursue a modishly anonymised path. “She couldn’t believe how much she wanted her…...

Patrick Gale

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