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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

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

Writing Tips

How to radically rewrite

Genre: All

Word processing has been a gift to writers. No more typing out pages and pages of manuscript, no more Tippex, no more hand-writing until your fingers have grooves. However, the benefits have come at a cost. I think we have become less rigorous in our writing, ...

Nell Leyshon

Writing Exercises

Reconsider, rewrite

Genre: All

Take a piece of writing. It might be a poem or short story. It might be a play or a novel. It doesn’t have to be a whole text. A section will do. Print it out and mark up the changes you think need to be made. Open up your blank document. As you begin, t...

Nell Leyshon

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

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