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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

Read yourself as a stranger

Genre: All

Remember your reading voice, how you sound when you read your own work aloud (assuming that you read aloud as a test of your tone, meter and rhythm)? Well, that is your comfort zone, the place where you create and revise with a degree of tension, agony and exh...

Fred D’Aguiar

Writing Exercises

Do a THAT return

Genre: All

Back in the mists of time, when I was working on my very first novel, I received my very first set of editorial notes. My new editor was generous with her praise and gentle with her suggestions for improvement but there was one thing about which she was unequi...

Chrissie Manby

Writing Tips

Permission not to write

Genre: All

When you’re a writer – particularly when you start to make money from your writing – it can feel as though you should spend every spare moment at your keyboard adding to that word count. Maybe you plan to spend the whole weekend at your desk.  A...

Chrissie Manby

Writing Tips

Live your subject

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Non-fiction writers live their books before they write them. From biography to travel to books about music, art or sheep, for the non-fiction writer the success of the book depends on the research period, which is undertaken as life, rather than work. So, you ...

Horatio Clare

Writing Exercises

Can you show, rather than tell?

Genre: Radio

One of the most popular radio devices is the narrative voice, inside the head. Usually given to the lead character, this technique gives up close and personal information and interpretation of the drama’s events as they unfurl. However, is a narrative voice ...

Polly Thomas

Writing Exercises

Improve your writing through cutting back

Genre: All

If you don’t know how to begin to improve your writing through cutting back, you might like to do the exercise described below. It will give you a start, and soon you will see how you can move onto looking more critically at other aspects of the story. ̵...

Romesh Gunesekera

Writing Tips

The importance of rewriting

Genre: All

For many writers, the pleasure of writing comes in rewriting. It is not everyone’s favourite aspect of writing, but the sooner you learn to enjoy it, the better your writing is likely to become. One of the main techniques is to cut out unnecessary passages a...

Romesh Gunesekera

Writing Exercises

Find the shape of your story

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Pick up one of the books you really like – it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction. Skim through it again, or just refresh yourself by looking at the table of contents or chapter headings (if applicable). Think of the shape and try out various s...

David Bodanis

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