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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

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

Writing Tips

Shaping the flow of writing

Genre: All

This is very odd, but when it comes to non-fiction I like drawing little pictures of the inner dynamic or flow of my books. These pictures only become clear once I’m a little way into the writing, but they help terrifically in finishing off, and also in ...

David Bodanis

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

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

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