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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

Find the shape of your story

Genre: All

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

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

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