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Find the shape of your story

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 sketches, until you feel you’ve captured a diagram that represents how it’s put together.

Now do that with another book.

And now shift to trying it for your own work! Sketch until you find a shape that satisfies your story. If your work isn’t finished, sketch what you’ve told, then sketch how you want your work to proceed.

With that as a guide editing will be easy, and eternal glory – or at least a nicely cohesive book – shall be yours.

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Shaping the flow of writing

This is very odd, but when it comes to non-fiction I like drawing little pictures of the inner…

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Read As If Your Life Depended On It

In What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics the great American poet Adrienne Rich says “You…

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Reconsider the mundane

Think of a hobby or passion you have, outside of writing and literature. So perhaps baking, or dancing,…

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Rupture the mundane

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but having the perfect thing to write about isn’t actually enough;…

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How to radically rewrite

Word processing has been a gift to writers. No more typing out pages and pages of manuscript, no…

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Reconsider, rewrite

Take a piece of writing. It might be a poem or short story. It might be a play…

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Inner critic

Identify your loudest criticism of yourself as a writer, and also consider what its opposite could be. Eg:…

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Asking… what if?

The term ‘speculative fiction’ is often used in vague ways – crossing a variety of genres such as…

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The importance of reading

Reading is food for the mind. Eat — read —well, every day. Read a varied diet. Some books…

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Curate your own literary festival

Please read Jay’s exercise in conjunction with her tip (click here): Go on a reading adventure. Remember Picasso’s…

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Stop Writing! – A tip from Arvon Chair, Jeremy Treglown

This tip was written by Arvon’s Chair, Jeremy Treglown. Creativity flourishes on stimulation, exercise, hard work, but it…

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