Category Archives: How to write a book

How to write a non-fiction synopsis

A guest blog from Sam Jordison. Sam has been earning a living as a writer since the year 2000. He is the author of five books (including the best-selling Crap Towns and Sod That!: 103 Things Not To Do Before … Continue reading

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Getting feedback on your writing: the joys and the sorrows

Hot on the heels of the previous post, I wanted to talk about something that gets too little attention: the emotional side of getting feedback on your writing. To start with, an admission. When we run events like Saturday’s Getting … Continue reading

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Miracle-grow: what feedback on your writing can do for you.

I’ve just about recovered from the Getting Published conference we held on Saturday – as ever, an amazingly intense, crowded, and inspiring experience. We found some writers who may be ready to present to agents (hooray!) and we’re starting to … Continue reading

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The Advance Information Sheet

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Following a Whiskean query to my post on The Elevator Pitch, I thought I would let you know what an AI sheet looks like. It has to contain all these good things. And it looks like this: (image from Penguin … Continue reading

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Dealing with writer’s block

Guest author and blogger Jane Struthers is the author of over twenty non-fiction books on a range of subjects, including Red Sky at Night: The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom and Beside the Seaside: A Celebration of the Place We … Continue reading

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Fixing your plot problems

** Guest Blog**  Gary Gibson is the author of six science fiction novels for Pan Macmillan, the latest of which, Final Days, was published in August. The sequel, The Thousand Emperors, will be published in 2012. He lives in Glasgow, … Continue reading

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Writing for Children

Nothing, but nothing, is more delightful than writing for children. And if you’ve started, as most such writers do, by writing for your own children, then you have delight piled on delight in store. Lucky you. But as soon as … Continue reading

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The elevator pitch for novels

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Writing is a scary old business but of all the scary things about it, perhaps the scariest is getting the concept right. I mean, you will spend hours, days, years writing the book itself. Getting the characters right. Tweaking your … Continue reading

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Writing Women’s Fiction

When new writers don’t get taken on by literary agents, they often complain, “So-and-so never even read the whole thing.” Whenever we hear that, we know that person hasn’t understood some basic truths about the whole literary business. Of course … Continue reading

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Does it ever make sense to employ a ghostwriter?

Over the years, the Writers’ Workshop has handled a fair few ghostwriting projects. The best of these have been massively successful. We have: helped an internationally bestselling thriller writer refine and perfect his latest work; written a non-fiction proposal for … Continue reading

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Ideas for stories (and how to have them)

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We once got a strange email from someone saying that he wanted to write a book. He was sure he was a good writer, though he hadn’t actually written anything and didn’t actually have an idea for a story. On … Continue reading

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MA Degrees in Creative Writing: waste of time or wonderful opportunity?

I recently posted a set of concerns about MA creative writing courses . In particular, I argued that they had far too little connection with the publishing market as it is today. Since writing that I’ve taken a look at … Continue reading

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University courses in creative writing

University courses in creative writing have become ever more common, in both the US and the UK. But are they worth it? Personally, I’m sceptical. I think most people who do such courses are let down by them. I think … Continue reading

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Tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers

This post is sweet and simple. Here are my top ten tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers that will please the reader and make publishers start groping for their chequebooks. Know the market. Read very widely. As many authors … Continue reading

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Editing your book

As a rough guide, once you reach the final fullstop of your manuscript, you’ve reached – at the very best – your halfway point. I’d say that by now (I’m on my seventh novel and fourth non-fiction book), my time … Continue reading

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