Opinion Posts

08 January 2019

Five steps to banishing ‘writer’s block’

by Lisa O'Donnell Opinion, Writing Tips

If you’re struggling to get your novel out of your head and onto the page, check out these great tips from Commonwealth-Book-prize-winning author Lisa O’Donnell – tutor of our next 6-month online novel-writing course, starting next month …  Writer’s block – I don’t believe in it! I believe writers are afraid to write, and that they have […]

24 August 2018

How to write great dialogue in fiction

by Anna Davis Opinion, Writing Tips

Well-handled dialogue is one of THE essential ingredients of a good novel. And yet it’s something that many writers struggle with and even shy away from. The trick is to make your characters’ speech carry the ring and rhythm of real-life conversations without actually trying to recreate them verbatim, complete with all the er’s, um’s, […]

03 August 2018

Writing female friendships: ‘the best relationships in fiction are hard won’

by Jo Jakeman From Our Students, Guest Blog, Opinion

Jo Jakeman studied on our six-month online novel-writing course in the spring of 2016, taught by CBC veteran Lisa O’Donnell. Her debut novel Stick and Stones was snapped up at auction by Harvill Secker in a high-profile deal, and came out in hardback on July 12th. Sticks and Stones is a thriller centered on three very different women all […]

18 May 2018

Comic Fiction in 2018: Who’s laughing?

by Cathryn Summerhayes From the Agents, Opinion

Who’s laughing? … Apparently not the 2018 judges of The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction, as they have announced that the prize will not be awarded this year. We asked Curtis Brown literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes for her views on what this means for the comic novel – and which books are making her laugh this […]

18 May 2018

The importance of story – have you found yours?

by Lisa O'Donnell Opinion, Writing Tips

Lisa O’Donnell is one of the tight-knit team of tutors on our online creative writing courses, as well as being a Commonwealth-Book-Prize-winning author in her own right. She’s helped many of our students develop their stories – including Jane Harper, whose debut The Dry has, this week, been named Crime Novel of the Year at the British […]

09 May 2018

Researching your historical novel: 6 Key Points

by James Hall From Our Students, Guest Blog, Opinion, Student Successes

James Hall took our London based novel-writing course in 2012, and his debut novel, The Industry of Human Happiness (Lightning Books), is set in the murky backstage world of late-Victorian theatreland. It lovingly depicts the early years of recorded music in turn-of-the-century London. James offers us some insights on how he approached the research for his book, a key question for anyone writing […]

20 April 2018

Why authors should be using social media

by Rae DelBianco Guest Blog, Novels by CBC Alumni, Opinion

Rae DelBianco was a student on our London novel-writing course in 2015 – in fact she came over from the US for six months specifically to study on our course! Her much anticipated debut Rough Animals is out from Arcade publishing on June 5th, and has already been compared to the likes of Cormac McCarthy. Rae grew up in Bucks […]

17 April 2018

How to tackle tough subjects in YA fiction

by Eve Ainsworth Author Interviews, Guest Blog, Opinion, Writing Tips

Eve Ainsworth is the acclaimed author of four YA novels, and is represented by Curtis Brown agent, Stephanie Thwaites. Before she became a published author, Eve worked in a large secondary school supporting pupils with their emotional and behavioural issues. Now she’s taken this interest forward into her fiction, which tackles real-life teen issues. Her latest novel, Tender, explores mental […]

28 March 2018

The difficult second novel

by Annabelle Thorpe Guest Blog, Novels by CBC Alumni, Opinion, Writing Tips

So, the hard part is over, you’ve published your first novel! Well, former CBC student and author Annabelle Thorpe is here to tell us all about the difficulties of writing that second novel from her own experience, and offers some guidance along the way. Considering it’s a known thing, like the Difficult Second Album, you […]

22 March 2018

Does your novel need a prologue?

by Lisa O'Donnell Guest Blog, Opinion, Writing Tips

We asked award-winning novelist and CBC tutor Lisa O’Donnell to tell us what she thinks about that most Marmite of literary devices – the Prologue. Here’s what she had to say – and she didn’t mince her words …  Prologues – I hate them. I’ve read a lot of novels in my life, but out […]

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