08 December 2015

Top writing tips from authors Kate Hamer and Antonia Honeywell

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by Leonora Craig Cohen From Our Students, Writing Tips

As part of Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh’s recent #DiscoveryDay Online – a Twitter based event for new writers – we ran a ‘novel-writing advice’ session. Two of our published former students Antonia Honeywell and Kate Hamer (authors of The Ship and The Girl in the Red Coat respectively), plus our Director Anna Davis, used the hashtag #CBCTips to tweet some invaluable advice for writers. We’ve collected their top Twitter tips here:

Kate Hamer  @kate_hamer

I’m of the ‘Show not Tell’ school – READ as much as you can.

The stuff that you write that makes you go ‘uh oh, this is a bit unusual/strange/where did that come from?’ Go with that.

If you are flagging you always have the option of making something awful happen to your character.

I know it sounds simple but don’t stay at the computer if it’s really not happening. Walking is great for shaking out problems.

Don’t panic with your manuscript. The answer will reveal itself!

Keeping faith is important. Not always easy, but important.

Antonia Honeywell  @antonia_writes

You need to actually write the idea out to find out whether it’s any good, however wonderful it sounds in your head.

To beat procrastination, glue self to desk with a promise you can stop after 20 mins. When the time is up, you won’t be able to.

Instead of giving up on your novel, drop a bomb into it. Remove bomb and see what you’ve learned about your story.

I read aloud – really helps establish the rhythm and readability of the prose.

If you need the support of others to write (childcare. whatever) give them a share of the dream – don’t apologise for dreaming.

It’s fine to have publication as a goal, but your writing is the only way to reach it – don’t let the goal distract you.

Write your synopsis as though you’re recommending a book you’ve loved to a friend you think should read it – forget you wrote it.

Your pre-pub writing life sets the pattern for your post-pub writing life. So enjoy it, even when it’s hard.

Keep writing is the only writing tip that really, really matters…

As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our three- and six-month novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.

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