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22 July 2019

Lucy Morris: ‘Learn everything about your main character’

by Curtis Brown 120 Curtis Brown 120, From the Agents, Writing Tips

As part of our 120th birthday celebrations, Curtis Brown – in partnership with Curtis Brown Creative – have launched the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize! Our mission is to find the exciting new voices of the future. To enter all you need is a 10,000 word novel opening and a one-page synopsis (find out more here). The deadline for entering the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize is August 1st …

Tracy Chevalier, bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and A Single Thread, will chair the judging panel formed of Curtis Brown agents and the Curtis Brown Creative team. 

To help you prepare your submission every Monday across the last 5 weeks a member of the Curtis Brown 120 Team has shared their 3 top tips for writers thinking of entering the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize. With 10 days to go until the prize entry deadline we’ve reached our final 3 tips …

Last week Catherine Cho talked about the importance of starting your novel in the right place. Now it is time for Lucy Morris to give her advice. Lucy joined Curtis Brown in late 2014 as assistant to Karolina Sutton, now she is building her own fiction and non-fiction list …

1. Don’t get hung up on trends! Write what you can’t possibly not write, and that passion, urgency and fire will leap off the page.

2. You’ll have heard this already within our series of tips, but I don’t think it can be said enough: don’t forget to give your submission a thorough once-over before pressing submit. Look out for typos and repetitions. Read the dialogue out loud – does it sound like real people talking, shouting, arguing, flirting? Does that beautifully crafted, singularly beloved sentence really fit? Or, if you’re really honest, is it weighing down the narrative?

3. Learn everything about your main character/s. You don’t need to put it all on the page by any means, but knowing them intimately means you’ll have a depth of understanding as to how they’d react, what they’d say and do in the situations you create for them. What’s their favourite colour? Worst habit? Go-to hangover cure? Do they take sugar in their tea, do they put the milk in before the bag? Or would they always opt for a coffee? If they see a dog on their commute, do they stop to say hello?

Find everything you need to know about the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize here

Meet the Curtis Brown 120 Team

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