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5 things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel, Five Parks

metro.co.uk – Sunday October 22, 2017

I have written a novel.

Five words that every writer, aspiring or otherwise, longs to pen, or, as is more likely these days, type.

And I am lucky enough to have joined the club.

My first novel, Five Parks, a psychological thriller, was published by Endeavour Press in August.

It’s about a female freelance journalist who is kidnapped after going on five different blind dates with five different men in five different parks in London.

When she wakes up after the fifth date handcuffed in a dark room, she has to figure out – by continuing her dating blog, Five Parks – where she is and who took her.

It’s High Fidelity meets Misery, with a dollop of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory thrown in. And it was a lot of fun to write.

But it was also bloody hard.

Here are five things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel.

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What I Learned From Binge-Writing Nine Bad Novels

vitals.lifehacker.com – Friday October 20, 2017

This year, I will write my tenth terrible novel. I do this every November; it’s part of the NaNoWriMo tradition. I’ve never published these novels, but I grow as a writer and as a human being every time I write one. Let me tell you why it’s worthwhile.

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Philip Pullman: Rules of writing from man behind His Dark Materials

bbc.co.uk – Thursday October 19, 2017

So what are the tricks of the trade that has made Pullman such a success - and the tips he can pass on to budding writers?

He spoke to the BBC about his lucky pen and why he can work to the sound of a pneumatic drill, but never to music.

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5 Tips for Writing Family Into Fiction Without Burning Bridges

signature-reads.com – Wednesday October 18, 2017

Before you read this, I should tell you that as I write this, my first and only novel Seven Days of Us has not yet been published. And so far, my husband and parents are my only family to have read it. So I’m not sure how qualified I am to advise on ‘Writing family into fiction without burning bridges’.

Still, I do know all about not deliberately offending loved ones in print, thanks to a social stereotypes column I wrote in The Sunday Times for two years. Inevitably I drew on real life, nearly every week, and often my sources had to be tactfully hidden. Occasionally I didn’t realize I had borrowed from reality, until just before the deadline. Then I had to send frantic emails to my favorite sub-editor: ‘Please could you change ‘espadrille’ in the second paragraph to ‘moccasin’ – I’m so sorry to ask this but my cousin is a big espadrille-wearer and may be insulted.’ Once I even had to add, truthfully: ‘He is also terminally ill, so I really don’t want to upset him.’ Aaaagh.

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What does it take to write and publish a book? Fire in the belly

huffingtonpost.com – Wednesday October 18, 2017

When I decided to write my book, many years ago, I was committed. I had what I called “Fire in the Belly.” That is what it took for me to stay with it. I had passion and conviction that the story was important. It was history that had never been public. I needed to set the record straight, and I believed in myself that I was the person to write it.

I had a lot of challenges, though:

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Writing for free undermines profession

irishtimes.com – Monday October 16, 2017

I’m a full-time writer and illustrator and was approached recently by an editor working for a reputable company who asked me to contribute a piece for an anthology of contemporary Irish writers. There was to be no fee. The company expected me to to provide the work for free, because of who they were and, presumably, the exposure I’d get for it. It was a commercial business, not a charity, although it said that any profits would go towards supporting emerging writers – as if established writers don’t need “support”.

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John Green's Writing Advice Is The One Thing Every Aspiring Novelist Needs To Read Today

bustle.com – Sunday October 15, 2017

Want to finish the novel you've been working on, but keep getting discouraged and dragged down by insecurities about your talent or ideas? John Green's writing advice will help any aspiring novelist get over the hump and finish their manuscript draft. The Turtles All the Way Down author did a Reddit AMA on Thursday, during an eight-hour bus ride to Charlotte, NC, and gave some pretty great advice to struggling writers while answering a question about what he felt was "the most challenging part of writing a book." If you have a draft or manuscript idea you want to develop, you're going to want to pay attention to what John Green has to say.

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5 things you should expect when writing short stories, according to Eden Robinson

cbc.ca – Friday October 13, 2017

Eden Robinson's latest book, Son of a Trickster, is a finalist for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller PrizeSon of a Trickster is a fantastical coming-of-age story about a teenage burnout visited by strange apparitions, and was recently defended by Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon on Turtle Island Reads. Her first novel, Monkey Beach, was shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2000.

Robinson is serving as a jury member for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prizealongside Heather O'Neill and Kevin Hardcastle. Together, they will determine the winner, who will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their story published on CBC Books, and have the opportunity to attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

For all those already hard at work on a 2018 CBC Short Story Prize submission, Robinson shares five things about expecting the unexpected. 

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Late Essays by JM Coetzee review – dos and don’ts of classic novel writing

theguardian.com – Thursday October 12, 2017

A writer of JM Coetzee’s stature needs no preamble, and Late Essays does not offer one, plunging the reader directly into the literary criticism that the novelist has accumulated over the past 11 years. Some are expanded versions of his articles for the New York Review of Books; others are published introductions to works of great literature, from Daniel Defoe’s Roxana to Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Introductions to classic novels comprise an interesting genre of criticism, with its own formal mechanisms. I don’t mean critical pieces prepared by scholars, but “prestige” essays, written by famous writers with a fondness for the book at hand. Yet is there any form of writing more ripe for reinvention? While they are revealing about the culture in general, such introductions rarely tell us anything worthwhile about the text or the acclaimed author’s work. Coetzee’s essays are different; this book emerges as an engaging series of master classes in novel writing, from which we might distil a selection of dos and don’ts.

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9 Books On Writing That Will Help You Conquer The Toughest Cases Of Writer's Block

bustle.com – Sunday October 1, 2017

Ask any successful author for advice, and they will all tell you the same thing: to be a great writer, you have to be an avid reader. While its important to stack your TBR pile with the world's greatest works of prose and poetry, it's also essential to include books about the craft itself if you want to improve your writing. From style and grammar guidebooks to insightful essays from the world's best writers, these reads will help you work through even the toughest case of writer's block.

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