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Writing a bestseller ‘on the verge of a stroke’

spectator.co.uk – Thursday January 14, 2016

Every four seconds, somewhere in the world, a Lee Child book is sold. This phenomenal statistic places Child alongside Stephen King, James Patterson and J.K. Rowling as one of the world’s bestselling novelists. But what makes the Jack Reacher books so successful? This is one of the questions Andy Martin, a lecturer in French and Philosophy at Cambridge, sets out to answer in this intriguing and uniquely unclassifiable book. Reacher Said Nothing, however, isn’t a work of literary criticism or a how-to guide. Martin contacted Child and asked whether he could observe the entire writing process for the 20th Reacher novel, Make Me. Amazingly, Child said yes.

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Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison on writing for teens

thebookseller.com – Wednesday January 6, 2016

Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, authors of Never Evers (Chicken House) discuss writing about sex and love for teens.

Tom Ellen: I think we mainly write about sex and love for teens because we're trying to write funny books, and there's a lot of scope for comedy in both those areas...

Lucy Ivison: Well yes Tom, but actually no Tom. I mean, this is a classic time where I realise that you and me are different people. That is not why I write about sex and love. I am just into sex and love! I live for a good romance. And everyone is interested in what goes on with people in the bedroom. That’s just facts. Awkward, cringeworthy stuff is part of the journey…which I do love too.

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Struggling as an author? Stop writing only what you want to write

theguardian.com – Wednesday January 6, 2016

Earning a living as a writer is as likely as winning the lottery. Instead of writing books and persuading others to buy them, find out what people want to write, then do it for them.

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No taboo should be off limits when writing for teenagers

theguardian.com – Tuesday January 5, 2016

Violence, swearing, sex, drinking, mental illness… teen/YA lit has had it all for over 40 years. Teen author Non Pratt on facing up to whatever readers fear – and exploring uncharted ethical territory

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Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison: how we went from being teenage sweethearts to writing partners

theguardian.com – Monday January 4, 2016

The authors of Lobsters and new middle grade book Never Evers on what it’s like writing together (and how they do it), why year 9 is a crazy time, and where they rank in the ‘cool’ league. Plus, read the first chapter of Never Evers here!

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Why Do We Fixate on Writer's Block?

huffingtonpost.com – Monday January 4, 2016

"Writer's Block is bunk."

That's not exactly what prize-winning author Loren D. Estleman said a few years ago at a Michigan writer's conference, but it's close. And he'd already published over 60 books (which he wrote on a typewriter!).

The problem with even using the term, he said, is that it's a supremely unhelpful way of saying something very basic and ordinary in the life of a writer: you're stuck.

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Why using exciting words can make you a worse writer

chicagotribune.com – Thursday December 31, 2015

 "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."

— Ernest Hemingway

Leilen Shelton, a middle school teacher in Costa Mesa, Calif., might translate that famous dictum from the famously plain-writing Hemingway this way: "All you have to do is write one illuminating, ineluctably verifiable sentence. Author the most perspicacious sentence that you comprehend."

Shelton wrote "Banish Boring Words," a crusade against milquetoast words like "good," "bad," "fun" and "said." Some of her disciples also eschew "go," "run," "happy," "walk" and "see."

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What the tools of the trade tell us: Emma Barnes

thebookseller.com – Wednesday December 30, 2015

I founded a little publisher that I still run, called Snowbooks, in March 2003. And in about April 2003 I realised that there weren’t any decent or affordable tools to run my company properly. So I spent the last decade and a bit learning to write code so I could create my own. Over that time we’ve all witnessed other amazing software come to market. Cloud-based apps and web services help us to do everything nowadays, from ordering the weekly shop to developing complex character arcs.

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Are small independent publishers doing the work for big publishers?

theguardian.com – Tuesday December 22, 2015

Here’s an observation: it sometimes feels as though smaller independents are the research and development departments for the big publishers, where literary fiction is concerned. We find great writers, nurture them, wipe their brows, polish their work and buff it until it shines. Then we send them out, readers love the books and they get shortlisted and win major literary prizes.

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On Star Wars, The Craft of Writing and What Novelists Can Learn From 'The Force Awakens'

huffingtonpost.co.uk – Monday December 21, 2015

I was 4 years old when I saw Star Wars for the first time. It was on a 12-inch cathode-ray television that had 4 buttons, 2 knobs and looked like a giant microwave (not, I'm guessing, what Lucas had in mind) and I got sent to bed during the trash compactor scene. It was 1982. The subsequent 50 or so viewings (making it to the trench run and victory) took place my Grandma's top-loading Betamax.

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