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Best practice writing tips 4
These best practice writing tips are from John le Carré. Well, not exactly from the horse’s mouth but from a massive biography by Adam Sisman called (unsurprisingly) John le Carré – The Biography. John le Carre: examples of his writing practice I’ve been immersed in it for the last couple of days …
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Letting go
Letting go and abandoning a manuscript Last week I wrote about ‘completion fear’ and was then asked if I’d ever thought it worthwhile letting go of a manuscript. The person asking was someone I’ve never met, except virtually. She did one of my short courses some years ago and has been …
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Fear of finishing
Fear of finishing Have you ever worried about finishing your manuscript? a student asked me recently. He should have completed his reworking of a first draft in March 2020 and it was now October. He’d started writing at the beginning of 2019. The intervening months of this year had been spent …
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Writing a memoir
Writing a memoir Writing a memoir, especially when it involves the famous, friends, family or foes, can be tricky. Do you get legal advice before you start? Do you write it all down and worry about the consequences afterwards? How are publishers going to react to a manuscript that could bring …
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Best practice writing tips 3
Writing tips 3: Len Deighton’s Spy Sinker (1990) While reading Len Deighton’s Spy Sinker this week I came across a passage which well illustrates what not to do when writing dialogue. And because dialogue is a vital part of any novel you really do need to get it right. It’s about the …
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Best practice writing tips 2
Writing tips 2 An interview with the literary website LitNet last week, brings me to the second of my writing tips thanks to a reader. I was asked by LitNet’s Naomi Meyer how writing non-fiction stories differed from fiction.  My response was: “With non-fiction, as you know, you are tethered to what …
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Best practice writing tips 1
Writing tips One of the best writing tips I’ve ever been given, and one I’ve lived by, is: if you think you’ve got a story start writing it. And don’t tell everybody about this great idea for a story that you just know is going to be a hit. If you …
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Writing rewards
Rewards often come gradually for writers. It took me a decade and five failures before number six got published. But fortunately, for some, this happens a lot faster. Take Qarnita Loxton. She did one of my online fiction courses in 2015, then joined The Writers’ Masterclass and since then has published …
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When celebrities are fair game
Last week there was a brief spat in the media about the reissue of an updated biography of the Springbok rugby captain, Siya Kolisi. In an Instagram post, Rachel Kolisi (his wife) claimed that publication was a case of ‘white men benefiting off the back of a black man’. She …
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