A Compendium of Writing Tips

Twelve months of writing advice from the award-winning Man Booker author Louise Dean and her creative writing course at Kritikme.com.

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Creating Wonderment in Fiction

The masterpiece classic - goes beyond good craft, good writing, good art. Its content goes beyond the matters of love, live and death. It shows us the face of God, you might say. It takes us into the realm of the ineffable and the divine, you might say. But if you are resistant to these concepts beyond the three dimensions of material, let’s just say there’s more to life and death than life and death and the great works help us burst through the doors of comprehension.

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The 3 Features of a Bestseller

A look at the difference between the novels I've long admired and fiction's bestsellers of the last hundred years to understand what makes one book sell millions, and another thousands.

Not all of these three features need to be present in the one story, but of course 'layering' them up in the winter of our publishing discontent, might be smart.

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Use Short Sentences

If we offer visual images in short sentences, we can create an effect on our readers that is an assault on their senses.

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Start writing your novel today.

 Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today! If I sound a little 1940's, well I am thinking that today's novelist needs to be like the wartime housewife.

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Choosing the tense and point of view for your novel

Ford Madox Ford writes as 'I' with what turns out to be knowing 'melancholy' about an event in the recent past, and the self-pity is pure cyanide.... it could not have been written in present tense, because he is an unreliable narrator.

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Writing the first line of your novel

Relax. Take the pressure off yourself as a writer, and relax the reader too. Invite'em in. Go on. Make them at home. Give them the easy chair, the one with the stained cushion and the crumbs in the corner.

Why don't you kick off that novel by kicking back?

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How to create real people not 'characters'

What does this person in my story want?

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Ten Top Tips

1. At the core of every good concept is a paradox. (Find it, and you've got a story.)

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Who the hell can write a novel in 90 days?

Faulkner, Dickens, Heller, Muriel Spark, Stephen King. They wrote their novels in less than 90 days.

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