Writing only looks easy. But it can be learned.

Some great words of advice here. Never throw away your old stuff. Keep everything. Maybe, in the future, you can go back to it and realise you can use or recycle some of it.

Matthew Wright

Writing isn’t something you can sit down and do without training. It only looks that way.

Spot my title in the middle... Spot my title in the middle…

I’ve noticed, of late, various posts and comments around the blog-o-sphere along the lines of ‘my book is good, because I got positive comments on Good Reads (or Amazon, or Smashwords), so why did an agent say it was terrible?’

Or ‘I got positive comments on Good Reads, but the agent said the book needed this-and-this-and-this…’

Why? There’s no soft way to say this. Fact is that neither writer nor on-line reviewer actually knew what constituted a good book – meaning not just an abstract measure of quality and authorial competence, but what’s required for a specific market.

Agents do. So do commissioning editors.

What’s happened is that the aspiring writer’s sat down and thought ‘I want to be a writer’ – usually, meaning ‘novellist’. They’ve then churned out…

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Branford Boase Award

I have never heard of this award before.

Julia Lee Author

Yay! The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth has wriggled its way onto the long-list for the 2014 Branford Boase Award.

Branford Boase Award logo

This is an award given annually for an outstanding first novel to a first-time writer of a book for young people. It’s unusual in that it also marks the important contribution of the editor in identifying and nurturing new talent.

This means that my lovely editors at OUP, Liz Cross and Helen Bray, get a well-deserved mention. Liz has not one but two books on the list!

The 2014 long-list contains amazing writers and wonderful books – it is very good company to be in and I am so thrilled to have landed there. If you want to find some excellent and very varied reads for children and young people, do take a look at the long-list here.

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10 Great Quotations from Writers about Writing

Some inspirational quotations to keep you going whilst writing.

Interesting Literature

Here are ten of our favourite quotes about writing, from those who should probably know the most about it – writers themselves. Some of them are witty quotes, others profound, some a mixture. We hope you enjoy them.

‘Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.’

– Neil Gaiman

‘God may reduce you on Judgment Day to tears of shame, reciting by heart the poems you would have written, had your life been good.’

– W. H. Auden

‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’

– Thomas Mann

Gaiman1

‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.’

– Cyril Connolly

‘The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is that he’s given the…

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Understanding the ‘Tolkien effect’ – and making it work for you

Matthew Wright

One of the plus sides of a contest like National November Writing Month is the enforced deadline. Writers have to finish to time – which is the nature of writing, once you have a publisher and contract deadlines. Mostly.

1197094932257185876johnny_automatic_books_svg_medThe greatest challenge when writing anything is knowing when it’s over – knowing when to stop working on your project. Some authors don’t, including J R R Tolkien who kept revising his material even after it was published. The quality kept going up with every iteration, with stunning results (I am a HUGE Tolkien fan). We can’t complain about that. But it meant very few of Tolkien’s books and stories were published in his lifetime.

Winston Churchill crashed into the other problem. He was finally persuaded to send his history of the Second World War to his publishers – they were screaming for it – but he pursued the manuscript with…

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