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Characters are everything in your story

One of my favourite all-time literary characters is Robin Hobb’s Fool, from her Tawny Man series (and the Farseer books, and he also makes an appearance in Liveship Traders). And yet, I nearly didn’t read the first book. I had not read the Farseer (Assassin) books at the time. I got Fool’s Errand out of…

How do you find new authors?

Earlier this year Howard V. Hendrix, the then vice president of SFWA, created quite a storm when he wrote that he was … opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. Howard Hendrix, posted on Will Shetterley’s Live Journal, 12 April 2007 Now I’m…

Ethical thievery for your novel

Warning: Minor spoiler alerts for Renegade’s Magic. I just finished reading Renegade’s Magic, Robin Hobb’s third book in the Soldier Son series, I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one sitting. It’s a big book, it took all day and I hardly moved from the couch. I’m stiff now. As I got…

Earlier draft discards can be useful

Some writers are organised. They create an outline and write their novel from that. While the story may deviate a little it is basically in place before they start. Others just start writing, and end up with this big, overblown mess that’s full of holes. They have to chop and tweak and move things around…

Music to write your novel by

Music is important to me when I write. It helps set the mood for the story and makes it easier to start writing. It’s part of the routine of writing. I find I write better when I have music to listen to. It has to be a particular type of music though, and the music…

Creating worlds for your novel

Some writers create elaborate worlds before they start writing their fantasy or science fiction novel. These writers create maps. They know of every creek and hilltop, the world history back to ten generations, particularly the lineage of their protagonist. Other writers let the world evolve as they write the book. We fall into the second…

Novel progress report

We are now a quarter of the way through the novel, and this weekend finished our first major read-through to ensure we are on track and know where we are going. The changes we are making to this draft are major, more like a second draft that a third, but that’s writing, I suppose. Unpredictable.…

Where has all the good graffiti gone?

It was hand written on one of the Moving Poetry posters on the train. Wedged in between a poem about football parents and another reflecting how their home town had changed since they left it. Ticket inspectors you yearn for my ticket. I yearn for your heart. Anon So perfectly placed in between two other…