filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

I was teaching a group of writing students recently and, as I was talking, I realised how much of the content I cover comes not just from my experience of writing books, but also from my experience of reading books. Since I’ve been writing, I can never mindlessly enjoy a book; I’m always looking at how it works and why it works. I might not always do this at the time of reading, I might reflect on it later, but it’s definitely a big part of my reading process. With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you 7…

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filed under Australian Women Writers Challenge, Book Chat Video Book Club, Book Reviews.

This month I laughed a lot and I thought a lot as I made my way through my reading pile for Book Chat. I read Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect, which I liked even more than his hugely successful book, The Rosie Project; I reviewed this for Book Chat a few months ago. You can find out why I loved The Rosie Effect in the video below. Margaret Atwood has turned her genius to the complications of ageing, of being near the end of a long life with no real future to look forward to and with only a past to look…

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filed under Writing Tools.

Can you believe we’re halfway through November?! Where did 2014 go? Christmas is just about to drape its tinsel all over us so, with that in mind, here are some great ideas for Christmas gifts for writers – all of these things are on my list for Santa! 1. LiveScribe Notebook by Moleskine I love to write parts of my first drafts by hand, with a pen, in a notebook. There is something about changing from the screen to pen and paper that shifts the gears of my mind and makes the words flow. But it always seems inefficient to…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

Last week I began a 2 part series about how to write the beginning of a novel by blogging about 10 things you should do. This week, it’s 10 things you shouldn’t do. 1. Backstory Backstory is information about your character’s background, the background to the events of the story or the background to the key relationships in the story. It doesn’t belong in the first three chapters of your novel. We want to get to know your character the way we get to know a person in real life. We don’t know everything about a person when we first strike up a…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

It might make some people flinch to think this but: the first 3 chapters of your book are a sales document. Most agents and publishers only ask to see the first 3 chapters of your book when you submit. Based on those first 3 chapters, agents will decide to take you on or to pass you over and publishers will decide to accept or reject your book. So it makes sense that you should spend more time on the first three chapters of your book than on any other part. To help with that, here are 10 tips about how to…

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filed under Writing and Motherhood, Writing Tips.

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on, read and shared the first post in my series about balancing writing and motherhood, which was an interview with the fabulous Kate Forsyth. I was thrilled with the love everyone gave that post. My next writing mum is Allison Tait, a freelance writer, blogger and author with more than 20 years’ experience. You might remember her hugely successful blog, Life in a Pink Fibro. Allison now blogs here, she’s still a prolific freelance writer and she’s just released the first book in her children’s trilogy, The Mapmaker Chronicles. Welcome Allison! As I did last time,…

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filed under How To Write A Book, Writing Tips.

I was having a conversation on Twitter a couple of weeks ago about writing sex scenes in fiction and was virtually dared to write a blog about it. I love a challenge, so here goes. DISCLAIMER: I am writing a blog post about writing sex scenes in novels. Therefore, I will be using the word “sex” frequently. If you’re likely to be offended by this, please stop reading now. Please don’t read all the way to the end and then leave me a comment about how degenerate I am. Sex happens in books. It’s good to know how to write about it well.…

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filed under Scrivener, Writing Tips.

I thought I’d start a new series where I post some Scrivener Quick Tips every 6 weeks. These posts will show you how to use one small but very handy feature of Scrivener. Today’s Scrivener Quick Tips are about using the Name Generator to come up with great names for your characters. I love the Name Generator because sometimes I find character names difficult. I scan my bookshelves, I scroll through all the names in my mind, but nothing seems quite right. With the name generator, I can quickly produce a list of names that I would never have thought…

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filed under Book Chat Video Book Club, Book Reviews.

It’s been a month of historical fiction—I’ve been lost in the worlds of Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, Kim Kelly’s The Blue Mile and, because I spent a couple of days in bed with a lurgy, I squeezed in an extra book, Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman. One of these books was not at all what I was expecting but, regardless, I loved it. Another made me wonder how much responsibility the author has, when writing a novel about a real person, to stick to the known facts. Inventing plausible stories in the spaces between the…

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filed under ebooks/apps, How To Get Published.

I’m the first to admit I know very little about self-publishing. But I’m fascinated by the potential, by the stories of success, by the stories of failure. What’s real? What’s the truth? How easy is it, really? Enter Annabel Smith. Annabel has published 2 books the traditional way, and her new book, The Ark, is self-published. What better way to compare self-publishing versus traditional publishing than by speaking to someone who’s done it all. Over to Annabel, who’s written this great overview of the pros and cons of both avenues. Introducing Annabel Smith The advent of self-publishing on a mass scale…

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