Posts Tagged Jane Friedman
Back story is a vital element of novel and memoir, but tricky to use well. I’ve certainly been reminded of this when commenting on manuscripts at Pop-Up Submissions. Writers often make the mistake of including it right at the beginning, bringing the narrative to a standstill.
But once you learn some tricksy, back story is a versatile and exciting element that will add richness, depth and context… and even plot twists, if you play fair.
That’s why I’m teaching this course at Jane Friedman’s online school on Wednesday September 21st, 1-2.15pm ET, 6-7.15pm BST, but if that time doesn’t suit you, a recording will be available.
The course is for writers of any work that contains a story arc. Although the examples are mainly fiction, the principles also hold for memoir, genre and non-genre. Whatever you write, if you want to sharpen and hone your use of back story, this is for you. (Where have you seen Jane Friedman’s name before? She’s a powerhouse in the writing and publishing world. Also, she hosts my ghostwriting course.)
Follow this link to find out more about my back story course and book a place. Hope to see you there!
Although book series have never exactly been out of style, they’ve had a real renaissance in the era of streamed TV. People love epic-length stories with vast worlds and rich characters – and that goes for their reading as much as their watching.
What’s more, a series can be rewarding for writers too – both commercially and artistically.
So if you want to write a series, what do you need to know? How can you devise a concept that’s series worthy? What decisions should you make at the outset and what can you develop as you go? What are the bad reasons to write a series (yes, there are some).
I decided to create this course after I received this email. ‘OMG, I’ve been working on my back story and I realise I’ve got an epic. However will I beat this monster into submission?’
I’ve worked on several fiction series as a ghostwriter and editor. Aha, I thought. That’s something I can help with.
The course will be taught live via Zoom at Jane Friedman’s site on Thursday February 17 at 6pm GMT, but if that time doesn’t suit you a recording will be available.
It’s for novelists for all age groups, adult and child, who are familiar with story concepts such as narrative arcs and structure, whether published or not, whether indie or traditionally published, who are taking their first steps developing a series.
Follow this link to find out more and book a place… hopefully see you there!
The magic happens when you rewrite.
If you’re a regular at this blog or you follow my newsletter, you’ll know I’m a huge believer in creative self-editing.
That’s what I’m teaching at this three-part masterclass at Jane Friedman’s online academy. I’ll be delving into the art of self-editing, showing you techniques to evaluate your work, spot opportunities to deepen characters, sharpen the plot, restructure if necessary, strengthen the themes and refine the language – all to help you take a rough manuscript and polish it to professional standards.
The course starts this Thursday (15 April 2021) and continues on the two Thursdays that follow. If those times aren’t convenient, each session will be available as a recording afterwards. Step this way.
Back story is a vital element of novel and memoir, but tricky to use well. I’ve certainly been reminded of this when commenting on manuscripts at Pop-Up Submissions. On my first time there, several writers made the mistake of including it right at the beginning, bringing the narrative to a standstill.
But once you learn some tricks and become adept with back story, you have a versatile and exciting tool to add richness, depth and context… all the things that back story should do.
That’s why I’m teaching this course at Jane Friedman’s site on Wednesday July 1st, 1-2pm ET, 6-7pm BST, but if that time doesn’t suit you, a recording will be available.
The course is for writers of any work that contains a story arc – fiction and memoir, genre and non-genre. Whatever you write, if you want to sharpen and hone your use of back story, this is for you. (Where have you seen Jane Friedman’s name before? She’s a powerhouse in the writing and publishing world. Also, she hosts my ghostwriting course.)
Follow this link to find out more about my back story course and book a place…. Hope to see you there!
A lucky turn of the radio dial this week and I got a real treat: the Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine interviewing Brian Eno. The whole piece is worth listening to, but this exchange particularly caught me.
Vine was trying to pin down what made some of Eno’s collaborators so special – David Bowie, David Byrne, Bryan Ferry. He said this: they all had ‘a different quality of imagination’.
And Eno replied: ‘I think everyone has much more imagination than they give themselves credit for. But the difference is that some people take their imaginations seriously.’
Yes. One thousand per cent.
Today, I’d planned another kind of post. Usually my new year kick-off is publishing options for twenty-whatever. I began to write it. I realised as I did that not much had changed. What I’d say for 2017 is much the same as I’d said in 2016. And when I wrote 2016’s post I referred heavily to 2015’s. I’d lined up some good reference posts – Mark Coker of Smashwords, who looked back at 10 years of ebooks and forward to how the publishing ecosystem will continue to evolve. And to Jane Friedman, who give some great pointers for sizing up a publishing offer from a small imprint.
But lordy, it was a slog. I felt like I was rehashing material I’d already tackled exhaustively. Planet Earth did not need another article about how to publish wisely in 2017.
And then, by chance, out of my radio come Messrs Eno and Vine. Take your imagination seriously.
I thought that’s IT. That’s how I want to go into 2017. While we’re figuring out whether to self-publish or look for a deal, or mix a trad indie cocktail never tasted before, we must not lose sight of this.
What we do is about creation. Listening to what interests us, moves us. Growing as artistic, communicative beings, finding things that seem to peel back something we must say about our world and our lives. This is where the joy of our work comes from, where we make our distinctive contribution.
Eno said more:
‘It’s not just having ideas, but being prepared to push them through and try to make them work. Some people get discouraged very easily, but I think successful artists don’t. They get confidence in what they’re doing and they decide “I want to see how it works; I want to see what happens when I do it”.’
At a time when we’re all making resolutions, and resolutions to help us keep our resolutions, and tips for success, I’d like to offer this one. Who’s with me?
In this post at Jane Friedman’s blog, I outline the mindset and skills needed, some of the challenges you might encounter …. and most of all, why ghost-writing is an attractive option.