Posts Tagged So You Want To Be A Writer

What to call your characters and places – Ep 46 FREE podcast for writers

What’s in a name? Sometimes, a lot of agonising. A lot of mind-changing. A name in a work of fiction is never random. It hits the reader with meaning. Overtones. The sound in the reader’s mind-ear, the shape it makes on a page. Sometimes a name has associations for the writer too, associations that help us envisage the character more vividly and truthfully. Or help us empathise. Or not. Sometimes, a name outstays its welcome and needs to be changed.

That’s what we’re talking about today. My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell.

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

BTW, if you like this subject, you might like this post on naming your characters and settings.

If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, including my own (difficult) third novel, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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How to write the difficult second novel. And why it’s difficult. Ep 45 FREE podcast for writers

The difficult second novel. Why might it be difficult? Does it have to be? Are there ways you could make it, well, easier? Indeed, we contend there are ways in which your second novel will be much easier to write than the first.

We are, of course, Peter Snell, a bookseller, and me!

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, including my own (difficult) third novel, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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I’ve written a book – what now? Ep44 FREE podcast for authors

You spend all that time on the manuscript. Polishing, honing, changing your mind. But eventually, you’re satisfied with it. What then? Send it to a literary agent, a publisher, explore self-publishing? What do all those entail? Is there anything else you should to do ensure your book is really ready?

That’s the topic we’re discussing today. And we have a special guest, David Beecroft, who asks all the things that we might not have thought to raise, because we don’t have the beginner’s eye-view. My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell.

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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Should you let anyone read your book before you’ve finished? Ep43 FREE podcast for writers

Once upon a time, writing was a solitary activity. Just you, your thoughts and your pages. Now, writing can be one of the most sociable things you can do on the internet. You can post chapters on a blog as you finish them, or on a serialisation platform like Wattpad, or in online communities.

Some of us – like me – hate to show anything before it’s had a lot of polishing.

We’re all different, but we all need feedback at some stage. Even the most secretive of writers (me!) occasionally yearn for an encouraging comment, simply for its own sake, to share the thing we’ve been building, to help us keep going, Artistic life is sometimes perverse.

Are there good times to show an unfinished work? Are there times when you should be cautious? Might you live to regret it? What about comments from readers – when might they be useful and when might they steer you wrong?

These are the questions I’m considering in this episode with my co-host, independent bookseller Peter Snell.

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

 

 

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How to write books for children and young adults – Ep42 FREE podcast for authors

Writing for children. It’s harder than you think. It’s simpler than you think. What are the misconceptions? What makes a really great book for children? What are the main age bands and what are the rules for each? What about YA and books for teenagers?

If there’s somebody who can tell you about this, it’s my co-host, independent bookseller Peter Snell.

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

 

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What’s on an author’s bookshelf? Ep 41 FREE podcast for writers

What books does a working author keep to hand? Books for reference. Books for quick answers. Books on craft. Books for inspiration. A simple question, with surprising answers.

My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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How to write a sequel – and when not to. Ep 40 FREE podcast for authors

When we recorded this, sequels were a hot topic in bookworld. Go Set A Watchman, a sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, had just been released. Many people were curious but also dubious. The top FAQ on Google is ‘Is Go Set A Watchman worth reading?’

So when does a book deserve a sequel? When is one book enough? When do you add something worthwhile and when do you outstay your welcome? And actually, if you’re au fait with Ms Lee, you’ll know that the Watchman/Mockingbird situation isn’t as straightforward as book/sequel. Mockingbird was originally created from the back story of Watchman, at a publisher’s suggestion. Complicated. But one book is still derived from the other, so as far as we’re concerned, that counts.

My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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How to write your memoir – Ep39 FREE podcast for writers

Remember me. The haunting refrain of Dido’s Lament begins this episode. Today we’re dsicussing the most personal kind of writing – memoir. Why would you write a memoir? Revenge? Relief? To make a memorial? Or simply to find a use for your diaries? To tell the unseen things nobody ever knew about you? And here’s the next question: who will read it? Also, what should you include and what should you leave out?

My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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Can you hear me calling? Social media sites for authors – Ep 38 FREE podcast for writers

In some ways, this episode might show its age. We recorded it five years ago, with our friend Adam Waters who’s worked for TV, news organisations, social media organisations and various digital setups. We saw a piece he wrote about how authors can effectively use social media… which mentioned platforms and networks we’d never heard of. So we stuffed him in a sack and brought him to our microphone.

We begin with Toyah. Because: hair. Also because she’s singing about putting a call out into the universe, looking for people who can hear. That’s what we’re all doing, and that hasn’t changed. And while some of the networks and platforms Adam mentions might not now be so prominent, others are still viable and vibrant and it’s interesting to hear the different ways they operate. Some are better for text, some for pictures, some for building relationships with select and personalised groups, some are better just for ‘putting yourself out there’, broadcasting to the world. 2020’s versions might have different names, but the way people interact with them won’t have changed.

My co-host is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.


PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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Where should your novel begin? Ep 37 FREE podcast for writers

What should go on your book’s opening pages? Is it true that you should begin with action? Should you introduce the characters first? Explain the world? Perhaps write a prologue? What kind of beginning might inadvertently mislead the reader?

That’s what we’re discussing in today’s episode.

Asking the questions is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Answering them is me!

Stream from the widget below or go to our Mixcloud page and binge the whole lot.

PS If you’d like more concentrated writing advice, try my Nail Your Novel books. If you’re curious about my own creative writing, find novels here and my travel memoir here. If you’d like to support bricks-and-mortar bookstores (US only at present) use Bookshop.org. And if you’re curious about what’s going on at my own writing desk, find my latest newsletter here and subscribe to future updates here.

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