Categories
Craft Publishing

Writing Competitions for 2024

Why enter competitions? 

It helps you get seen and gives you a headstart in building a writing portfolio.

What does it mean to build a writing portfolio? 

You might be familiar with this term if you have queried. Often, a publishing house will ask for an example of your portfolio or a ‘writing CV’. So, if you’re writing your debut novel…how do you build a writing portfolio?

Answer: By writing short stories, articles, and poetry and submitting them to anthologies, reviews, competitions, and opportunities. This shows that you are already putting yourself out there and connecting with a readership. This makes you more marketable!

February 

Writers’ & Artists’ Short Story Competition 2024

Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize

March

The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest – Quarterly deadlines throughout the year

Micropoetry competition 2024: 200 years of creativity 

April

First Pages Prize

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest.

May

The Bath Novel Award 

The Yeovil Literary Prize 

The Bridport Prize 

June

Welsh Poetry Competition 

Short Story Competition – Anthology

July

The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction 

V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

Manchester Fiction Prize

August

The Edinburgh Award for Flash Fiction
 
Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 

September

The Lit Paul Cave Prize for Literature

Mslexia Novel Competition

October

Letter Review Prize for Unpublished Books

The Book Edit Writers’ Prize

November

Kurt Vonnegut Speculative Fiction Prize 

Leiby Chapbook Contest

December

Daisy Pettles Writing Contest for Women 

Reader Views Literary Awards 

 

Do you want to talk about what you can enter or what to write? Get in touch today! 

Categories
Productivity

5 Ways to Make Sure Your 2024 Writing Goals Happen

Happy 2024, writers!

What are your writing goals for this year?

Mine are to revise The Tithes of Spring, complete my latest (and hopefully last) edit of The Dedworth Shame, find a publisher for a project, and write the first draft of my next novel (title TBD!).

Sound like a lot? It does, I know. But I have some tricks up my sleeve. I have clear boundaries with my family and, most importantly, myself. I have, once again, invested in a writing coach to help me along the way and hold me accountable. I have broken down my tasks into achievable, daily, and weekly goals. Do you want to do the same?

Here are my tips:

1: Create boundaries. With your family, make it clear how important this is to you, create space to write in, and include them in your successes so they can be a part of the action! Create boundaries with yourself by understanding the difference between when to hold yourself accountable and when to be flexible with yourself.

2: Be accountable. Accountability can come from many places. You can find it on social media by agreeing to post your progress every week, for example. You can also join something fantastic like The Fiction Fellowship, a writing group run by Isobelle and me of @inspiredcreativeco_! Or, you can hire a writing coach for personal 1:1 time with a trained professional.

3: Take clear daily steps. While it’s fantastic to set ‘write a novel’ as a goal for the year, looking at that goal day-to-day won’t help you get there. You need to break it down and determine what you will do to reach that point. Ready to jump in? Grab your copy of The Ultimate Writer’s Planning Workbook. It will help you reverse-engineer your entire writing year and beyond!

4: Invest in your progress. Investing in your writing life could be anything from buying a workbook to hiring someone to help you go from A to B. I promise you; it’s a game-changer. It’s a signal to yourself that you take this seriously, and it can help you move forward much quicker.

5: Set achievable goals. Want to write an epic fantasy this year? You can do it – but check out point 3 again. You need to break down the task first so that you can write without feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and intimidated by the task ahead.

What would you add to the above?

If you want to talk about your writing goals and how to achieve them in 2024, my Discovery Calls will open up again next week! I can help you smash through your 2024 writing dreams so that this time next year, you’ll be well on your way to holding your book in your hands.

Want to read something similar?

Check out this post here: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine

Categories
Coaching Craft Productivity

My Top Five Tips for New Writers

Hey writer, I see you. You have a dream, and it’s to write a novel. Well, everyone has a story inside them, people tell you. That’s true, of course. What they don’t tell you, though, is that novels come from more than ideas. They come from effort. There are some scary statistics out there when it comes to writing, such as out of those who actually start writing, only 3% finish their manuscript. If you dream of having a book on your bookshelf with your name on it, read on. The idea is just the start, but I genuinely believe that with some help, you can be the writer you want to be.

1: Build a community.

This is number one because it’s the most encouraging. Peer review is one of the most powerful tools a writer can have, and nothing will drive you to sit in front of that empty page day after day like a community of writers supporting you. You can find them in all sorts of places, but if you want to join a great one today, consider Instagram or Twitter. There are ready-made writing communities sharing their processes, tips, and time. One of my favourite things to come from a writing community is writing sprints – the act of sitting together online and writing for a designated amount of time. Remember – you are not expected to do this alone, and writing a novel doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. There are people out there in the same stage of writing as you, just waiting to say hello and hear more about your work. Another great way to build your community is to take a creative writing class. There may be some in your area, so take a look!

If you haven’t found your community yet, check out The Fiction Fellowship. Run by myself and Isobelle (Inspired Creative Co.), we’re a friendly bunch of writers from across the globe who meet on Zoom to write, chat, and teach. We have pre-recorded classes, workbooks, and more.

2: Hire a writing coach.

As both a writing coach and someone who hires a writing coach, I know how incredible this step can be. A writing coach (also known as a book coach) is like a personal trainer for your writing life. They can be whatever you need them to be! I act as a chapter editor, accountability partner, teacher, mindset coach, and more. I have helped writers start their novels, finish them, push through the murky middle, and find agents. In turn, my writing coach has helped me with my mindset, plotting, and figuring out what kind of writer I want to be. There is something incredible about someone holding the space for you to talk about your craft – it’s life-changing.

If you want to know more about how I can help you in 2024, click here. Specialised support for your writing life will take you from idea to print.

3: Embrace your time.

Your time is precious, and you are busy, and sometimes, that means that writing a novel gets pushed to the bottom of your list of priorities. It’s easy to do, but it also means that days, weeks, and sometimes months can pass without writing or progressing on your dream. I’ve worked with many writers on finding the time to write and even created a workbook on exactly that, and here’s my main tip: look at your week. Break down where you spend your time. Find an hour throughout the week to write, whether in one go or several sessions. You would be amazed at what can happen when you set your timer for ten minutes and focus on just that. And remember, ten minutes a day is sixty hours a year. That’s a significant amount of time to dedicate to your dream, and those minutes make a real difference.

If this is what you need to work on, click here. My Ultimate Writer’s Planning Workbook will help you find a way forward.

4: Read.

There’s a saying that I subscribe to: You can’t be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. Reading doesn’t just teach you about grammar, it gives you an understanding of genre, tropes, what you like, and how you want to write. Reading is one of the most valuable things you can do in your spare time as a writer, so head to the library and invest some real time in it. Your writing will improve because of that effort.

Looking for books on writing? I’ve got you – click here.

5: Find your process.

Stephen King says that you should write every day, and some people follow this advice to the letter. However, just because it works for some writers, it doesn’t mean it will and should work for you. Your process is allowed to be different from every writer you know, and you do not have to subscribe to something you have seen from another author. Discover your own process by writing at various points in the day, and paying attention to when you are at your most productive. Focus on what drives you to write, and what your motivators are. For example, rewards really work for me, so I’ll set myself a task of writing for ten minutes, with a cup of tea and a chapter of my favourite book at the end. Rewards don’t have to be fancy or expensive, they can be as simple as quiet time. Set boundaries with your family, and tell them how important your craft is to you and when you are working on it. Celebrate with them too, so they see what you’re doing and how they can be involved. If you care about writing, give it the time it deserves. You can absolutely become one of that 3% who finish their manuscripts.

Read about my personal process here, in this article I wrote for www.booksbywomen.org. 

Remember, writer; you’ve got this. Your story deserves to be told, and your readers are waiting.

Categories
Craft

Which Is the Best Plotting Method for You?

Are you taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, now is the time to think about your story outline.

Whether you are a plotter, a pantser or a plantser, it can be confusing knowing which story outline might work best for you. After all, there seem to be plenty of books out there suggesting different ways of plotting your novel. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the options so that you can make a creative decision! I’m going to outline five methods because there are a lot, but these are the ones that I believe are most common (based on empirical observation).

Your Story Outline Options:

The Save the Cat Method (click here for a link)

Now then, this is a detailed plan and method, and if the following resonates with you and you feel excited about it, I would strongly recommend borrowing / buying the book, which will help you through the process.

Jessica Brody breaks this method into fifteen ‘beats’ or plot points, as follows:

1: Opening Image. (0-1)%

Who your character is, and what their life is currently like.

2: Theme Stated (5%)

A suggestion of what the main character’s journey will be.

3: Setup (1% – 10%)

Exploring the main character’s current life and issues.

4 – Catalyst (10%)

A life-changing event.

5: Debate (10% to 20%)

Reaction to the life-changing event.

6: Break Into 2 (20%)

A change, perhaps leaving for a journey, a decision to try something new, etc.

7: B Story (22%)

Intro to a secondary character.

8: Fun and Games (20% to 50%)

Seeing the hero in the new world – succeeding or failing.

9: Midpoint (50%)

A false victory and a plot twist.

10: Bad Guys Close In (50% to 75%)

Things look like they’re getting better for the main character, but the baddies are still coming.

11: All Is Lost (75%)

The lowest point of the novel, something terrible happens.

12: Dark Night of the Soul (75% to 80%)

The darkest hour for the main character.

13: The Break Into 3 (80%)

The character sees how they can move forward.

14: The Finale (80% to 99%)

The main character saves the world / comes out of the other side of their struggle.

15: Final Image (99% to 100%)

How the journey has changed the main character’s life.

As you can see, this is an in-depth plot outline that gives you the opportunity to create a novel with a tight narrative structure. 

The Three-Act Method

Oh, it’s a classic, and one that I enjoy. This story outline involves breaking your plot down into (you guessed it) three acts. Honestly, I like it for its joyful simplicity and flexibility. It’s also the method we are taught at a very young age – beginning, middle, and end. It is also sometimes called:

Set-Up:

Setting up the world of your characters, including exposition, world-building, and a problem for your main character.

Confrontation:

The rising action leads to the midpoint and ultimately something similar to ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’.

Resolution:

The climax and fallout of this, the resolution of the tale.

Within these confines, you will see that there is a similar language to the Save the Cat Method…and actually, that’s true of a lot of plotting and story outline methods. They do share a language and often similar methodology. However, the three-act structure can be more flexible than other structures because it can be as detailed as you like. So, if you’re not someone who loves to plot but you like a brief outline, you can break your story idea into Set-Up, Confrontation, and Resolution without going into specifics. 

The Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson created this method, and it is laid out as follows:

1: Write a one-sentence summary of your book.

2: Write a paragraph-long summary.

3: Write down each main character, including Name, storyline, goal, conflict and revelation.

4: Turn every sentence of your paragraph-long summary into its own paragraph.

5: Use your character information to create more detailed character sheets.

6: Expand each paragraph into an individual scene.

7: Write!

Randy does go into detail about a step that he no longer takes, and also recommends using an excel spreadsheet. You can find more information on this method here, so if this brief description has you shouting ‘Yes! That’s my method!’ Check it out

Freytag’s Pyramid 

Another classic and useful if you’re struggling to get a full picture of your storyline. In fact, I usually use this and the three-act method to create a plan that works for me. This one is one that you have probably seen before. It’s the shape of a pyramid, with the peak being the climax. This is broken down into the following steps:

Exposition

Rising Action

Climax

Falling Action

Resolution 

As far as outlining methods go, I find this useful as, similar to the three-act method, you can make it as detailed as you please. The flexibility in this works for me personally. 

The Synopsis Method 

For those who don’t enjoy plotting, this method is excellent. This is essentially writing down the story before you’ve written the story! Usually, we write the synopsis at the end of writing our novel, but this method turns that idea on its head and asks you to summarise the novel before writing it.

So there you have it, a brief dive into five story outlines. Which would work best for you? That’s for you to decide!

Was this post helpful? Share it with another writer!

Unsure which is best for you, but know you want to start plotting? That’s okay, get in touch today, and we can have a chat about it. Investigation into your writing process is always worthwhile. I also teach my favourite forms of plotting in my novel writing masterclass, and take you through the steps using a story you know well. So, if you’re looking for some extra plotting help, that’s a great place to start.

Are you looking for a similar read? 

Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel

5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft

 

Categories
Coaching Productivity

The Three Things I Focus on With All of my Coaching Clients

You’ve probably clicked on this post because you are curious to see what I’m working on with clients, and you may want to check if you struggle with the same thing. As an experienced writing coach, and author with a writing coach myself, these are the most common issues I see, have experienced, and continue to talk about. They require continuous work and effort, but they can all be improved hugely through coaching. Let’s dig in!

1) Imposter syndrome

The classic. The majority of creative people I have met, if not all, have suffered from imposter syndrome, myself included. Why? One big reason is that art is subjective. We aren’t mathematicians (you might be, but I’m not!), and the answer isn’t definite. Is my writing any good? Some people will love it, others will think it’s okay, and some will dislike it. Does that mean I’m a good writer or not? Hard to say, isn’t it? Especially when we constantly compare ourselves with the positive echo chamber of social media. Here’s the thing – there’s a book for everyone. I love The Lord of the Rings like I love my family (well, marginally less), but if you don’t read fantasy, I won’t expect you to enjoy it. It doesn’t mean I’m wrong in loving it or that you’re wrong in not liking it. It’s just subjective.

Here’s what we know for certain about your writing:

  • It is valid.
  • If you love it, there will be a reader who loves it too.
  • It is worth investing your time in.
  • You are the expert in your story.

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, here are some things that can help:

  • Hire a writing coach. Find someone to discuss your thoughts and feelings with. Remember, feelings are not facts.
  • Write down five things you are proud of achieving in your writing life. Keep that list in your writing space to review when you feel wobbly.
  • Create a ‘Positivity Folder’. When you get good feedback on your creative work, put it in your folder. Then, the next time you feel unsure or like imposter syndrome is ready to strike, you can remind yourself of the reality with actual evidence.
  • Dig deep into education and focus on the craft of writing. Whatever stage of your writing career you are in, there is always more to learn, and dedicated time and effort to this can help imposter syndrome. Still trying to figure out where to start? Check out my novel writing masterclass. 

2) What they should be writing.

Should you be writing literary fiction or fantasy? Should you be jumping into crime thrillers or romance? How are you supposed to know?

I understand this dilemma well. I’ve been through it too! It’s so hard to know what’s expected of us, and sometimes, the weight of imagined expectations can hinder our creativity.

Here’s the secret: you should write whatever you are passionate about. Love vampire stories? Go for it. Ignore the marketing when you are writing, ignore the idea that something is ‘trending’ right now (by the time you get your book out there, that thing won’t be trending any more), and write something you want to write. Here’s another secret: if you write something you are delighted to be writing, it comes across in your work. It creates a joyful read. So, let yourself indulge in your hobbies. Trust me, there will be someone who wants to read about a mermaid who escapes jail to work at a zoo.

3) Finding the time.

Finding the time to write is such a common problem. Fret not; I have the perfect solution: The Ultimate Writer’s Planning Workbook. This 60+ page PDF fillable workbook will take you through the stages of planning YOUR writing year, focusing on:

  • Reflection on the previous year.
  • Building and understanding your writing vision.
  • Working out what your targets are and setting them.
  • Engineering your actions toward your goal.
  • Finding the time to write.
  • Taking action and setting yourself up to achieve your goals!

Sound good? Grab your copy today!

Categories
Publishing

Should a Writer Read Reviews of Their Novel?

Well, the debut is now out! The Finery is on shelves in Waterstones, in the hands of readers, and sitting on bedside tables waiting to be read. It’s been an emotional journey as the author, because, obviously, I want people to love this book. It’s a story I wrote and cared for, and it took years. But, now the book is out in the world, I have decided not to read reviews (apart from those meaning to promote the book – for example, I was featured in The Guardian!). I would also recommend to other authors to try and steer clear of the desire to keep checking Goodreads and Amazon. Here’s why:

  1. Emotional Impact: Reviews, both positive and negative, can have a strong emotional impact on authors. Negative reviews can be particularly discouraging and can affect an author’s self-esteem and confidence in their work.
  2. Subjectivity: Reviews are inherently subjective and reflect the personal opinions of readers. What one person loves about a book, another person might dislike. And this is key when you consider the next point…
  3. Loss of Control: Once a book is published, it’s out for readers to interpret and analyse. Authors have no control over how readers perceive their work or what aspects they focus on.
  4. Creativity and Self-Expression: Reading reviews can sometimes lead authors to second-guess their creative choices. This can hinder their ability to express themselves freely in future writing projects.
  5. Time and Focus: Engaging with reviews can take up valuable time and mental energy that could be better spent writing new material or working on other projects. Constantly checking reviews can be distracting and counterproductive.
  6. Confirmation Bias: If authors start seeking out only positive reviews or avoid negative ones, they might fall into a confirmation bias loop, seeking validation rather than honest feedback.
  7. Influence on Future Work: Authors may inadvertently start tailoring their writing to appease reviewers or replicate what they believe garnered positive feedback in the past. This can stifle creativity and authenticity.
  8. Variability in Reader Reactions: Just as different people have different tastes, readers react differently to different aspects of a book. Some might focus on character development, while others might critique the pacing. Authors can’t address every reader’s feedback without compromising the integrity of their work.
  9. Art vs. Product: For many authors, writing is a form of artistic expression rather than a product meant solely for commercial success. Reading reviews might shift the focus from the intrinsic value of the work to its marketability.

Of course, not all authors avoid reviews. Some find constructive feedback helpful for personal growth and improving their writing. It’s ultimately a personal decision that depends on an author’s mental resilience, goals, and the effect reviews have on their creative process. If an author can handle reviews in a healthy and balanced way, they might find valuable insights and encouragement from their readers’ perspectives. For myself, I have decided that reviews are for readers, not the author of the work. Therefore, I’ll be steering clear, and continuing to write my new works.

Categories
Publishing

Embrace the Magic of Literary Events: Supporting Authors with Heart

Hello, fellow book lovers and literary enthusiasts! As I have some events coming up to prepare for my launch of The Finery (out 25/08/23 with Fly on the Wall Press), I’ve been thinking about what it means to me to have the support of my fellow writers and readers. So, what better way to put those thoughts into a blog post? This post might help you realise what you’re looking for from a writing event, inspire you to attend one, or convince you to launch your novel with your own.

There’s something genuinely magical about gathering together to celebrate the written word. Whether it’s a book signing, a reading, or a panel discussion, these events offer an opportunity to connect with authors and readers. So, let’s dive in and explore the myriad ways we can support and uplift our favourite writers during these special occasions!

  1. Attend Events with Enthusiasm: First and foremost, attending author events with genuine excitement is key! Your presence can make all the difference to an author. Being there, listening to their thoughts and insights, and engaging with them shows that their work matters and is appreciated.
  2. Share the Love on Social Media: During and after the event, share your experience, favourite quotes, and thoughts on the author’s work on your social platforms. Tag the author and event organisers, use event-specific hashtags, and encourage others to attend future gatherings.
  3. Purchase and Gift Books: What better way to support an author than by buying their book? If you haven’t already, purchase a copy during the event. Buying a book not only supports a writer’s craft but also enables them to continue writing their stories. Plus, they will be touched if you ask them to sign it for you! Consider gifting books to friends and family, introducing them to the wonders of the author’s storytelling prowess.
  4. Engage Thoughtfully during Q&A Sessions: Author events often include question and answer sessions, where attendees can interact with the writer directly. Participate actively in these sessions and consider what you might ask ahead of time. Your engagement adds depth to the event and shows the author that their story has touched you.
  5. Leave Reviews: Reviews are an author’s lifeblood. After attending an event and reading the book, leave a genuine review on platforms like Goodreads, Amazon, or book blogs. Reviews help potential readers discover new works and encourage authors to continue honing their craft.
  6. Join and Support Literary Organizations: Local literary organizations and book clubs are excellent places to connect with like-minded individuals and collectively show your support for authors. These groups often organize events and discussions centred around books and authors, providing an ideal platform to nurture the literary community.
  7. Be Respectful and Considerate: Lastly, but equally important, remember that authors are human beings with feelings and vulnerabilities. Treat them with kindness and respect. Even if you disagree with certain aspects of their work, critique constructively and celebrate their dedication to the art of storytelling.

In conclusion, supporting authors at events is not just about buying books; it’s about celebrating creativity, fostering a love for literature, and connecting with fellow bookworms.

Happy reading and supporting!

Categories
Coaching

6 Reasons to Hire a Writing Coach

Why would you hire a writing coach? A writing coach can be a valuable resource for authors, providing guidance, support, and expertise throughout the writing and publishing process. Here are six reasons why a writing coach may be right for you:

  1. Guidance and Expertise: A writing coach brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. As a writing coach myself, I have studied to understand the intricacies of storytelling, character development, plot structure, and other essential elements of writing a book. If you need help or guidance through the writing process, a writing coach can help you navigate challenges and provide insights to improve your creative writing skills.
  2. Accountability and Motivation: Writing a book can be a long and solitary journey, and it’s easy to get discouraged or lose motivation along the way. One of the things a writing coach is wonderful for is providing you with accountability and keeping you on track with your goals. They can help you set deadlines that are realistic, provide feedback on your progress, and help keep you motivated.
  3. Objective Feedback and Critique: One of the most valuable aspects of working with a writing coach is receiving objective feedback on your writing. From providing constructive criticism to pointing out areas for improvement, writing coaches can identify strengths and weaknesses in your manuscript and offer suggestions on how to improve it.
  4. Tailored Guidance and Support: A writing coach can provide personalized guidance that suits your specific needs and goals. They can help you develop your unique writing voice, provide strategies for plot development or character arcs, and assist with overcoming writer’s block or other challenges you may encounter. Working with a writing coach ensures that you receive individualized support tailored to your writing journey.
  5. Industry Knowledge: Writing coaches often have insights into the publishing industry and can offer guidance on the next steps once your manuscript is complete. They can advise you on query letters, finding literary agents or publishers, self-publishing options, or marketing your book. Why does this matter? This can save you a huge amount of time and help you make informed decisions about your writing and the future of your creative career.
  6. Confidence and Emotional Support: Writing a book can be an emotional process, and it takes grit and determination. A writing coach can provide the encouragement you need to stay motivated and, most importantly, believe in your work. They can help you build confidence in your writing abilities and overcome mindset blocks that might be holding you back.


Ultimately, a writing coach is like a personal trainer for your creative life. If you’re seeking guidance, accountability, and expert support, working with a writing coach may be the right choice for you.

As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

What is a Writing Coach?
4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing

Categories
Craft

Eight Things to Look Out for When Editing Your Writing

Editing is an essential part of the creative writing process that allows you to refine and polish your work. While writing is the act of putting your ideas onto paper, editing is the art of shaping those ideas into a coherent and engaging piece of literature. It involves revising, proofreading, and fine-tuning your writing to improve clarity, flow, and effectiveness. Unsure what to look out for when editing? Read on.

The primary goal of editing creative writing is to enhance the reader’s experience. It’s about creating a seamless and immersive journey through your words, where readers can fully connect with your story, characters, and ideas. Whether you’re writing a short story, novel, or poem, the editing process plays a crucial role in transforming your initial draft into a polished and impactful piece of writing.

Ready to get started? Here are eight things to look out for when editing:

  1. Eliminating Repetition: Read through your piece and identify any repeated words, phrases, or ideas. Replace them with synonyms or rephrase the sentences to make them more engaging and varied.
  2. Strengthening Verbs: Look for weak or generic verbs in your writing and replace them with stronger, more specific verbs. This will make your sentences more vibrant and impactful.
  3. Removing Unnecessary Adjectives and Adverbs: Scan your writing for excessive use of adjectives and adverbs. Consider whether each one is essential and contributes to the overall meaning. Remove any that are redundant or don’t add value.
  4. Enhancing Sentence Structure: Vary the length and structure of your sentences to create a more dynamic and engaging flow. Mix shorter, punchy sentences with longer, more descriptive ones to add rhythm and keep the reader interested.
  5. Consistency in Point of View: Check that you maintain a consistent point of view throughout your piece. If you’re writing from a specific character’s perspective, ensure the narrative stays true to their voice and experiences.
  6. Tightening Dialogue: Review your dialogue and remove unnecessary tags or speech attributions. Make sure each line of dialogue serves a purpose, reveals something about the characters, or advances the plot.
  7. Show, Don’t Tell: Identify passages where you tell the reader something dramatic instead of showing it through action, dialogue, or sensory details. Reword these sections to bring the story to life and engage the reader’s imagination. Remember – there is a place for telling in your story. Click here   to find out how to differentiate between show and tell, and when to do either.
  8. Proofreading for Grammar and Punctuation: Finally, carefully proofread your piece for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Pay attention to commonly misused words, subject-verb agreement, and sentence structure.

Remember, editing is an iterative process, so don’t be afraid to revise your work multiple times. Each round of editing will help you refine your writing and make it more polished and impactful.

Want to read something similar?

5 Things to Consider When Hiring an Editor
How to Edit Creative Writing for Clarity, Style and Substance
How to Find and Fix Plot Holes

If you have any questions about editing, feel free to get in touch and ask me. To learn more about the editing packages I offer, click on the editing page on my website! As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing and a previous CW lecturer, I’ve done my fair share of high-level fiction editing, and have very happy testimonials. Get in touch today for dates, questions, and information. I’m always happy to chat! 

Categories
Productivity

How I Wrote 12,000 Words in Six Days

I have just finished running the Writing Week Retreat with my fellow writer, editor and coach, Isobelle (of Inspired Creative Co.), and it was wonderful. We had some fantastic writers join us from around the world, and overall, the final word count for the week was over 50,000 words between us. That’s an amazing achievement for six days! Let’s talk about how we did it.

1 – Community

For me, there is nothing as powerful as community support when it comes to writing. I thrive when surrounded by writers, whether in real life or virtually, and I have witnessed the impact on others, too. During the retreat, we had two hour-long writing sprints a day. Having that dedicated time meant we could focus on our words with others.

Your Task: Find your community. 

2 – Goals

My goal at the start of every hour-long writing sprint was to write as much as I knew I could – 1000 words in one hour. I know that I can write this because this is my creative data (if you’re not sure what I mean, check this blog post out!), and so I pushed myself to achieve this goal. This meant that my 12000 word achievement was my goal all along, and I am delighted to have made it!

Your task: Discover your creative data and set realistic goals. 

3 – Plans

I’m a dedicated plotter, but during the retreat, I tried something completely different. I had an idea of where I wanted my story to go, and I discussed it with others, but overall I allowed myself to be a discovery writer. This means that the characters took me where they wanted to go, and out of that came a story I absolutely love. While it does differ from my original idea, I am loving the new tale, and the process is exciting and really fun.

Your task: Don’t be too rigid in terms of plans, allow yourself to discover too!

4 – Vision

To help visualise my finished book, I played with title ideas and covers on Canva. The mocked-up image is below! This sort of thing really helps when it comes to picturing the finished novel, which helps motivate me to create and write more.

Your task: Give your work in progress a title and a cover. It doesn’t have to be final.

5 – Craft 

Despite having spent eight years in higher education learning the craft of Creative Writing, there is always more to learn. That’s why one of my values is education! During the retreat, Isobelle and I ran classes on everything from character arcs to raising the stakes, and our focus on that craft element helped tighten up my prose.

Your task: Don’t be afraid to improve your craft and take a class. 

Are you looking for community, creativity, and craft advice? Well, stay tuned. We have more planned and can’t wait to share it with you.

If you still need to grab your copy of the Story Development Workbook (unfortunately, we have had issues with Etsy on their end!), it is now available. Click here to learn more because this workbook is jam-packed with help, and you don’t want to miss it!