Courses and Competitions – The Writers’ Academy

prandomCreative Writing for Beginners by The Writers’ Academy (Penguin Random House,) is being led by Selina Walker.

It’s a 10-week interactive online creative writing course which gives you the essential skills and techniques you need to get started writing fiction.

You will learn with experienced creative writing tutors, and interact with a highly experienced Editor at Penguin Random House as you are introduced to the key elements of writing a story: Character, Plot, Point of View, Description, Dialogue, Voice, Setting and Beginnings.

The course consists of a series of carefully planned weekly writing exercises, videos and podcasts from world-famous authors (including Audrey Niffenegger.)

The course will involve between five and ten hours of learning per week at whatever times suit you. You can contact the course enquires team on 0044 (0)203 026 0810 if you have any questions.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday – Undercover

Fiction Friday

Fiction Friday

Friday 25th July 2014 – Undercover.

Fiction Friday is our weekly prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt: You are a police officer. You’ve not been one for long and you’ve been partnered with someone new (who you don’t know well.) Your first assignment means that you both have to go undercover and be convincing in your role in order to catch a criminal. Where, why and you is up to you.

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Blog Tour: This Family Life by Jon Rance

Jon RanceWe are very excited to be welcoming Jon Rance and his blog tour for This Family Life today. Jon’s previous novels include Happy Endings and This Twentysomething Life. His new book, This Family Life, is the sequel to Jon’s novel, This Thirtysomething Life and was released recently by Amazon Media (the kindle version is currently only 99 pence.)

Jon joins us today to talk about his new book and he also gives us a sneak preview too. Hi Jon and welcome….


Hello and a HUGE thank you to Novel Kicks for hosting what is the fourteenth stop on my ‘This Family Life’ Blog Tour. If you missed the last blog you can see it here

So hello again and today I’m going to talk about my new novel ‘This Family Life’. The book is written as a diary from the point of view of thirtysomething husband and new father, Harry Spencer. The book is the sequel to ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ and Harry’s job as a secondary school teacher wasn’t really integral to the plot in that book, but in ‘This Family Life’ I wanted to explore his career a lot more.

In this book, new father Harry realises that now he’s a parent it’s time he started taking his job more seriously, and so when he’s offered a promotion to head of department, he sees this as the chance to prove to his wife Emily, and more importantly to himself that he can do it. I was lucky enough to have a very good friend who’s actually a teacher and is also head of his department, and so he gave me some great inside information on what it’s really like.

The school scenes in the book were some of my favourite to write and I hope I conveyed what it’s really like. Obviously I added a lot more comedy and took some literary freedom with it, but I tried to add it bits of reality in a hopefully a humorous way. There’s a bit when Harry takes the job as head of department and he gets his new schedule, full of meetings, pre-meetings, training, and other tasks and he innocently asks, ‘And when am I going to find time to actually teach?’ and he’s laughed at, but he wasn’t joking. This is one of those moments that I know a lot of teachers have, and I hope that although in the book it’s sort of a joke, it’s something that teachers can relate to.

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Bella’s Scribblings – Why is a One Liner so Hard?

Bella Osborne

Bella Osborne

I can write a novel, I have proved it by doing it twice. Neither are published yet but that’s not the point. The point is I can write circa 100,000 words relatively easily but when I have to write something in a card my mind goes blank. The worst scenario is when you are under pressure. When someone sidles up to your desk, plonks a card down and says ‘Freda is leaving, write something funny’. I actually think one of my brain cells dies and it is most definitely one devoted to writing funny things.

I generally manage the situation by panicking and asking for more time, which results in lots of huffing and eye rolling until they eventually slope off, leaving me to sweat over the card. So then I start to read what everyone else has put – this does not help. All this does is waste more time, highlight that most of the office are just like you and have nothing funny to say, not that this has stopped them penning it in the card.

However, there is even more pressure if you have to go first, always try to avoid this scenario. There will be the odd one or two who have put in something slightly humorous and right there is the spark that I needed. I now have a challenge and I have a target to beat (not that I am in anyway competitive, you understand). At this point I find it works well to pretend you have a meeting and head off carrying papers or laptop, supporting a purposeful stride. Find an empty meeting room and get to work.

I will start by having a one woman brainstorm – What is Freda known for? Are there any funny stories already that I just need to recall? Is there an opportunity to play on words here? What did she get up to at the last office party? After much head scratching an idea will alight. I write it out in draft and see if it needs editing to make it punchy. Once I am happy with it I need to find a space in the card. (Why do the people who say the dullest things have the biggest writing?) Eventually I reach the point where my mission is accomplished and I return the card with a smug look to the card co-ordinator.

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Book News – Liane Moriarty

little liesLiane’s new book is due for release this month. 

We LOVED The Husband’s Secret (if you haven’t read it yet, we can’t recommend it enough. Read our review here.) We are very excited about Liane’s new book which is due to be available from 31st July. It’s being released by Penguin and it’s called Little Lies. 

We are also liking this cover. Very pretty. 

It’s now available to pre-order from Amazon. 

About Little Lies: 

Jane hasn’t lived anywhere longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic seaside town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane finally feels like she belongs. She has friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste – two women with seemingly perfect lives . . . and their own secrets behind closed doors.

But then a small incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground causing a rift between them and the other parents of the school. Minor at first but escalating fast, until whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful. It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .


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Competition Winners – Liberty Silk by Kate Beaufoy

newcover_small1Thanks to Kate and Transworld, we had three copies of Liberty Silk to give away to celebrate it’s release in the UK.

Well done to Rebecca Carden from Cambridgeshire, Charlotte Ingham from the UK and Tammy Tudor from Greater Manchester. You’ve all won a copy of the book. 

About Liberty Silk: 

One beautiful dress is the key to three brave women’s destinies.

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

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Fiction Friday – 250 words

rp_friday-300x1641111.pngFriday 18th July 2014 – 250 words. 

Fiction Friday is our weekly prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt: 250 words. Using the prompt ‘They couldn’t figure out what to say to each other,’ write a story that is no more than 250 words. What are these two people going to do? What are they going to say to next? 

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More Books To Kick Start Your Writing

As a new writer, the first battle for me was knowing where to begin. With so many ‘how to’ books on the market, it’s hard to pick which one could be right for you.

We posted our ‘five books to kick start your writing,‘ last year. As there were so many I wanted to pick, here are a few more I think you may find helpful as you find your own path to writing your first book.




On Writing – Stephen King.

I have lost track of the amount of people who have recommended this book to me. Whenever I am talking about ‘how to write’ books with other writers, this book (along with Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott,) will always comes up accompanied by the sentence, “have you read it? You should, it’s fantastic.” Part memoir, it also offers invaluable advice and a tool kit for aspiring writers. Stephen is one of the most successful writers so I don’t think you can go far wrong with On Writing. (Hodder Paperbacks.)

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Courses and Competitions: New Children’s Author Prize 2015.

logoNational Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Children’s Books want to find talented new authors of children’s fiction.

They are inviting you to submit your stories for eight to twelve-year-olds.

The first prize will be a publishing contract with Bloomsbury (including advance payment of £5,000 for your work,) as well as the use of  “Winner of the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 from Bloomsbury and National Literacy Trust,” and a prize ceremony in your honour, with press, authors and publishers in attendance.

Shortlisted authors will get the use of “Runner up in the New Children’s Author Prize 2015 from Bloomsbury and National Literacy Trust,” as well as signed book bundles plus an invitation to attend the prize ceremony with the opportunity to meet agents, editors, press and others.

The competition will be closed for entries on 30 September 2014 at 5pm.

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Book Corner: July


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