L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

The entire course of a story or novel, like an avalanche, is largely defined within its first seconds. Jacob Appel offers 10 ways to launch yours in the right direction. Jacob M. Appel The sentence you are currently reading has the potential to brand itself indelibly upon our cultural consciousness and to alter the course …

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Linda Newbery and Nicola Davies “Where do you get your ideas from?” Every author who gives talks to children or adults has been asked this question hundreds of times, and of course there’s no simple answer. Ideas are everywhere – the trick is to recognise a promising one when you get it, and not let …

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Via The Guardian Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy Elmore Leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin 1 Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a …

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One of the biggest bugaboos in manuscript submissions is when the author doesn’t properly introduce the protagonist within the first chapter. Here’s how to help readers meet your main character. Les Edgerton One of the biggest bugaboos in manuscript submissions is when the author doesn’t properly introduce the protagonist within the first chapter. Readers want …

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How do you recognize a good urban fantasy when you see one, and if you want to try your hand at writing one, what’s the basic recipe? Here are the ingredients you need. Mishell Baker Even if you don’t regularly haunt the science fiction and fantasy section of your local bookstore, chances are you’ve crossed …

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Written by MasterClass It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a new writer when you’re staring at the blank page wondering where to begin. The good news is there are many places you can find writing advice and tips that can help you strengthen your abilities and build confidence in yourself. Writing is a lifelong pursuit, …

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Death to clichés. Less is more. Writing is painful–here, the greats tell us how to do it better. By Belle Beth Cooper I’ve been reading some advice from successful writers lately and exploring what their routines are like to see what I can learn. Here are six of the most common pieces of advice I …

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By Andrew Solomon The following is adapted from a speech the author gave at the Whiting Writers’ Awards on March 5th. When I had just finished my schooling and was looking for a job, a friend put me in touch with an absurdly well-connected British biographer who, she assured me, would help me find the …

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Flawed characters and antiheroes make for fascinating protagonists—but their behavior can risk alienating readers. Follow this blueprint for flawed-yet-relatable heroes who can still provoke empathy. David Corbett ILLUSTRATION © GETTY IMAGES: LUCIANO LOZANO Not so long ago it seemed every writer agreed: Protagonists must be “likable.” Then something curious happened. Everyone began to realize that …

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by Chuck Sambuchino No one reads more novel beginnings than literary agents. They’re the ones on the front lines, sifting through inboxes and slush piles. And they can tell us which Chapter One approaches are overused and cliché, as well as which writing techniques just plain don’t work when you’re writing a book. Below, find …

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