Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xii

1 Getting started 1

Making time to write 1

Where do you get your ideas? 3

Writing aurally and visually 5

Drawing on your own experiences 6

Looking back into your past 7

Read, read, read 9

Checklist 11

Assignment 11

2 Writing non-fiction 12

Writing about what you know 12

Case study 12

Letting off steam 12

Changing work into leisure 14

Relating your life-story 18

Telling travellers' tales 23

Case study 27

Finding funny moments 28

Following where your ideas lead you 29

Checklist 29

Assignment 30

3 Creating fictional characters 31

Basing characters on real people 31

Case study 35

Visualising backgrounds 36

Involving yourself in your characters' lives 38

Changing the character 41

Relating to your character 44

Case study 45

How would you react if they approached you? 46

Creating conflict 48

Checklist 50

Assignment 50

4 Setting and atmosphere 52

Getting a feel of place and time 52

Visiting locations 55

Case study 57

Case study 61

Imagining what it would be like to be there 62

Wearing different clothes and costumes 63

Checklist 66

Assignment 66

5 Showing not telling 68

Reacting and interacting with people and surroundings 68

Feeling the heat 70

Shivering against the cold 72

Case study 73

Revealing emotions 74

Expressing feelings 75

Case study 77

Moving your characters around the room 78

Speeding and slowing the pace with vocabulary 78

Flashing back and forth in time 80

Checklist 83

Assignment 84

6 Writing realistic dialogue 85

Developing a good ear 85

Acting out a situation 87

Losing your temper 92

Falling in love 93

Creating realistic accents and dialects 94

Case study 94

Swearing and slang 96

Case study 97

Checklist 98

Assignment 98

7 Finding true love 100

Writing a romance 100

Finding flaws attractive 101

Overcoming insurmountable obstacles 102

Driving fast cars and wearing fancy clothes 105

Enjoying sex and food 106

Heightening all the senses 107

Bringing the hero and heroine together 108

Historical settings 108

Checklist 110

Assignment 110

8 Haunting, thrilling and killing 111

Introducing a note of suspense 111

Confronting the fears within 112

Case study 113

Contrasting normality with terror 115

Writing a murder mystery 116

Case study 118

Choosing a murder weapon 118

Plotting and planning 120

Twisting the tale 123

Looking to the future 125

Checklist 128

Assignment 128

9 Writing for children 129

Thinking back to your childhood 129

Looking at life through a child's eyes 130

Case study 132

Playing around with ideas 134

Writing for educational markets 135

Case study 138

Anthropomorphising animals 139

Writing about children 141

Writing picture books 142

Checklist 144

Assignment 145

10 Sending your work to a publisher 146

Seeing your work in print 146

Playwriting for your local drama group 147

Writing for established TV characters 148

Entering competitions 149

Vanity publishing 150

Self-publishing 151

Writing a synopsis 156

Presenting your manuscript 157

Approaching an editor 161

Copyrighting and syndication 162

Keeping records 164

Finding support from other writers 165

Glossary 169

Answers to assignments 172

Useful addresses 173

Useful websites 175

Online dictionaries 175

Further reading 176

Index

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