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4 May 2020 - What's new

4 May 2020
  • ‘I think this period, if it's doing nothing else, is probably making reading a more central part of people's lives than before. Reading is always, in one sense, a form of escape. It's escaping into a life which is not the life that you're actually having to live. That's why we do it.' Penelope Lively, author of Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger, Family Album and more than 38 other books for adults and children in the Observer. Escaping the Lockdown.
  • An Editor's advice on planning, part of our 7-part series, 'Some people like to know exactly what they're doing before they start writing. They make very elaborate diagrams of the plot, note what each character is doing and when - this is particularly useful if you're writing a story which depends very heavily on a complex series of events coming together at just the right moment. Some writers focus on building detailed descriptions of their characters, so they know how they will react in any given situation, and then put them into the action. Once they've made a plan, they stick to it, but they then make a note of the ideas they have as they work, and then go back later and see if they can be incorporated into the story. If not, they might be worth using elsewhere...'
  • The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2020 is open to all. The entry fee for Poetry entries is £12, with £18 for Short Fiction entries, but hurry because there's an offer if you enter by 10 May. £1,000 is awarded to both the Poetry and Short Fiction winners, plus publication the Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, which is awarded to 60 writers shortlisted by the judging panel. Closing 31 August.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our new top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • Our links: A Portable Paradise, which has already won the T S Eliot prize, moves from the Grenfell Tower fire to the Windrush generation and the legacy of slavery, Roger Robinson's poems of Trinidad and London win Ondaatje prize | Books | The Guardian; ever since early March independent booksellers have been tweaking their business models in an attempt to remain solvent, Virtual Author Events Are the Next Big Thing; a significant proportion of the UK and Ireland's smallest independent presses say their businesses are at risk as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, Small presses fear being 'wiped out' by autumn | The Bookseller; if you're in any way a member of the independent publishing community, welcome, What Can Independent Presses Do to Survive These Uncertain Times? and another really thorough article, How to Write a Novel Synopsis | Jane Friedman.
  • If, in spite of Jane Friedman's help, you find it difficult to write your own synopsis for submission to agents and publishers, our Synopsis-writing service can help. If you're preparing to self-publish and having difficulty with your blurb, our Blurb-writing service from a professional copy-writer will make your book stand out.
  • More links: 'I miss writing stories in which a life lived online does not figure, On the Relief of Ignoring the Internet in Fiction | Literary Hub; on publishing when bookshops are closed, being an ‘exercise nut' and the dangers posed to writers by mob rule, Lionel Shriver: 'Some people think I'm evil incarnate' | Books | The Guardian; the Queens of Crime who dominated the Golden Age of British detective writing, Christie & Sayers & Allingham & Tey | CrimeReads; and, from a fan of the great poet who left it too late, Dear Eavan Boland, I Wanted to Send You a Letter | Literary Hub.
  • How to get your book translated into English (without it costing the earth) - for non-native English speakers wanting to reach the international English language market. If your English is good enough, what about writing your book in English or translating it into English yourself, and then getting your translation polished and copy edited by a professional editor who is a native English speaker? The result should be a publishable manuscript at a relatively low cost, ready for you to publish or submit to publishers.
  • From our Writers' Quotes, Stephen King on audiobooks: ‘I listen to my own books. The reason why is because you can hear everything you did right and everything you did wrong. This is the most honourable form of storytelling there is.'